7 key traits of a good programmer

7 February 2022

If you have just made the decision to start working in the IT industry, and you want to direct your professional career towards programming, in this article you will learn what the key traits a programmer should have.


  1. Responsibility is the most important feature — When you hand over your work, you must be 100% sure that what you created is perfect and that all parameters and scenarios are at the highest level. The product has to be tested, and you don’t have to worry that the ticket will be returned, and you will make corrections. Your time and people working with you are too valuable to waste on corrections, so you must do your best to do it as best you can. Remember that you get paid for a good, reliable product, and not for correcting what was written incorrectly. We are not talking about errors that even a specialist is not able to catch, the so-called security bugs. It is definitely about errors in data validation or connections between modules and compliance for the final parameters. Perhaps one day the Murphys code will work, because we cannot always predict the operation of the computer, but most of the events can be prevented by diligently writing the code according to our knowledge and experience. A good programmer is defined by: accuracy, diligence and responsibility.
  2. Independence in action and problem-solving — When you create software, sooner or later you will meet with a “surprise”. There are programmers who, when encountering a problem, do not take remedial measures, they only inform about the situation and expect a solution provided on such a basis. Every self-respecting programmer should look for a specific solution after verifying the issue. By acting in this way, he demonstrates his own creativity, initiative and problem-solving ability. If you consider yourself a good encoder, you have to throw out phrases from your dictionary, e.g. I don’t know, you can’t, replace them with the following statements: I’ll find out, we’ll see what can be done. This little change in approach to a given situation will make you gain credibility as a professional programmer. Independence in what you create proves that you are still developing and raising your own qualifications, and the bar goes higher and higher, because you are able to face an increasingly difficult problem.
  3. Be specific — you need to be aware of your strengths and weaknesses. You need to know in which technologies you are already a master and in which you still have something to train yourself. It can be difficult at the beginning of your career, but it is important that you can realistically assess your skills without going to extremes in either direction. You do not have to be an omnibus human and know all technologies, you just need to be an expert in the one you say you know. Your project manager will know what project he can refer you to make the most of your potential. This will definitely translate into better timely implementation of projects.
  4. Don’t be afraid of ignorance — admitting that you don’t know or understand something is not a sin. Better to say it at the beginning than at, say, the fourth meeting to correct the state of the project, because it will save our time. If the programmer does not know or understand the purpose of a given project, and pretends to know what it is about, there are rather poor views of a job well done on the first try. Each subsequent touch-up takes valuable time instead of moving forward with the work. In the name of a rule, there are no stupid questions, only stupid answers, it makes great sense, because the question develops the knowledge gained from the answers obtained.
  1. Self-confidence — you need to be confident in yourself and your abilities. Realizing what we are competent to give a picture of our hard and soft skills and clearly define what we are experts. From the developer’s point of view, it is important to strive for the final stage and be fully aware of the stage at which you are in a given technology. Don’t consider yourself an expert if you know you have any gaps in the matter. Don’t call yourself junior if you have unconscious competence. The most valuable thing is to actually define your knowledge in a given field, then you know where you are and what direction of your professional path to take, and the possible training path. When you are a programmer, self-confidence will allow you not to succumb to pressure to perform a given task within an unrealistic time frame. If you are given a task for which you are given a specific time limit, and you know it is too short to complete it, just say you understand the time pressure and will make every effort to get it done, but you are not guaranteed success. Taking up challenges is interesting, but usually when there is a real possibility of their implementation.
  2. Use templates, but don’t think in a template way — it’s a great approach to the problem. Always try to choose the appropriate solution method according to the size of the event. Sometimes it happens that a method is selected which is inadequate to the whole issue. The developer uses complicated and time-consuming tools to deal with quite a trivial issue, because he wants to demonstrate his skills. Solutions to many problems are ready in the form of libraries or frameworks, you only need to reach for them. Before starting the task, it is worth doing a short research on the existing solutions and then picking the most useful ones.
  3. Take criticism — of course it has to be constructive. As an experienced developer, you realize that the code you created is not always perfect. You cannot assume that the criticism of your work concerns you personally and not what you have been working on. A mistake or even a mistake happens to the best. With constructive and honest criticism, you can learn lessons and develop your skills even further. Take a very light approach to it. There are no programs without bugs, only those with undetected shortcomings

When we calmly analyse everything written above, we can come to the conclusion that all these features apply not only to programmers, but generally every employee from all industries. In order for everything we do at work to be perfect, we need skills. These are hard and soft competences, and they definitely need to balance each other. What if, for example, you speak beautiful, literary Polish, when fear of the audience will not allow you to show how beautifully you recite poetry. Remember that no employer is looking for a genius, but a person who knows his profession can assimilate with the team. The job market is looking for developers who have a business approach to their work and who are able to propose changes at the same time. Do everything in your power to work efficiently and effectively and become the best developer.

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