Are You A Good Developer?
Posted by: Suprotim Agarwal
in Category General Topics
Abstract: 'Good' means having qualities that are desirable and distinguishing. From a developer's perspective, these qualities are both technical as well as non-technical. Here are some qualities that a developer should possess if he/she aims at becoming a 'good' developer.
Are You A Good Developer?
'Good' means having qualities that are desirable and distinguishing. From a developer's perspective, these qualities are both technical as well as non-technical. Here are some qualities that a developer should possess if he/she aims at becoming a 'good' developer.
1. Good Communication skills - In the software world, people usually define good communication skills as fluency in a spoken language. That's not really what it is. It is how effectively you are able to communicate with others. As a 'good' developer, you should be able to express yourself well, listen well, as well as manage the communication process well.
2. Positive Attitude - 'Your attitude determines your altitude'. I am sure you must have heard that phrase. From a developer's context, this means believe in you, stop blaming others and adapt to changes without fretting. Remember that you always get what you want because you always want what you get.
3. Read Books - Read plenty of them to get a good idea of different technologies. Reading books gives you quick and handy insight into a technology. You should choose books that are usually written by known professionals who recommend best practices and different methods of solving a business problem using the technology. During the course of time, you will learn to develop your own methods. Who knows you may one day write a book!!
4. Practice, Practice and Practice - I have seen a lot of developers having good amount of theoretical knowledge. They read a lot of books and technical material. However when it comes to applying that knowledge, they take a back foot. That is because they do not practice. Efficiency and effectiveness in your work can only be attained if you practice code. The only way you can make a good developer of yourself is to practice, and then practice some more.
5. Follow Patterns and Best Practices - Patterns & practices reflect technical guidance, technical problem domain and engineering practices based on real-world experiences. The process to learn it is gradual, but once done; it can save you a lot of time and efforts and enable you to work smartly. Follow a Code Design Guideline. Always use a code analysis tools that will evaluate and analyze your code.
6. Discussion/Newsgroup - Participating in communities develops the quality of leadership and contribution, both ingredients of success. Having participated in a good technical discussion on the community leaves you with a feeling of self-satisfaction. It also increases your knowledge, as you find smart people who can validate your solutions, as you validate theirs. It also teaches you to appreciate suggestions. Do not forget to 'pat someone on the back' if he/her has made a positive contribution. Believe me it makes all the difference.
7. Knowledge of Networking and Databases - People may contradict this point, but during my career as a developer, I have realized that a good developer should know the basics of networking and databases. Almost all the solutions that we create, involve interactions with networks and databases. Having knowledge of these two, helps you write better code and saves you on a lot of time too.
8. Blog/ Write Articles - How many of us can remember everything? I cannot. So I document them. It helps me to reference stuff when I need them. Over and above, it also helps me get some good feedback from readers and shows me multiple approaches to do the same stuff. I have received a lot of feedback about my work, some good and some not so good. However, I do validate them and learn from this process. It develops the developer in you.
9. KISS - Keep Implementations/Approaches Short and Simple. Do not over complicate things by using jargons, which people find it hard to understand. The key is to simplify your designs and avoid over-engineering things.
10. Think as a Tester - Developers and Testers; two sets of people from different camps, ready to take on each other. I have observed that the intersection of the two produces good results. It does not harm taking off the developer's hat for some time and putting on the tester's hat. In fact, in the long run it helps you reduce bugs/defects in your code. You develop a mindset of about breaking your code, when you are creating one.
11. Consistency is the name of the game - Do you hop jobs too often or are bitten by the 'salary' bug? If yes, then it’s time for you to sit down, relax and plan. Invest time in thinking and let your decisions not be spontaneous. To move ahead, you need a solid foundation and that comes with consistency.
12. Attend technology seminars and events - If there is one hosted in your city, make sure you take out time to attend one. Most of them are free and provide a valuable source of information about new technologies.
13. Jack of all or Master of One? - Well that's a difficult one to answer. In today's scenario, you have to master more than one technology. Practically it is quite difficult to do so, but the good ones do it. However the key is adaptability over here. If you are good at any one technology and confident in it, given an opportunity, it would be easier for to relate to a new technology in a short period of time. Try it out as it enables you to compare technologies and make decisions, once you have worked with them.
14. Stop complaining - Did the software fail or are the testers giving you a tough time by finding a lot of bugs? A natural tendency for a lot of developers is to react and then overreact in such situations. While the reaction is natural, it may not be desirable. Analyze why the software failed or why was the bug reported. It is going to be a learning experience and will help you in your future projects.
At the end, just remember that you are not going to remain a programmer for ever. So once you are satisfied and get a feeling that you have proven yourself as a good programmer, it’s time to re-program yourself. Expand your interests. Development is just a part of the process. Understanding the users and business is in itself an art, one should aim for and should master over a period of time. I hope you liked the article and I thank you for viewing it.
This article has been editorially reviewed by Suprotim Agarwal.
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