What Makes a Great Software Developer? Key Skills You Need to Succeed

Nemanja Ostojić
Mar 25, 2023

In today's fast-paced digital world, software development has become a critical component of businesses in virtually every industry. As such, software developers are in demand, inspiring many people to join and take up the career. We are fortunate to have a lot of excellent developers working for Computer Rock. Over the years, we have been able to identify core competencies that helped people excel.

It is essential to possess various skills beyond programming expertise if you want to stand out. This article will explore the top 10 skills every software developer needs to succeed in today's marketplace, from problem-solving to collaboration and customer focus. Whether you're just starting in the field or looking to take your career to the next level, these tips will help you progress.

The list is not sorted based on the importance of the skills. Instead, you should take a holistic approach and find a combination that works for you. If you see something that you think you are not doing well, don't start panicking just yet. They are called skills for a reason. All of them can be learned and improved through practice. 

Rather than looking at this as a be-all, end-all guide, try to find inspiration and a new goal. 

  • Problem-solving: Software development is all about solving problems, so it's essential to be able to break down complex challenges, find solutions that meet your client's needs, and help your team deliver the optimal product. Remember, sometimes the best solutions are the simplest ones!

Skills - 1
  • Technical communication: Communicating complex technical information to non-technical stakeholders is a crucial skill for software developers. You need to explain technical concepts and features in a way your clients or users can understand. In addition, technical communication helps developers convey important information about their work to project managers, clients, and other team members who may not have a technical background.

Advice from Darko Pavlović - iOS Developer: Listen and learn from more experienced developers. Don't hesitate to ask if something is not clear. If in doubt about two solutions, always apply the one that is better for the project and the team and not the one that is easier for you.

  • Accurate Estimates: We are building on top of the previous point. By providing accurate estimates, you ensure projects are completed on time and within budget. Effective communication can build trust and credibility with clients and stakeholders. Inaccurate estimates can cause a domino effect on the project timeline, causing delays or pushbacks. However, delays can't be entirely avoided. In the real world, changes happen all the time. The best thing you can do when you see a potential timeline threat is to flag it immediately. This will give everyone some time to regroup and re-prioritize. As you gain more experience, you will get better at estimates.

  • Collaboration: Software development is often a team effort, so working well with others and collaborating effectively is vital. What you want to avoid is working in silos. This refers to individuals that work separately without guidance and coordination. The "Silo" approach hurts the unified vision and slows down knowledge sharing. 

  • Creativity: As a software developer, you need to be creative in finding solutions to problems. Creativity can take many forms, such as finding new ways to approach coding challenges, designing more user-friendly interfaces, or developing new functionalities that are not yet available in the market. User Experience and design rely on creativity to bring real value to the end user. If you ask us, software development is one of the most creative professions out there!

Advice from Draško Vrućinić - JAVA Team Lead: Believe in yourself. If you lose that, nobody else will believe in you. But conversely, stay curious and skeptical about solutions, tools, mechanisms, and frameworks. That's the way how you learn the most. That's where innovations arise, which is the root of science.

  • Analytical skills: Software development involves a lot of data analysis and problem-solving, so you need to be able to analyze data and identify trends to make informed decisions. Analytical skills are used to identify code errors and bugs, improve software applications' performance, and develop efficient and effective solutions to complex problems.

  • Continuous learning: Technology is constantly evolving, and to stay current, developers must be committed to lifelong learning. Up-to-date knowledge ensures that software applications remain relevant and competitive in the marketplace. In addition, as new programming languages and tools are developed, developers need to understand how to use them effectively to create the best possible solutions.

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  • Time management: Software development involves a lot of deadlines and time-sensitive projects, so being able to manage your time effectively is crucial. This skill goes hand in hand with being able to provide quality estimates. The sense of time and prioritization is a mark of true professionals.

  • Attention to detail: Software development is a detail-oriented field. Having the ability to identify and fix bugs is essential. Attention to detail involves being thorough and meticulous in all aspects of software development. It includes carefully reviewing code, testing software applications, and reviewing documentation to ensure everything is accurate and complete. Developers with strong attention to detail can catch errors and inconsistencies others may overlook, leading to better-quality products.

Advice from Christopher Borchard - Lead Commercials: - Be open to new things and always ask if something is not clear - Give and get feedback (positive and negative); otherwise, nothing will change - We are not perfect, so address problems directly. Your team is there to support you at any time - Take the initiative and make mistakes - Never be satisfied with what you are given, but strive for improvement

- Have fun

  • Customer focus: At the end of the day, software development is all about delivering solutions that meet the needs of your clients or users. Having a customer-focused mindset is essential for success in this field. Developers with a heightened customer focus can work more effectively with customers and create software solutions more aligned with their needs. In addition, they can gather and interpret customer feedback and incorporate it into the development process. This can help ensure that software applications are more user-friendly and intuitive, which is critical for ensuring that customers have a positive experience with the software.

Skills - 3

In conclusion, software development is a dynamic and challenging field requiring many skills to succeed. While programming proficiency is undoubtedly important, software developers must also be adept at many other skills. 

With the ever-evolving nature of technology, it is vital to continuously develop and refine these skills to stay ahead of the curve and succeed in this exciting field.

If this article sounds like you, we might have a job waiting for you. 

Check our career page to find out more. 

Nemanja Ostojić

Digital Marketing Manager. Averages 3,5 coffees a day. Strong believer you should check out our blog page.