LevelForward Blog

Rants about anything

What skills do you REALLY need to be a good software developer?

I have worked with many developers in my professional career. I worked with extremely bright developers who lacked any kind of social skills and developers who could barely understand basic concepts but could be my best friend. I know developers that spend all their free time coding and others who only learn as they go.

So what makes a good developer? Math skills? Logic and reason? It is definitely a blend of many skills that make up the perfect developer. It also depends on the specific role, do you communicate with a large team or the customer? Do you work by yourself on complex scientific data logic? Are you developing intricate enterprise level applications or small IOS apps?

I have worked on all sorts of projects from complex to simple, small to enterprise, solo and on large teams. I have concluded there are two main skills that any developer should have if they want to succeed in almost any environment.

1. A Problem Solving Mindset

Simple. Whether its a website, large data application or a financial API, the goal is the same. Solve the problem. Whatever it takes, however long, whatever you need to learn. Your mindset is to solve it. Period.

2. Understanding your Clients Needs

When I say client in this context I mean everyone you work with is your client. The actual customer, your fellow developers, the lead, the project manager and even the CEO.

I know my fellow developer needs me to finish my task so they can work on theirs. I know my project manager needs me to communicate my status frequently so he can keep his client happy. I know my CEO needs me to produce high quality interfaces so it looks good when they present it to prospective customers.

The reality is the quality of your code is important but in the business world it is not the only goal. The goal is to satisfy your customers ... and most of them never look at your code.

I also want to mention that it does not take a genius to be a developer. I truly believe anyone who is willing to put in the effort can succeed in this industry! You can take courses or learn it yourself, the internet is full of resources, free and cheap.

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Do you need help figuring out if you should commit the money to upgrade your code base and/or technology? Visit our website and contact us contact@levelforward.com for your FREE consultation.

Follow us on twitter @levelforward & Ilya @waitingfortoday


Pay a little now or A LOT later?

The age old question: "To refactor or not to refactor"

Should you upgrade your code base? Should you move to the cloud? Should you spend thousands of dollars now on something that you won't see direct value from?

Almost always the answer is yes. Here are the reasons:
  • More developers to choose from/attract (no body wants to work on outdated tech)
  • Developer satisfaction (average developer jumps jobs every two years)
  • Ability to develop faster and make changes (this is the reason for new tech)
  • Eliminate bugs (the endless loop of fixing one bug to create five more)
  • Compete with new emerging companies  (take it from a developer, I don't want to work on old code...not to mention as a customer I want a fast UI that looks like Facebook or Google)
  • Save money on developers (the reality is you will either get incompetent developers or grossly overpay)
I know it may cost more now. But it will cost a heck of a lot more later. I have seen it countless times. Short-sidedness to not make the right decision to refactor. Do you have 10...20...30...50 developers dedicated to maintaining and fixing bugs on an outdated code base. These resources can be allocated to developing new features and improvements instead of to upkeep.

I am not saying jump on the latest greatest technology that may disappear in a year. But if you are hosting your site on Windows Server 2003 or your code is written in VBScript... take the wise words of Beyonce...let me upgrade you!

Do you need help figuring out if you should commit the money to upgrade your code base and/or technology? Visit our website and contact us contact@levelforward.com for your FREE consultation.

Follow us on twitter @levelforward & Ilya @waitingfortoday