Given that software engineering is currently the most sought-after profession across the glove, companies everywhere are embracing new, “trendy” technologies to gain a competitive advantage.
If you’re an experienced professional looking for your next code fix, knowing how the most-successful developers function can go a long way in helping you land your dream job.
Remember, honing your technical skills is only the beginning. There are specific processes and habits that high-performing software engineers have been cultivated over a period of time to ensure they consistently create exceptional code. Let’s go over a few of them below:
Ask Stupid Questions
For many people, the fear of asking “a stupid question” prevents them from actually understanding the customer requirements and taking necessary steps to deliver on their day-to-day tasks. They’d rather put their heads down and follow along with the conversation. It’s crucial to know the importance of questioning everything that’s beyond the scope of your prior professional experience. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with not knowing something, and asking for more details.
In today’s rapidly-evolving, technologically-advanced world, you’ll be coming across a never-ending list of technical jargon and relevant acronyms. Remember, the cream of the crop don’t simply along when something doesn’t make sense. They’re more likely to be straight-forward about their doubts and are predisposed to ask questions whenever necessary.
After all, there are technically no stupid questions, when you have the valuable opportunity to learn something new.
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Focus on code documentation and readability
There are lots of ways to ensure that your code is clean code—something that’s easy to read, test and reuse—but regardless of the method, it’s an increasingly vital characteristic of a high-performing software developer.
“When you start coding it is common to begin writing line after line of code into a function that gets bigger and bigger,” says Andrew Magee. He is the Software Development Manager at Enigma Digital, “A function should do one thing and one thing only. If it does more than one thing, it lacks focus.”
Your code should always assign definite, meaningful names to functions and variables—something that’s to do when you’re following a simple rule of thumb.“As a developer you spend more time reading your code than writing it,” Magee advises, “It is important that when you come back to your code weeks after writing it, you can understand quickly and easily what it is meant to do.”
Code refactoring means restructuring (or changing!) your existing code without altering its external behaviour. When working in agile teams, new features and functionalities are being constantly added. As a result, the codebase begins to evolve and grow. Without meticulous refactoring, your code becomes harder to read, maintain and understand.
As a software engineer, make sure you refactor more and refactor often. There are plenty of great automated tests out there to help you create code that doesn’t fall apart easily.
Use Google to their advantage
Don’t confuse tenacity with pride. Software developers who’re known for their programming prowess don’t let their ego hinder their productivity by working relentlessly to finding what’s wrong with their code. Especially, when the solution is literally a few clicks throw away.
“Get good at Googling,” Mendy advises. “Just about every problem in computer programming that you will run into has been solved. Somewhere out there someone has run into the same problem you are having, and they often post their solutions,” says Christopher Mendy, head of developers at Evus Technologies. “It’s the quickest way to learn.”
This step demands humility. Somebody else has probably encountered the same problem as you and came to accept that they’re not the smartest person in the room.
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Know your way around the niche nooks of the internet where like-minded people developers (who’re eager to help!) hang out. StackOverflow, for example. Don’t just go around typing your entire code in the search engine and expect the universe to miraculously drop the solution on your lap. Discover specific keywords that pinpoint the problem with your code, and give them a whirl to see what sticks.
In The End
Good technical skills and professional accolades can only go so far. The end-goal is to not simply look good on paper but to inculcate critical behavioural characteristics that set you apart from the crowd.