Imagine that you want to be a programmer, or that already being one, someone asks you, what it means to be a good developer. What do you think you would reply? In this article, we are going to list 7 qualities of a good programmer, although obviously, we may miss some so that you can comment on them in the comments section if you have something to add.
1. Constant learning
Do you like to learn new things? Have you always liked to learn? Because one thing that we can guarantee you about working in the field of software programming is that you spend your life constantly learning and implementing new things. Every few years you need to upgrade and learn a set of new skills. This is not optional, it is mandatory! You can only avoid this continuous training process if you find a very specialized and closed niche. Otherwise, you will be training your entire professional life.
If you find it difficult to learn new things and you do not conceive that training is a means to success, DO NOT go into developing software. Training and learning new things are a constant in this job.
You have to be patient, but in the sense of working methodically with a problem for days, weeks, and even months. It's not that much about mincing code until something works. Good software developers don't spend their days writing code until the program works. This would mean that they have not forethought the problem and are simply throwing code lines like crazy until something works. A good approach involves sitting down and analyzing the problem, designing a solution, looking for all the threads, seeing if everything fits, reviewing the plan looking for possible critical points, and, finally, sitting down to program the software.
You always have to remember, that the code "sprouts" from the problem, we don't launch and pile code on top of the problem.
3. Planning in phases
Are you able to think in phases? Can you break down a problem into smaller and more detailed parts? This way of thinking that goes from the big shot to the smallest parts deconstructed logically is essential.
4. Creativity and taking work as a game
Do you have a creative streak? Creative skills tend to help us work with abstract concepts permeating software. Do you like to play? From our point of view, this willingness to take the learning process as a game is the main difference between people who see software development work as tiresome wear and tear and people who enjoy the challenges of work, of which they have fun "winning the next phase" like a video game. This last idea leads to an attitude of never giving up and denotes a willingness to go off on a tangent in search of solutions when the plan we are following leads to nothing.
5. Do not deceive yourself
It is very important to be very honest with yourself. The biggest trap that novice developers and average programmers fall into is making too many assumptions or guesses about the problem they have to solve without asking and probing to find out if they are on the right track. As you gain experience, you give more importance to this aspect. You do not know where your limits are until you have crossed them. When you have little experience, you tend to cross your limits and end up in very uncomfortable situations. As you gain experience, you learn to recognize what you don't know and not to make assumptions on the first turn, thus avoiding making mistakes.
The more critical the software, the more important it becomes to be aware of your limitations. If you develop software that contains financial or private information, you have to be very cautious and be sure that you are going to be able to do what you say and you are going to do it accurately and on time.
6. Mental stamina
Software development and programming are mentally challenging. People who do not work in this field see that wages and working conditions are above average and they want a piece of the pie. What they don't see is the tangle of things they have to master to be able to work in this field: development tools, networks, hardware, server administration, databases, markup languages, scripts, communication protocols, numerous desktop applications, cloud, etc. Besides that, all the job skills you need to be part of a company and be able to function. And all of the above is just to get a job. Mastering the subject takes many years.
7. Flexibility in the face of change
Most of us have a hard time being proficient at a couple of things and are usually scared of any hint of change. Change is the faithful companion of any programmer. For some projects, you may be required to be competent or have knowledge of half a dozen fields of work. But that's why good developers earn salaries above the average because such competition has a price. It's not an easy job. From the outside, it is not well appreciated how competent a good programmer is and it is thought that it is not that complicated, but it is a very changing environment of constant learning in which you have to have not only the programming knowledge but also the understanding of many fields and sectors to those who create solutions, putting in many hours.