Great coders will always be in demand, but getting hired at a cutting-edge company with excellent technology and top-notch compensation requires more than just a term at a coding boot camp or even a computer science degree. Successful engineers are lifelong learners, inquisitive experimenters, and inventive problem solvers who are fascinated by not only their own fields of specialization but also the wider world.
What distinguishes an excellent developer from the rest of the pack then? Here are some pointers to help you remain on top of things.
1. You shouldn’t promote yourself as a one-trick pony
Adaptability is crucial in today’s rapidly changing digital environment, especially for developers who must accept language neutrality. The days of promoting oneself solely as a “C# developer” or “Java specialist” are over. Even though your particular tastes and specialties still set you apart, the trick is to use them to your advantage rather than against you. Now, to slightly refocus your attention, as a software developer you could work as an expat in a different country. For example, a software developer salary in Argentina ranges from $21,676 to $82,530, depending on experience, geography, and particular work positions. In Argentina, many expats and nomads manage to live quite comfortably on $1000 to $1,300 per month.
Employers prefer engineers who are competent at learning new skills and receptive to doing so. Being able to see a variety of high-caliber work on GitHub is a terrific approach to prove this.
2. Recognize the fundamentals
Understanding how to program is different from knowing a programming language. The core of what it means to be a great developer is the capacity to see issues and picture attractive solutions. No matter how complex the answer is, an algorithm developer should be able to design it on a whiteboard and explain it to the intern in simple terms. An algorithm is fundamentally a logic issue. Frameworks, languages, and other tools can be mastered in due time, but any problem must first be solvable in the abstract.
3. It’s excellent to learn a framework, but even better to master the underlying language
Even well-known frameworks like Ruby on Rails come and go. While most large-scale web apps will likely use Rails, there are occasions when a quicker, lighter framework like Sinatra or Volt might save time while still providing more than enough functionality. The ability to switch between frameworks is greatly facilitated for developers by trying to understand Ruby or any other base language.
4. Spread out among the layers
Whether it’s still possible to be a productive full-stack developer is up for debate. However, the gap between the client and server sides has significantly shrunk as a result of the growth of the DevOps culture and the spread of Platform as a Service (PaaS) products like Heroku and Amazon’s Elastic Beanstalk. Nowadays, professionals are rarely used for tasks like supplying new server capacity because they can be largely automated using cloud services. Learning about a few is undoubtedly an excellent idea.
At the same time, PaaS is not a justification for lacking a fundamental understanding of the OS kernel. Even though something is automated, it still has the potential to malfunction. And when it happens, somebody better be able to spot the problem and fix it.
5. Know where technology is headed
Choosing a specialty is like making a wager on the direction of technology. In the same way that becoming a system administrator today will probably result in a dead-end career, becoming a mainframe developer 15 years ago would have been a short-sighted decision.
Analyze the direction that technology is taking. Platform-specific languages like Swift are popular right now, but as apps become more and more web-based, Swift will likely be limited to niche applications like mobile game development, with HTML5 and other cross-platform languages taking over for the rest.