Software developers are some of the most in-demand workers in the job market, but will they always be? The evolution of technology will only continue, but as tech grows, so does the number of people looking to get into the industry. In fact, the IT industry is set to expand 12 percent by 2024, faster than most other occupations. That means in less than a decades’ time being a software developer will likely be as common as, say, a retail sales representative.
In a world where technology is constantly advancing, the best software developers understand that in order to remain in high demand and valued by employers, s/he must constantly seek new ways to be a better developer. The following are ways software developers can always stay relevant and stand out among their competitors.
Be Reliable, Not a Rockstar
Reliable people who work in reliable ways are underrated MVPs. Too often tech teams deem someone as the “rockstar” of the group after s/he implements a code that turns what seems like a doomed project back around. While we all romantically want to be that person at one point or another, successful companies are not built off one-off wins. They’re successful because their foundation is made up of reliable employees who put out consistently great work.
Great software developers move projects forward even if it means taking grunt work such as writing deployment scripts, testing code, reconfiguring project timelines, etc. The reality is those humble components are the backbone to projects and their completion are imperative to the overall project. Leinux creator Linus Torvalds sums up the reality of getting project completed by saying, “I am not a visionary, I’m an engineer.” Items that may seem tedious are really the most important parts of a project and successful software developers focus on getting items done, not coming up with the next most brilliant piece of code.
Adopt an Architect State of Mind
When starting a project, identify the end product and then work backwards from there. This means starting from the bare bones of coding with naming your functions and variables well with the end product in mind. If your name is correct you can then solve for that boundary and you will be left with functional code that’s guiding you towards your end product.
Function naming is essentially defining the problem you and your team are solving for. Good function and variable naming makes code more readable and sets your team up for success in continuing to build out the functionality. Although this thought seems simple, it’s the part that developers so often mess up, leading themselves and their team astray. Sloppy naming means sloppy code, bugs, and even sloppier code built off of your code.
Detect Bad Code and Change it
Maybe your code isn’t bad, but the importance is realizing that it could be better. You could even be at a place where you can’t quite put a finger on what’s off about your code and that’s okay. Is your code too complicated for even you to digest? Does it seem too long? Great developers are able to identify both bad and great code. More times than not, great code is the simplest of code. You might be the only one to write the code, however you are not the only person who will read the code and continue to build off of it. Bad code ultimately slows you and your projects down by increasing cycle times and releasing bugs leaving your team affected, too. One of the worst parts about programming is spending the entire day battling bugs or installation issues. However, if you’re faced with that situation, document how you solved your challenges and share your findings with your team. The fact of the matter is that if you faced challenges, your team probably would, too.
Keep Learning and Practicing
Technology changes at a rapid pace and the best software developers are the ones who keep up with the market changes and learn the latest developments. Many companies even provide a professional development stipend for employees to pursue courses and training activities. You can also join software communities such as the ones created on Slack to learn from other developers outside of your network. Another method is to use resources provided by technology-focused recruiting firms to see what type of software projects their clients have available at any given moment. Projects range in duration, location and price which allows software developers to learn and practice a new skill while making competitive pay and either working from home, in your town or a completely new place for as long as the project lasts.