What separates a well-rounded developer from a tacky one is the skills they possess and have honed.
The tech industry is a fast-paced one that’s highly competitive and is in demand these days.
If you’re a developer, whether a computer science graduate, student or even self-taught, there are a couple of skills that are a must-have to qualify you as a developer.
In this post, we’d cover 11 technical skills that not only give you an edge as a developer but, also guarantee a secure career in software development. Let’s dive right in!
Must-Have Technical for a Developer
1. Programming Languages
This one is pretty obvious. As a developer, you need to have a command of at least 1 programming language.
Of course, the language depends on your area of interest as different roles require different languages.
Whatever your area of interest might be, it’s important to have an in-depth understanding of at least one programming language.
2. Problem-Solving Skills
While this point may seem like an intangible one, in software development, it is very critical.
Your problem-solving skills as a developer is gauged by your debugging skills.
It’s not news that most developers spend more time debugging than writing actual code. You must know (or learn) a few techniques for debugging.
3. General Algorithm and Data Structure
Knowing how to organize your data using the right data structure will save you time and enable you to write cleaner and better code.
Learning algorithms and data structures is so vital for a developer that it’s almost always included in interview procedures.
4. Text Editors and IDE’s
There are a handful of text editors like Notepad, Vim, etc. that enable you to write your code and run them locally on your computer.
You need to be comfortable with a text editor of your choice as well as an Integrated Development Environment (IDE).
An IDE is a critical tool that boosts your productivity and there are different preferable IDE’s based on which language.
Personally, I’m partial to visual studio code but, it’s not the only option. Here’s a list of IDE’s and the languages and frameworks they support.
5. Git and Github
Two words; Source Control. It cannot be overemphasized how important it is to learn how to use a management tool that keeps track of your code and all your changes.
There are other source control tools but with over 40 million developers using GitHub, according to CEO, Nat Friedman in an interview with TechCrunch and over 190 million repositories as at January 2020, GitHub is the largest and most widely used host of source code in the world.
What I’m trying to say is, you don’t need to search far and wide for what source version control to learn. You just learn basic Git commands and get on GitHub. Here’s a helpful tip: don’t forget to host all your work there.
Having a basic knowledge of database concepts and understanding how to manipulate database queries is a must-have for a developer.
A common question I see is ‘Why SQL?’ There is no database management tool out there that tops SQL.
It is everywhere and that’s for a reason. Here’s a helpful article on all the reasons why SQL is old but gold and is a skill with high demand and projected to remain so for a while.
7. Linux Operating System
Just like SQL, Linux OS is everywhere. It’s an open-source operating system which makes it ideal for developers to build reliable and repeatable software.
It’s also important to learn the Linux command line interface not only because it makes the handling of many tasks efficient but, also because it’s needed for Cloud computing.
8. Cloud Computing Skills
Cloud-based storage makes it possible to save files to a remote database and have access to them on demand.
You can learn to work with cloud-native applications like Amazon web service (AWS) or Microsoft Azure as cloud computing is getting more popular in the tech industry because of how convenient it is for storing and retrieving data on demand.
So many large and small companies are turning to cloud-based storage and soon it could become a prerequisite for getting a well-paying software development job.
9. Unit Testing Framework
You need to test your own code.
Knowing how to do this on your own will help you identify problems and make integration and deployment of code easier.
Doing this helps you improve the quality of your code and save yourself from the frustration that comes with finding major bugs in your work when you think it’s ready.
You can search through this list of Software testing tools in 2020 to help you navigate which is best for you.
10. Time Management Skills
Okay technically this one isn’t a technical skill but, it’s so important I had to find a way to include it.
Excellent organization and time management increase your productivity as a developer.
To achieve maximum efficiency, you must learn how to prioritize your tasks and work with a schedule.
A developer without good time management skills is a disaster waiting to happen.
11. Project Management
This doesn’t only come into play when it’s a PM job. The well-rounded developer must learn how to break down his/her own tasks into design, coding, testing, etc.
If you have the ambition to be the Lead on a software development project, this is a skill that is essential for you to acquire.
So there you have it folks, 11 technical skills (well 10 and a half) that you must have as a developer.
Having these skills amongst your skill sets is sure to give you a secure career and growth in the software development field and total confidence in yourself as a well-rounded developer.
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