The Crucial Skills Developers Need

There’s more to being an effective developer than simply learning to code. A recent Gartner report highlights some of the other skills you’ll need.

Developers picture from Shutterstock

Gartner analyst Danny Brian suggests that skills needed by modern developers fall into three critical categories: technical skills, interpersonal skills and business skills. Here are some issues to consider when developing skills in each area.

Given the strong demand for basic development skills, enhancing your performance across these areas can considerably enhance your performance, Brian points out:

Many [developers] do not yet realise that they have more to offer their organisations than debugging lines of code. In fact, few back-office contributors in an organisation are better positioned to drive business growth.

Technical Skills

In technical areas, Brian recommends moving from highly specialised knowledge of an individual platform to broader skills within a specific domain. “Modern application developers should be
irreplaceable not for their arcane knowledge, but for their contribution to the team and organisation,” Brian suggests.

That approach also affects the methodologies developers use. Adopting iterative and agile approaches ensures you can roll out new apps more quickly, though you shouldn’t underestimate the cultural shift needed to move from a traditional development paradigm to an agile one.

Interpersonal Skills

The dull cliché about developers is that they’re anti-social and can’t work in teams. The rise in collaboratively-developed software suggests this was always more myth than reality, but that doesn’t mean modern developers can’t learn new skills to interact with their users and managers. “Even for developers lacking in strong leadership skills, developers must be able to effectively communicate simply in order to survive,” Brian writes. “As developers increasingly communicate and collaborate with less technical associates, or work with peers located remotely, the ability to distil difficult technical concepts is as valuable to an organisation’s success as the ability to fix elusive software bugs.”

Business Skills

IT truism 101: it’s not about technology, it’s about the business. Brian offers a very specific suggestion on how to improve your skillset for business purposes: develop your user interface skills.

“Developers should seek to break the stereotype that ‘programmers make terrible designers’,” Nroan suggests. “It’s true that design and UX are deep disciplines in their own right, but just as developers need architectural knowledge in order to make daily coding decisions, they also need a modicum of design sense in order to fill gaps in designs to create solutions that delight users.”

Where would you like to see your skills enhanced? Tell us in the comments.

The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans

Here are the cheapest plans available for Australia’s most popular NBN speed tier.

At Lifehacker, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.