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Patricio Ferraggi
Patricio Ferraggi

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4 things you need to know if you want to be a developer

If you are interested in reading this article in Spanish, check out my blog The Developer's Dungeon

Are you looking for a job? Did you notice that most of the time job postings miss the point on what you should need to be a good developer? I know I did.

Most of the time I find employers requiring a very specific amount of years of experience because having 6 years instead of 7 is a world of difference right? I also find postings that absolutely demand knowledge on one framework instead of the other.

Sometimes employers miss the fact that having a specific technical skill is not guarantee that you will be a good addition to the company or the team, I would argue that most of the time you can give away a few of those skills for some other type of abilities and will bring much more value over the long term.

So in this article, I am gonna mentioned a few things that employers miss and that could help you become a better developer.

Know how to investigate and learn new technologies

When reviewing potential candidates, and I have to say I have been guilty of this myself, we focus too much on what the person knows at this very moment. The problem with doing this is that in our industry there is an insane amount of things coming out every day so it is impossible to know everything, but although tech changes constantly, ideas not so much, ideas are reinvented, repackaged and resold with a new hat.

New hat

The reality is that if you have a certain experience with a number of techs you can adapt quickly to new tech, you know Angular? that is awesome but how hard could it be to start doing Vue? In a month of doing Vue every day for 8 hours straight, you probably would be feeling right at home.

It is key then to be familiar with the process of learning new tech, you don't have to know everything, but keep yourself up to date and keep your learning process fresh, in my case I work every day as a full-stack developer doing mainly ASP.NET Core and Angular so in my spare time I am learning Functional Programming and Haskell, this will help me improve my learning skills and my technical skills at the same time.

Don't be scared to fail

I often help beginner developers with career advice or technical questions and one thing that stands out very often is that they are afraid of failure, afraid of looking stupid before the dreadful Senior Developers.

They are so afraid that many times they stop doing stuff in order not to fail, in my opinion, if you don't try it, you already failed.

Question: Scared of applying to that job?
My answer: What is the worst thing can happen?

Question: Don't know if this code will work?
My answer: Have you tried running it? Have you googled it?

Well, let me tell you as a guy who has been around the block a few times, making mistakes is what has got me to this point, I have failed constantly for years, but here is the secret, every time I failed, I learned something from it. Still, after some years working as a developer, I still google every day, I still make silly mistakes like a wrong call or basic logic mismatch.

It is not the end of the world, just remember nobody in this world is perfect, we all make mistakes, we all fail, what's important is what we take from those mistakes, so please, from now on I want you to start failing, as much as you can.

Work well with others

Sometimes we imagine senior developers as someone who doesn't want or need help from others, a magical genius who codes 24 hours straight and comes up with beautiful solutions, the truth is that most of our jobs are social, we produce great software because we are able to work very well with people from other countries, disciplines, and backgrounds.

So it is fundamentally important that you know how to communicate with other people, you need to be open to new ideas and to the possibility of new points of view, this relates to our previous point in the sense that there is a great chance that you made a mistake, that you missed something or didn't have the whole picture, and that is okay, there will be other people with you all aiming towards the same goal, learn from them and become a better developer.

And I know what you might be thinking? isn't having technical skills enough? unfortunately, it is not, just recently a girl at my job was fired due to being rude and not working well as a team player, her technical skills were on point, she was incredibly smart, but that was not enough.

There are some key insights here that are worth mentioning:

  • Not everyone has the same knowledge. Explain things in a calm way and don't be surprised if someone doesn't know what you are talking about.
  • Not everyone comes from a technical background. Know your audience, try to learn a little from the craft of others in your workplace, this will give you special words you can use so everyone is on the same page.
  • Learn the domain, if you want to be understood by someone who isn't working on the same as you, use what is common knowledge inside your company, and that is the domain of your application.

It is not a race

Sometimes, we worry too much about not accomplishing what we think is our responsibility, especially now with social media, we see all these tech personalities reaching their goals and getting popular while they do it, but you need to remember that this is not the point of doing this, focus on yourself, how can you be better than you were yesterday? how is this action getting me one step closer to my own goals?.

It is important that you understand that everyone has a different set of abilities, it is perfectly fine if you don't learn stuff at the same rate as other developers, it is perfectly fine if your career is not as bright as theirs, use their influence to grow, is there anything they are doing differently?.

Don't worry if right now you are not working with the latest tech, think on how you wanna grow over a longer period of time, I don't know you but I plan on doing this for the rest of my life, so I plan ahead, I take action and focus on my career over the long term.

As always, I write these things so I can also help you and myself level up and grow as a person and as a developer. We love to learn about tech, and having tech skills is definitely important, but there other things that will greatly improve our success in this industry.

If you liked this article please let me know below in the comments and share it, if you think I missed something also don't forget to mention it.

Top comments (6)

gielimmm profile image
Gie Zoljic

I always get rejected sometimes or worst -- ghosting. I sometimes questioned myself, " did i answered wrong?" "Are my skills not good enough?" Etc..i still dont stop sending my applications everyday.

Thanks for sharing, this is inspiring!

patferraggi profile image
Patricio Ferraggi • Edited

Thanks, I am glad you liked it. I struggle with the same feelings, I get that same situation a lot, unfortunately it is not under our control if someone replies or not, try no to worry for stuff not under your control, keep applying, review your CV and your stack constantly, keep improving, that is what is under your control, the rest is not important.

chrisf1031 profile image
Chris Ford

This post is really encouraging for me, as someone who is breaking into devops. It's nice to see that other qualities besides raw talent, and eons of experience are valued in the industry. Everyone was a beginner at one point in time.
Thanks for posting!

patferraggi profile image
Patricio Ferraggi • Edited

Thanks, I am glad you liked it. Indeed, If you don't consider yourself a beginner anymore that means you stopped learning new stuff. Don't worry you will get over it eventually. Good luck

richinex profile image

Great and inspiring.

patferraggi profile image
Patricio Ferraggi

Thank you very much, I am glad you liked it