7 Traits of Successful Developers

Embody these traits, increase your probability of success

Shubham Pathania
Nov 5 · 5 min read
Code on a laptop
Code on a laptop
Photo by Joshua Aragon on Unsplash.

I have been working as a full-stack developer for the last five years. During that time, I have worked with different types of programmers on existing modules as well as new modules for different products.

Over the years, I have learned a lot of important lessons and gotten the chance to work with some really great programmers. There are some common traits between these people that eventually helped them to succeed.

Today, I am going to share those traits with you. Let’s get started.

1. Coding Is Not the First Priority

Generally, most programmers have this habit of rushing towards coding once they get a problem. When I started my professional career, I was always excited to code. Whenever I used to get a task, I immediately rushed to my editor and started coding.

For this reason, most of the time, my code was buggy. I wasn’t writing the wrong code but writing it without aptly analyzing the requirements first.

One of the most important aspects of programming is not just how you add the code to an application but how you make sure that it won’t break the existing functionality.

One of my senior developers once said, “Programming is an art. Coding is merely 20-30% part of it, and the rest is analysis.”

Even a mediocre programmer can code if they know the answers to what and where. If you give 80% of your time to the proper analysis of the problem, then you will find it easier to code in your remaining time.

2. Know When to Walk Away

In my early days as a software developer, whenever I got stuck somewhere in the code, I constantly looked for a solution. Later on, I realized that it was not the right approach.

Initially, I used to sit for hours in my chair, staring at that screen for a possible solution. After a while, our mind wanders in the same direction as a broken record.

Good programmers know how to avoid that burnout. When they are stuck somewhere, they take a short break. It helps them to look at the problem from a different angle, which possibly leads to a solution.

Everyone needs to press that restart button to function properly. Walking away from that screen sometimes helps you to think better.

3. A Debugger Is Your Best Buddy

I still remember the time when I joined Capgemini as a fresher. My project lead genuinely helped me to grow in my career.

In my first year as a programmer, I used to have a habit of frequently asking my seniors when I got stuck somewhere in the code. Once, my project lead called me during a tea break and told me, “You are doing great. I am happy with your performance and we all are here to help. But don’t expect anyone to spoonfeed you. You won’t learn plenty if you ask for help every time. Try to dive into the problem and struggle for a while.”

I told them that sometimes I found it hard to understand the code.

They gave me a piece of advice that played a vital role in my career growth: “A debugger is your best buddy. It will reflect the actual act of coding. Everyone is guessing until they debug the code.”

If you can master the art of debugging, then no one can stop you from becoming a good programmer. You won’t be dependent on others, and you will be able to understand any application on your own.

4. Document the Code for the Future

I remember the first time I encountered a production bug in one of the tasks that I had completed a few months back.

I thought it would be easier to fix, as I only did those changes, but I was wrong. It took me a couple of hours to understand my previously written code.

That incident taught me a significant lesson: Document the code. Comments are your friends too. They will tell you what you did there in a short, specific manner.

You should always add short and relevant comments to enhance the readability of your code. If all the developers start following this practice, then it can save significant time in the development process.

5. Always Aim for Clean Code

At the beginning of my career, I used to code in a way that somehow worked even if it led to sloppy results. I never knew the importance of clean coding until I worked on maintenance and support projects.

It taught me that developers avoid writing clean code due to deadline pressure or laziness. Either way, it hurts the overall quality of the software.

Every code works — even bad code. The difference between good and bad code is the ability to perform a task more efficiently.

Some developers unknowingly write bad code to save time. But they end up wasting more time, as it creates more bugs that they need to fix later by going back to the same piece of code.

A good programmer always aims for clean code. It is easy to manage. Developers love working with clean code, as it makes it simpler for them to manage the whole application.

6. Never Settle for a Single Solution

Most programmers follow the approach of finding a solution to their problem. Once they reach the solution, they consider it done.

If you want to grow as a programmer, then you should always try to look for more solutions to a single problem.

When you try to find alternate solutions to a problem, then you have options to analyze all those solutions and you can select the most optimized one.

Good programmers always look for more solutions in order to go with the best one. Try to make it a habit. It will help you to write clean, reusable, and optimized code.

7. Increment Your Learning Counter

The most challenging and interesting part of being a programmer is staying up to date. With so many technologies and frameworks emerging every year, it is a bad idea to confine yourself to what is already established.

Programmers need to update themselves — just like their software — to stay relevant in the market.

Good programmers always look out for content to stay up to date. They read different programming blogs, articles, etc.

These days, you can find everything online. Try to make yourself familiar with all the new things coming under your domain. Staying updated will keep you ahead of your competition in the tech industry.

Thanks for reading.

Better Programming

Advice for programmers.

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