What makes a good software developer? I've been thinking about this question quite a lot in the past few years, even more so recently since I've been involved in interviewing candidates.
Many people with much larger brains than myself have written about this, but here's my take. Knowledge and experience are very important. I could make a list of technical skills I think are essential for a job on the team I am currently part of. If someone else were to write a similar list I've no doubt it would be different. This is why I think knowledge and experience definitely play a big part in what makes a good developer but it's a good attitude that is key.
What constitutes a good attitude? Here are a few things that I believe are important:
- Enjoyment - You must enjoy creating software. This is absolutely fundamental. It's impossible to be good at something you don't enjoy
- Learning/self improvement - I'm not saying you need to spend hours reading books or creating software in your own time, although that will get you far, I mean at the very least take time to improve at work. Identify weak skills, learn from more experienced colleagues, read blogs when you have ten minutes spare
- Caring - Please give a crap! Care about writing good code, care about coming up with the best solution possible, don’t settle for the first idea that pops into your head. Care about your team, care about your culture, care about everything!
- Be open to new ideas - Don't reject something simply because it's new, you don't know much about it or it's not the way you’ve always done things
- Take responsibility - Don't just complain about problems or leave them for others to fix, take action
- Simply doing what you've been asked to do is not enough - Typically companies want developers to build features and fix bugs as fast as possible. Unfortunately a codebase is like a car, it needs servicing, regularly, otherwise small problems become big problems. A good developer will identify and fix these problems