It’s difficult to find developers that perfectly fit the bill. Great developers offset themselves from the less experienced ones by having an unmatched drive to do what they do best without breaking a sweat. However, it’s not just the output that defines great developers. That’s precisely what this article is about. There are a couple of things you should look out for in deciding which developers to hire as well as actions you can take to convert developers into great developers.
After the many conversations we have had with developers and our clients that hire them, we identified 5 of the most important intangible traits you should like for in developers.
1. A positive mindset
Every organisation needs a team of developers that are devoted to the product. Moreover, with this devotion comes the willingness and the positivity that’s required to develop more great features and perform at their best every day.
One caveat that often occurs is employers who put too much pressure on developers to continually meet deadlines. Naturally, this is not always avoidable, but great developers that feel connected with the product and know exactly how it helps the end-user will make sure the product gets released in a timely fashion. Simply because they care.
What we learned from developers is that to instil a positive attitude, employers ought to give them exciting projects as well as a healthy dose of autonomy. Besides, it’s essential to provide feedback on their performance and praise them when it’s appropriate to do so.
2. Great developers are effective communicators
Strong communication skills are directly correlated with the quality of product developers work on. Most developers have a thorough understanding of the problems they face and why they occur. Where great developers excel, however, is how they break down said issues into theories and propose appropriate solutions to tackle them. They ask the right questions to the right people and work together with them to uncover the underlying issues that cause the problem to occur.
Ideally, but unfortunately, this is often not the case, they would also document their findings and have everything written down in a document that is understandable everyone involved. They ought to be able to record it in English as this is the language that’s widely spoken among developers. The cherry on the cake is if management would encourage their developer teams to present their findings during weekly or monthly meetings to nurture a culture of sharing knowledge, transparency, and to speed up decision-making processes.
If everyone member of the development team feels they are listened to and that their input is considered they will be much more inclined to contribute.
3. Outstanding task and time management is their second nature
While the importance of having this trait applies to the majority of candidates that apply for jobs, it is especially important for developers to exercise this. Aside from being at meetings on time and showing a strong work ethic, great developers are also able to indicate how much time they need for a particular task to complete.
They realise that their work is often labour-intensive and that some tasks take more time than others. Other stakeholders might not always be aware of this, thus being able to provide an overview of how long the work will take will avoid unnecessary pressure to meet the deadlines and stress.
Additionally, great developers who are aware of how much they consume working on great features for your products often start managing their managers and clients instead of the other way around.
4. The willingness to learn and to be inquisitive
While great developers are skilled professionals and probably know the ins and outs from each string of code, learning never stops. Developers that share this opinion are the ones that present growth after every project and they will ask the right questions that help them to achieve their goals.
Not every developer will share every piece of knowledge they obtained from their online hangouts with other developers, but encouraging them to do so is a significant step forward towards knowledge-sharing. In turn, this motivates others to do the same and learn from one another. There will always be situations in which they do not know the answer and great developers will go the extra mile to consult different resources and talk to the right people. One of the best skills you could wish for is knowing how to learn, and great developers have mastered the skill of self-learning.
5. Proven technical expertise and the ability to share knowledge
The former is not strictly an intangible skill as it alludes to the quality of the deliverables from the developer. However, developers that have worked on a product similar to yours at a previous employer have a head start. It’s the knowledge they garnered from their experience that will prove to be very useful and valuable once they start sharing it with other team members.
The combination of their industry experience and cognitive capabilities allow them and others to propose the best and most appropriate solutions possible. Great developers are typically familiar with the coding etiquette and standards and can write code in a way that can be understood by others as well. This often goes hand-in-hand with appropriate commenting on excerpts of code so that it can quickly be passed on to someone else.