It is widely perceived that an exceptional software engineer is one who has accumulated a wealth of experience, and who has the ability to utilise a broad range of tools, languages and technologies. However, this is not always the case. It is essential for software engineers to be able to think critically and to be able to handle any task that is set for them. It is the combination of the two that makes them truly stand out from the crowd.
Despite the fact that the solution to being a brilliant engineer may seem to be straightforward, it is not. This is evidenced by the fact that we are both here – you reading this article and us writing it. It is clear that there is more to it than simply having a long list of completed projects and knowledge. In fact, there are certain other factors which distinguish these engineers from the rest.
Software Engineers: Good vs. Great
When posed with the question of what attributes they look for in an ideal team member, most experienced software developers would likely list a number of common qualities. Technical proficiency, knowledge of best practices in programming and an aptitude for solving complex issues are typically seen as the most important. In addition, employers have indicated that they are in search of engineers that demonstrate a high level of commitment to their work, as well as a desire to collaborate with others.
It is undeniable that the qualities mentioned are invaluable assets for any software engineer; however, what truly sets outstanding engineers apart from the rest is the fact that they go beyond the basics and into the realm of the extraordinary. It is this rare quality that makes them so sought after and sets them apart from merely good programmers. Furthermore, they are even more productive than other highly skilled developers due to their relentless commitment to continuously improve their abilities.
It may seem like the most talented software engineers are those who have an intrinsic skill set, making coding and maintaining clean code relatively easy for them. However, this should not discourage other engineers from striving for greatness. With the right focus and commitment, any software engineer can reach the same level of excellence as their more naturally talented peers. To assist with this endeavour, some advice is provided below.
Achieving Success and Successful Living
The road to success in any field of endeavour is invariably lined with hard work and dedication. Without these two key elements, even the most talented individuals will struggle to reach their objectives. This also holds true for software engineering, where those who wish to achieve excellence must make an effort greater than that of their counterparts. Aside from the more obvious aspects, such as technical expertise, there are other characteristics that all top-notch developers share.
An Insatiable Hungry for Learning
The public generally sees the most reliable expert as someone who has an encyclopedic knowledge. It seems that many individuals aspire to emulate the iconic figure of Sherlock Holmes, whose combination of extensive knowledge, sharp observation and logical deduction makes him a highly sought-after problem solver. Who wouldn’t want to possess the skills to look at a problem and be able to resolve it?
It is an undeniable fact that possessing an all-encompassing knowledge is an unrealistic goal. With the continuous emergence of new technologies, tools and techniques, the best professionals, including the most proficient coders, must have a mindset that encourages ongoing learning. This is essential as the information they have acquired may become obsolete or require updating in the future.
They are not so confident as to believe that they have all the answers or that what they do know is irrefutable. They are not shy to seek assistance from those around them, be it in the form of a video, a book, a conference, or even from those on a lower tier of their team.
Careful Focus on Interaction
Have you ever taken part in a game of Pictionary with your friends and been left wondering why they seem unable to decipher the picture you have drawn, even though it is so clear to you? If so, you can appreciate the challenge of conveying a message without leaving any room for misinterpretation. Even if you have never played Pictionary (are you serious?), you are likely to have experienced the frustration of trying to explain something to another person and not being able to make them understand.
It is evident that there are a number of elements to take into consideration when conveying an idea or concept; whether it be verbally or through the visual medium of Pictionary. We often interpret things from our own individual perspective, taking into account the historical context, making it difficult to assume that the person we are communicating with will interpret it in the same way. This illustrates the complexity of communication and emphasises the need to not take it for granted.
It is essential to bear in mind the implications of effective communication during all stages of software development. Not only should we consider the input from psychologists, designers and business professionals, but also the complex nature of the languages and processes used. It is a challenging task to make sense of this and provide a functioning solution, however, highly experienced developers are perfectly placed to meet these demands.
Communication is an essential part of successful project management. Good project managers are able to effectively communicate with all stakeholders, presenting ideas, objectives and a proposed path forward. They are adept at understanding the customer’s needs, and conveying these to the rest of the team in a way that is easily understood. Complex technical topics can also be explained in language that the customer can comprehend, thus making it easier for all involved to work together and achieve the best results.
A Well-Rounded View of the Product
There are two distinct types of software developers. The first are those who are relentless in their pursuit of ensuring that their programmes are fully functional. These developers are not deterred by the need to repeatedly fix any bugs, recycle code, or find alternative solutions. The primary goal for them is that the end result is fully functional, and they have a realistic approach to achieving this.
The second category of programmers are those who are motivated to create innovative technology. They are meticulous in their approach, paying close attention to even the smallest details, and are committed to making their product look flawless. These individuals strive for excellence in their work.
It is important to take both a pragmatic and perfectionist approach when creating a product, as placing too much emphasis on one over the other can have detrimental effects on the final result. While a pragmatic approach may lead to the creation of products that are cumbersome and hard to maintain, a perfectionist attitude can cause delays as every detail is scrutinised and never quite feels satisfactory. Neither of these strategies is commercially viable in the long run, so it is important to find a balance between the two.
The most talented developers are able to find a balance between relying on their own knowledge and experience, as well as looking to external sources for guidance. They take an analytical approach to the problems they face and are able to separate useful criticism from that which is not constructive. As a result, they are able to use both internal and external resources to their advantage when developing software.
The experienced software developers have the skill to identify when to stop progressing. They take into account the needs of the customers, target audience, and the technical aspects when deciding if the program is prepared for release. In conclusion, they are experienced enough to be able to differentiate when a quick solution will be enough to bring the product to the market and when more complex steps are necessary.
Have You Made up Your Mind to Become a Top-Notch Programmer?
Developing the skills of a brilliant developer is essential in order to make a difference in the industry. In order to achieve this it is important to have a strong learning mindset. This means keeping up-to-date with the latest developments and being open to learning from any source. Additionally, it is beneficial to cultivate empathy by actively understanding the perspectives of others and trying to put yourself in their shoes.
Investing the time and energy into advancing your development capabilities will be rewarded through a more comprehensive professional journey. Keep in mind that achievement is achievable for those who demonstrate resilience and have the capacity to persevere. The path to success must be undertaken with focus and dedication; as you have now realised, greatness does not come without hard work.