Over the years I have had the great fortune of working with some of the most intelligent and hard-working software developers in the tech industry. As a result of this close proximity, I have learned a great deal about an incredibly wide range of subjects that I have since applied to my own professional responsibilities. Although I have learned countless lessons from software developers, I have identified seven lessons in particular that I feel can be universally applied to any industry and are of value to professionals of all levels of experience.
Adopt a Simple and Straightforward Approach
It is hard to admit it, but we all overcomplicate things from time to time and subject ourselves to needless difficulties as a result. The best software developers start with the simplest working concept before progressing to the more complicated components. This allows the developer to ensure they prioritize the establishment of the key function of the software and then progressively build around that core function until the project is complete.
Develop an Overarching and Comprehensive Strategy
Rather than leaping right into a project and dealing with challenges as they present themselves, software developers take the time to develop an overarching strategy designed to accomplish each and every goal associated with the project in the most efficient manner possible. This saves a great deal of time in the long run and ensures all team members are on the same page at all times.
Incorporate the Most Ideal Tools
Coders and developers seem to understand that the tools at their disposal should never dictate the manner in which they approach the project and instead identify and incorporate the most ideal tools for the specific job at hand. QA testing tools and exploratory testing software may be all that is necessary for one project, but another may require the developer to incorporate a newer or more advanced test case management platform, ALM tools such as JIRA, Continuous Testing tools or even Automation tools to speed up the development process.
Always Be Thorough and Detail-Oriented
In working with software developers for so many years, I have always been surprised by how efficiently and meticulously they are able to complete their work. A thorough and detail-oriented approach is often viewed as requiring a greater investment of time, but those who focus on a thorough approach right from the start — by executing each line of code, for example, or testing each part of the software before testing the software as a whole — ultimately save a great deal of time over the course of a project.
Account for the Unexpected
Delays caused by unforeseen circumstances can lead to total disarray — not to mention an incredible amount of stress — but the best coders exude a sense of calm when these circumstances arise. A patient and exacting approach is often necessary to overcome unexpected challenges, and the most outstanding software developers I have ever worked with have always had a plan in place to deal with just about every possible scenario that might otherwise derail a project.
Never Accept Coincidence As an Explanation
When a new problem arises immediately after some other problem has been addressed, it is all too easy to explain away the new problem as a simple matter of coincidence. In software development, there is always a specific reason for a new problem to arise and it is, therefore, necessary to patiently test and troubleshoot until the cause has been identified and corrected. Chalking a problematic issue up to coincidence will only ensure the problematic issue is allowed to persist and will only lead to greater problems in the future.
Express Gratitude and Share Credit
One of the more delightful aspects of working with a team of exceptional software developers is their willingness to share credit for any accomplishment, and I have always been impressed by their ability to express sincere gratitude for the efforts of fellow team members. Credit should always be given where credit is due, and it is essential that professionals in every industry express gratitude for the contributions made by others if they wish to continue to benefit from those contributions.