When it comes to software developers or engineers, being good at their job is very important. The code either works or fails to execute with a fatal error, or it’s buggy and takes extra time to fix.
The speed of execution is also important too. If it takes a developer too long to create a solution, a client could go elsewhere, or a boss may be unhappy. Therefore, it’s useful to develop healthy habits and take on any knowledge or training that helps to get up to speed quickly with new languages, platforms and technologies.
Here are 7 habits of successful software developers.
- Become a Bookworm
While it’s possible to learn bits and pieces of code from blog posts and technical forums, the truth is that it’s very difficult to get a proper overview of a new language and then build on that foundation without learning it from the ground up.
- Have a Plan of Action
Failing to plan is not a solution. Look at the career options and decide what is needed to make progress in the right direction. Alternatively, when you are not at the level that’s desirable, what’s the plan to get there?
When the target is working for a specific development company or web studio, how is this going to be achieved and in the shortest amount of time?
Break down the steps necessary to get from here to there, then set about climbing them, one step at a time.
- Code More Clearly
As a web developer, more than one person will eventually touch the code. It’ll be written and then updated or reused elsewhere in this or another project.
When the code is not documented and uses poor constructs, it will confuse future programmers. This counts even down to what variable names are used to make its purpose clearer to future coders. Functions, for instance, should serve a single purpose, not try to do three different things in one.
Clean design is important because it takes twice as long to fix a bug or add an upgrade later when the original code is like a spaghetti junction. One idea is to look at Gitflow Workflow which is a way to work that is practical for many engineers due to the way it’s logically laid out.
- Make the Connection Between the Code and the Business Behind It
Many developers live in an abstract world where their code has become its own thing with a total disconnect to the real world. Ultimately, that’s unhelpful to their employer. It’s always challenging for developers to make this connection, but they must do.
While a feature they’ve dreamed up may sound great on paper and they could be in love with executing the result, if it’s not something that end-users want, understand, and will use, then it’s just wasting development resources. Solutions must:
- Be what customers need
- Be presented in a user-friendly manner
- Be made without overdeveloping the solution by adding complications and extra development time
- See the bigger picture connection between the project and the business
- Finding a Good Balance
The right balance must be found to allow a developer to reach their fullest potential.
Speed, But Not at the Expense of Quality
When it comes to speed, it’s no good if code is produced faster but it’s sloppy or buggy. A developer must be capable of producing quality lines of code at a reasonable pace.
Production Time Management
Being a top producer doesn’t just mean the best, more intricately coded solution. Every project has feature and release milestones to reach. When failing to hit these targets, it makes the entire team fall behind. Developers must be team players in this respect.
Following the processes used and interacting in meetings to discuss projects is necessary to fully participate. Being non-communicative isn’t helpful to the overall result. Processes must be followed for everyone to succeed.
- Avoid Rabbit Holes That Get You Nowhere Fast
Many developers are in love with the idea of creating solutions. They also suffer from shiny object syndrome where they easily get lost in the minutia of a problem. This tendency can lead them down numerous rabbit holes to nowhere, which eats time and doesn’t serve the project or milestones that have been previously set.
It’s necessary to be disciplined about where focus goes and their energy flows. Achieving what’s been agreed to and set in meetings is an important part of being a great software developer. After all, it’s not a personal project that’s being programmed on the weekend, and it’s important to remember that.
- Ask or Seek Help When Needed
Smart developers know when they’re struggling to find a solution and should reach out for help.
The help may come from different places:
- In-house developers
- Programming forums by opening a new thread
- Searching previously posted solutions to see how they might fit or be amended to do so
- Hit the books to read up about the sticking point
By failing to reach out or look for solutions, it’s possible to get into a virtuous circle going around, and around and not finding a solution. Yet, by being humble enough to realise when they’re stumped, it saves time and avoids getting stuck on a problem for too long. While this may seem like a minor thing, getting stuck can cause milestones to get repeatedly missed through not wanting to admit when hitting a stumbling block.
Developers typically get better with more experience. Each new language, framework or other bits of knowledge that’s acquired expands their thinking and the solutions they can implement. The process of continual learning is necessary to not fall behind. But more than that, it ensures that a developer acquires new knowledge and applies the right tool(s) to the project to achieve the best outcome.