When I first started out, this question never came up in my mind. Like most, we start asking ourselves this question when we are now preparing for a job or further along in your career.
So, what makes a you stand out developer? On a general note, be good at what you do. While this response is correct, it is vague as to what to focus on and is often interpreted as hard skills. In this article, I will share a little about what can stand out as a developer from when you starting out and throughout your career.
- Master your Path
- Become a problem solver
- Develop an analytical mind
- Be Innovative
- Learn how to Learn
- Know how to Communicate
- Be able to adapt
- Follow best practices
- Manage your time
- Have more you can bring to the table
- Be consistent
Master your Path
First things first, you need to choose a path. For some it can be Front End Web Development, others Android Development or Cloud Engineering. After you've chosen a path, master it. You don't have to be perfect in the path that you chose but you do need to be competent in it and you need to understand a majority of the features in the path.
Become a problem solver
To those who are just starting out and those who have been in the industry for a while now, I think we can all agree that there is a great amount of problems that we get in writing the code. While we have people and databases to turn to:
It amazing when you can solve your own problems. Being a problem solver also means you need to be able to come up with ways to implement a feature or fix a bug and if solution one is not working, be able to come up with solution two. Be able to work around obstacles.
Being innovative means being able to create a solution for a larger audience or to be deployed on a broader scale.
Our world is filled with challenges and struggles. Being a developer does not just mean you can write code for your organization or yourself but it also means you are in a place to design solutions, come up with ideas to a lot of problems being faced out there.
Transferable skills are soft skills. These can be carried across industries hence transferable. Soft skills are important because as a developer, you are designing and developing solutions for people and not just for yourself. These soft skills allow us to see beyond the screen and understand the world or live with it.
Learn to learn
Learning never really ends. There is always going to be something that you did not know, it can be a new technology or a more concise way to implement a feature. Be willing to learn yourself for growth and to improve the way you do things. Be willing to learn from others because everyone has something unique to share. Keep an open mind, never close your doors to growth because you never know what opportunity is around the corner. You can take a look at this article Your Learning Plan I wrote on setting up a learning plan.
Know how to communicate
Communication is extremely important. Most of your time as a developer is spent communicating, either with a team or with a client. Ask questions where you don't understand, it's better to be redundant but certain. Share ideas, raise concerns
Be able to adapt
Technology is constantly changing and evolving rapidly. New solutions are coming up into the market every single time. You need to be able to adapt and be flexible. Don't be hard bent onto one way of doing things, one language or one framework because you never know if there will be a new solution to eliminate the way the current solution is working. You need to be willing to learn new things and build on what you know.
Follow best practices
There is nothing that makes a Developer stand out more than the way they write their code. Your code needs to be clean and dry. It's okay when you write code that works and you can read it but it is even batter to write it in a format that others can be able to read. Keep it concise, use comments and refactor where you can and as you code.
Manage your time
Time management is crucial as a developer. If you have a problem, you will need to know how you will break it up and how much time you will spend on each module. Without good time management, you will find yourself missing deadlines, not having enough time to finish Task B, you will be overwhelmed, always stressed and under a lot of pressure. This is a quality that spans across multiple industries. Good time management instills order into one's life.
Have more you can bring to the table
It's important to know your path and mastering it. It's also exciting when you have more than your general skills to offer. For others it can be blogging, others podcasts and some, research. For many, these can be well recognise as hobbies.
Be consistent in all you do. Be able to show up and put in the work to the things that really matter to you: this might be at your work place or in your learning. Hard work will eventually get you somewhere. Build as many habits as you can, this will automate your problem solving skills for all the situations you encounter every single day.
Being a developer is a stepping stone to bringing the creative world hidden within you. Everyone has this element of creativity, most just need the right tools to make it happen.
All in all: to stand out, to be good, to be competent and to be a sort after developer you need to have both Core Skills and Transferable skills. Also, be willing at any point to go the extra mile for what you love and believe in.