It turns out that technical skills and experience will only get you so far. There are several critical behavioral characteristics and mindsets that set apart highly effective software developers. We asked a variety of software professionals about the habits and traits that separate great developers from the rest of the pack. We came up with the below 7 habits that predict success in the long run:
Code for Humans, not Machines
“When you start coding it is common to begin writing line after line of code, into a function that gets bigger and bigger,” says Olshansky, from Zenput. That seems easier at first, but it generates several problems: your code becomes harder to read, harder to reuse, and harder to test. “A function should do one thing and one thing only. If it does more than one thing, it lacks focus.”
Talk less, Listen more
Highly effective software developers have “the ability and willingness to admit that they do not know, what they don’t know” Every person is unique and you can learn something from everyone. Great developers are always open to new opinions and things they have never thought of. They listen to every person like you’ve never heard those stories before. One of the developers from the StackRaft community quoted Dalai Lama “When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.”
Rabbit Holes Vs. Prioritization
Being curious, persistent, and having an independent mind are some good behavioral virtues, then just shipping code and not asking questions. Still going deep down the rabbit hole doesn’t qualify you as a great programmer, because, “Perfect” leads to satisfaction, but “done” leads to accomplishment. Great developers have the ability to focus on. If you want this thing of yours to succeed, you have to focus on making it succeed. Nothing else should matter. The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing, for highly effective software developers.
Successful devs don’t let their egos turn a programming problem into an unnecessary productivity drain—especially not when a solution may be readily available online. Sometimes, asking for help—yes, Google counts—is the most efficient first step toward a solution. They are often a part of a community and have code buddies and mentors around them.
Always be Learning
A good software engineer can write a Django database query, but a highly effective software developer will know how to most efficiently write that query so that one line of code scales. Distinguish between expertise and mastery, though. The latter suggests there’s nothing left for you to learn. Don’t think you will ever master anything. Development these days is just continuous education.
Begin with the End in Mind
You cannot hit a target you cannot see. It is imperative for you to set clear goals of where you are headed toward and what you really want in your life. Compelling goals inspire massive action. Highly effective software programmers are deeply goal-oriented, which inspires them to work towards it — goals that are in alignment with their values. They are honest with themselves and ruthlessly cut off activities, routines, or relationships that hold them back or is seen as not working. Planning, executing and reviewing sets them apart.
Together is Better
Gates started Microsoft with Allen, who even came up with the name Microsoft. Elon Musk created his first IT company Zip2 with his brother Kimbal, and he then sold the company to AltaVista for $307 million in cash and $34 million in securities. Instagram was initially started by Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger. Amazon has about 341,000 employees. Microsoft has more than 120,000 employees. Google, after tons of research on building the perfect team, has found that some of the most productive teams were the ones with an environment that cultivated togetherness and embraced psychological safety.
Highly effective programmers, help people more collaboratively. That can be done by valuing every teammate’s freedom and helping them feel very comfortable expressing different points of view without the fear of embarrassment. Allow everyone to contribute to and collaborate on everything they find interesting and worth contributing and paying attention to.
Habits are very powerful
If you want to become an effective programmer, first you have to decide to do so. As Covey said, “I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.” Excellence is not accidental but comes as a result of careful planning, hard work, and devoted dedication. As Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”
Start to practice any of these habits and see for yourself how it goes.