Urban myth has often depicted developers as loners and introverts. Picture the image of a computer geek staring at a bank of monitor screens in a dark basement. That image is rarely the real picture of what it means to be a developer today.
The truth is that most developer projects are joint efforts, not solo ventures. So, developers need extra skills besides coding. Here are the five top noncoding skills every developer with ambition should have.
Developers need to interact with others often in the software development process. There is a need to communicate with others through the planning stages and the coding itself. Communication continues onwards to software release and support.
More and more developers are enrolling in negotiation sales management training as part of their professional development to enhance communication with clients and colleagues. Some specific situations where developers may need negotiation skills include:
- Salary negotiations;
- Contract or vendor discussions;
- Funding proposals;
- Selling of software;
- Team roles and workloads;
- Project terms and conditions.
Developers often find they regularly need to negotiate with different stakeholders. The stakeholders can include:
- Other developers;
- Project managers or scrum masters;
- Product owners;
- Venture capitalists and other funding sources;
- End users.
With such a variety of negotiation scenarios and stakeholders, the skill of negotiating is an important one to lock down. Effective negotiation skills enable developers to hash out agreements while avoiding disputes. Negotiating well often results in a win-win deal. In win-win deals, all stakeholders are happy with the outcome.
Without core negotiation skills, developers may accept jobs, salaries, and work deadlines they may not be comfortable with. A developer may end up with win-lose or lose-lose agreements that could impact motivation and code quality.
To produce high-quality products, developers need organization skills. Organized developers have a better chance of winning promotions and leading teams.
Well-organized teams ensure that tasks and projects neither clash nor overlap. So, it’s helpful for team members to follow standard rules and work towards a common goal. Training and coaching can make organizing people into a cohesive group easier.
When it comes to producing clean code, organized documentation is important. Turnkey services such as GitHub, GitLab, and BitBucket are popular for unified documentation. Nowadays, training in the Agile methodology is critical for success. Proper organization supports developers in:
- Managing intricate work such as with the Scrum framework;
- Negotiating roles and timelines;
- Ordering an evolving product backlog;
- Improving the Scrum team velocity;
- Creating more accurate test estimations;
- Developing continuous integration and testing between the Git repository and code deployment;
- Rapid iteration with known variables.
Developers work in a fast-evolving environment. As such, developers are always trying to stay on top of innovations. Dedicated developers spend tons of time trying to find new and simpler ways to accomplish objectives. Code development often requires a curious mind to experiment with different types of usage. Some traits that boost research skills include:
- Being open-minded – explore alternatives, even when no one thinks they are viable;
- Nurturing problem-solving skills – mediate where there are differences of opinion;
- Being accountable and taking ownership of mistakes – work to correct mistakes instead of shifting blame;
- Creativity – think outside the box.
Programming can be research-intensive. A small change in code can result in hours, even weeks, of issues. So, it pays for developers to secure above-par research skills. Some common research topics include:
- How an API works;
- What an algorithm does;
- Why a program is failing.
It is common to find a developer lost in research. Sources such as tutorials, sample applications, demos, command line interfaces, and stack overflows provide developers with updates on industry innovations.
Plus, training in research skills can raise a developer’s skill level and competitive value. For instance, knowing employment trends can prepare a developer to negotiate higher salaries and generous perks.
Time Management Skills
For most developers, time is scarce. Every minute counts. Time management skills enable developers to produce high-quality products within given timelines.
Time management involves planning activities and setting clear deadlines. Time management takes discipline and is the one soft skill employers desire most in their teams. Some time management skills for developers include:
- Creating and keeping schedules;
- Avoiding multitasking if it causes distraction;
- Planning downtimes and taking breaks;
- Prioritizing tasks;
- Dividing big tasks into more manageable tasks;
- Delegating tasks where applicable;
- Managing and minimizing interruptions.
Effective time management often leads to better professional reputations, less stress, and happy clients. Poor time management can lead to code errors, missed deadlines, high-stress levels, and conflicts with other stakeholders.
Competition is high within developer circles. Most programmers are adept at many programming languages. This is why the developer’s training or tech stack is sometimes not enough for a developer to stand out. Ambitious developers want to secure the best funding, high salaries, and generous perks. Developers with marketing skills often get the best deals compared to those who view marketing as a nonessential skill.
When it comes to business goals, marketing can increase your profits and market penetration. Marketing supports your vision and sells your talents and services. To stand out, you may need to:
- Highlight your strengths;
- Downplay your limitations;
- Protect your reputation;
- Network with people in your field;
- Share with your peers;
- Promote your projects.
Some of the reasons why developers need to hone their marketing skills include:
- To improve career prospects;
- To sell more;
- To support the raising of funding;
- To bridge the gap between development teams and nontechnical stakeholders;
- To translate analytics and the impact of marketing data;
- To understand user needs better;
- To know how to hire marketing staff if creating a startup;
- To train your nonprogramming talents.
Developer Skills Beyond Coding
Developers need a full range of skills to be a valued and highly rewarded contributor towards quality solutions. These key skills work hand in hand to support coding objectives. For instance, training in negotiation skills encourages reaching mutually beneficial agreements with stakeholders. Combining your negotiation and marketing skills makes your talents and products more marketable. Time management cuts across all programming phases.
Research and organization skills can make your code stand out. The right mix of coding and noncoding skills can place you in the mind of peers and funders as the go-to programmer. Accelerate your career growth by cultivating more skills outside your tech skills.