In today’s IT job market, the demand for software developers (or software engineers) is extremely high. Whether you are just starting out or have already begun working in software development, we invite you to discover (or rediscover) the 7 key skills needed to be a great software developer.
This article will cover:
- What is a software developer?
- T-shaped profile or the art of being versatile and an expert at the same time
- The 7 key skills needed to be a software developer
- Software development at Anais Digital
What is a software developer?
A software developer is a person who designs, creates and maintains software applications. They use their creativity and technical skills to turn an idea into a working program. They often work as part of a team and take on projects that require them to update their skills throughout their career.
The T-shaped profile, or the art of being versatile and an expert at the same time
A developer must of course be able to code but this is far from being the only skill needed in today’s job market. An increasing number of companies are actively recruiting “T-shape” profiles.
A T-shaped person has a variety of skills in several areas while having one or two specializations.
In other words, it means having expert-level skills in specific areas such as writing code or debugging software, and having general skills in other aspects of software development. This creates greater adaptability – an essential quality in the digital sector.
For example: a software engineer specialized in ReactJS with some knowledge of other popular programming languages would be preferred over an expert in a single language but having no other skills.
The 7 key skills of a software developer
Now that we have outlined what a software developer is, let’s dive into the key skills needed to be successful in this field.
1. Mathematical aptitude
It is therefore necessary to have strong mathematical skills in order to go beyond simple html and css programming. A good software engineer should have the ability to reason mathematically and logically and understand complex data structures and algorithms.
2. Problem solving skills
Software development could be simplified as the act of exposing a problem and then finding a solution.
For example: a customer wants an application to make his after-sales service run more smoothly and has not been satisfied by existing solutions. The development team’s job will be to solve the customer’s problem by creating an application that can satisfy his need.
This is an example of a macro level problem a software developer may be asked to resolve . At a more micro level, a developer may be asked to fix a problem in a line of code or to debug a software.
Developers are confronted with new problems to solve on a daily basis. It is therefore crucial to have the necessary skills to be able to find solutions to clients’ problems.
3. Programming language competencies
A developer must also be familiar with the functioning of a database and SQL and be able to master the concepts of algorithms and testing procedures.
However, even expert developers cannot know everything about all languages. Everyone has their own specialties and the languages used may differ depending on the developer’s role in the team.
As we mentioned in the T-shape overview, developers need to be flexible – and not afraid to learn!
4. Organizational and time management skills
Deadlines are an essential (and unavoidable) part of any software development project.
In agencies such as Anais Digital, teams work on a variety of projects and are required to juggle competing deadlines. While a project manager will often be there to ensure deadlines are met, each team member must be able to stick to deadlines and keep their part of the project organized. Software developers must dedicate part of their time to efficiently planning out their day and organizing their tasks.
5. Accuracy and attention to detail
Let’s take the somewhat commonplace – yet very relevant – example of a watchmaker.
Being a watchmaker means assembling thousands of parts, sometimes tiny ones, to make a larger organism work: a watch or a clock.
Software development is similar, except that in this case, the watch is the software and the parts are the characters in the lines of code.
Just as a single mistake can block the entire mechanism of a watch, a single coding error can completely stop your software from working.
In order to minimize errors, an experienced developer will always concentrate on the accuracy of the code and pay careful attention to details. Best practices include focusing on the clarity of the code (indentation, tag names, regular addition of comments within the code, etc.) and making sure that the work is understandable and can be picked up where left off.
6. Teamwork skills
More often than not, software developers work as part of a team.
Even at a time when remote work has become commonplace (especially in the software industry), the ability to work well as part of a team is essential.
Even though developers may spend a significant amount of time creating code, they will also need to be part of team and client meetings, briefings, calls and exchanges on various messaging platforms (Slack, Discord).
A developer must have the necessary communication skills required to synch up with team members, flag issues, and give clear project updates.
Throughout their careers, software developers will work with a variety of colleagues and will need to be able to adapt to different environments, personalities and even cultures and languages. By adopting a flexible, team-oriented approach and strong communication skills, software developers will be able to thrive in a variety of contexts.
Software development is a fast-moving field. A good software developer should be curious about new technologies and emerging trends. This is a critical skill as it helps developers stay on top of trends, develop key skills and better understand what they can offer clients.
Many developers take time out of their day to do a little industry watch. They set aside time to read articles, check out the latest posts on trusted social media accounts and read (or even contribute to) industry message boards.
There are many sources of information to stay up to date. Some popular ones include Wired, Gizmodo and TechCrunch. Podcasts can also be a great source of information and a great way to get to know the developer community.
Are you a developer looking for a new opportunity ?
Anais Digital is an innovative digital company with offices in Brussels, Belgium and Bucharest, Romania.
If you’re a software developer with the skills on our list, we’d love to meet you!
What Anais Digital offers:
- A hybrid work environment, where you are free to choose the place you want to work from
- A 4.5 day week (and maybe a 4 day week in the near future!)
- Flexibility: fixed contracts as well as freelance opportunities
At Anais Digital, we leave room for trust and autonomy, whether you work from home or from the office.
We believe in creating a stimulating work environment, empowering our teams and encouraging as well as challenging their ideas.
Interested in seeing what a day at Anais could look like? Check out our Day in the Life of blog posts, featuring Dan Nicolae, Delivery Manager in our Bucharest office and Alex Zamfir, Lead React and React Native Developer.
In this article, we shared the 7 key skills needed to be a great software developer. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us, we will be happy to answer you.