What makes you a professional?

twitter logo github logo ・1 min read

Recently I was having a chat with a friend of mine. He is working as a dental technician and has limited knowledge of Internet technologies. He asked me a question that made me wonder.

Friend: What do you do for a living?
Me: I'm a professional web developer, and I build websites.
Friend: Can I learn to code?
Me: Everybody could, I guess.
Friend: And what makes you a professional?

I didn't know what to tell him. After a few days, I still don't know the real answer.

How would you answer this question?

twitter logo DISCUSS (10)
markdown guide

I like this definition for professional: "engaged in a specified activity as one's main paid occupation rather than as an amateur".

Mostly because when I say I'm a professional developer, this is literally what I mean. I get paid to write software.

The question, "what makes you professional?" could also be translated to "why does someone pay you to write software?". Or maybe even "what makes you more professional than my friend Timmy who builds websites for free?"

To put it simply: Putting a price on my work is what makes me professional. Building the right product, with a high level of skill and delivering that product on time is what keeps me professional.


Not sure. Everyone could put a price to software.
Being a professional is far beyond that. It involves the ethics and to choose the right decisions when you confront a dilemma.
What makes you a professional? It's the attitude you develop to create software, respecting my ethics code and giving a commitment to my customer.
Also involves more, but when you realize what and how to do the right, you will be more close to say "I'm a professional"


Having a work ethic that translates (among other things) to have a team spirit, to be open to new ideas, even if they are not aligned with your own mindset and having the ability to apply your skill set efficiently, in order to build a better product and if applicable, passing some of the knowledge to colleagues.


Great definition. But what are your skills in particular, what do you do that makes you a professional?


Personally I'm a Java (let's say a back-end in general) developer, and although I'm not that experienced, I will try to mentor when I know something and have a better domain knowledge. On the other hand, I'm always eager to listen and learn from seniors. This is what characterizes me as an individual.

As a team member, I will try to facilitate the workflow (let's say in an Agile environment, during a sprint) and accommodate my colleagues in whatever we might need as a team to deliver a quality feature.

As you might have guessed, work in progress!

I could say almost the same for myself.

I'm a frontend developer with CSS and HTML skills. Being professional freelancer, I always try to deliver code of the highest quality within arranged deadlines whether I work alone or as a part of the team.

This could be my definition of a professional.


I think the whole background makes you professional. It works in the same way as for dental technicians, doctors etc.

If you have studied major in computer science and have let's say 3 years or more commercial experience - most of people will think of you as a professional.

If you have one year of experience working with small webstites and no education in this direction - would you call yourself a professional?

The line is blurry but that's my 'soft' definition.


There are two parts of being professional. The obvious one is being paid. The important one is the required mindset to hone their skills and do their job properly.

Classic DEV Post from Jun 6 '19

What programming best practice do you disagree with?

Discussion about an unusual interview question

Silvestar Bistrović profile image
Fearless web engineer, CSS developer, JAMstack enthusiast, and WordPress theme specialist

dev.to now has dark mode.

Go to the "misc" section of your settings and select night theme ❤️