When people think of software developers and programmers, they often imagine them spending all their time writing code. The problem is, it’s an incredibly outdated perception. The fact is that developers actually spend a lot less of their time coding than you’d think. The rest of the time, developers are involved in software design, architecting, meetings, testing, investigating security issues, resolving bugs, sharing ideas and collaborating, to name but a few. The fact is that software development involves a huge range of skills, including the ability to continually evolve and adapt.
What Core Skills Do Software Developers Need?
While software development is more than just writing code, developers do, of course, need to know how to code and be proficient in a range of programming languages; coding is one of the most basic skills required. However, the further developers progress into their careers, the less time they’ll probably spend coding. Senior engineers often spend the majority of their time designing solutions, identifying risks and reviewing other developers’ work. To enable this career progression, developers need to have a range of skills, including the following:
- Problem-Solving Skills – software developers must have strong problem-solving skills to identify and resolve complex issues in their code.
- Attention to Detail – even small mistakes in software code can have significant consequences, so attention to detail is crucial for software developers.
- Communication Skills – software developers often work in teams and need to communicate effectively with other developers, project managers, and clients.
- Analytical Skills – software developers must be able to analyse large amounts of data and information to develop effective software solutions.
- Creativity – software development involves designing innovative solutions to complex problems, so creativity is essential.
- Time Management Skills – software developers must be able to manage their time effectively to meet project deadlines.
- Continuous Learning – technology is constantly evolving, so software developers need to be committed to continuous learning and skill development to keep up with industry changes.
How Have New Technologies Changed Software Development?
As well as the discipline requiring a huge range of skills and the ability to perform a variety of tasks, technology itself has had a huge impact on how software developers spend their time. With the advanced technology that developers now have at their disposal, they no longer need to spend days on end knocking out lines of code. There are several technologies that have reduced the amount of code that software developers need to write, including the following:
- Low-Code Platforms – low-code development platforms provide pre-built components, templates, and drag-and-drop interfaces. This allows developers to focus on the core business logic and functionality rather than spending time writing repetitive code. Low-code platforms also often have built-in automation and integration capabilities, further reducing the need for manual coding.
- Code Generators – code generators are tools that automatically generate code based on specific inputs or configurations. By removing the need for developers to write code manually, especially when it comes to repetitive tasks, code generators can significantly reduce the time and effort required to develop software and ensure consistency and accuracy in the generated code.
- Development Frameworks – development frameworks provide a pre-built set of tools, libraries, and features that can be used to streamline the software development process. These frameworks often include reusable code components and pre-configured settings that can reduce the amount of code a developer needs to write.
- Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) – APIs provide pre-built functions and modules that can be easily integrated into software applications. This allows developers to focus more on the core functionality of their application and rely on existing APIs for common tasks such as database management, payment processing, or social media integration.
- Dynamic Languages – dynamic languages have reduced the amount of code required for software development through their concise syntax and built-in libraries. These languages have powerful features that simplify common tasks, such as string manipulation and file handling, which would require significantly more code in traditional languages.
- Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) – IDEs provide features such as code completion, syntax highlighting, and code refactoring. These tools automate many repetitive tasks and offer suggestions to developers as they write code, which can save time and reduce errors.
- Package Managers – package managers have simplified the process of adding and managing dependencies in software development. Rather than manually downloading and configuring libraries and dependencies, developers can simply declare their dependencies in a configuration file and let the package manager handle the rest.
These technologies have made software development faster and more efficient, allowing developers to focus on higher-level tasks and improving the overall quality of their code. The fact is that a lot of coding has become automated and more time can be devoted to planning, designing and innovating.
Do Your Developers Have What it Takes?
A development team needs so much more than coding skills. If you’re looking for a software development team, you need to know that they have the coding know-how but also the ability to be analytical and creative and to communicate effectively. By understanding and leveraging advanced technology, developers can speed up the development process and use their skill set for a higher level of work, advanced logic and innovation. Meanwhile, working with a team who are able to communicate effectively and collaborate with you will help ensure that your software applications meet both functional requirements and your business needs. You could look for a developer who’ll just code all day long, but you’ll be missing a big part of the picture. Thinking, researching, testing and collaborating are fundamental parts of the development process and are skills that every developer should have.