7 qualities exceptional developers possess

There is a global shortage of developers and with many organisations predicted to expand their digital transformation (DX) teams by two to three times by 2018 (IDC), the war for the ‘exceptional developer’ has begun.

Why is this? Well, as software engineering author Robert. L. Glass once proclaimed, “The best programmers are up to 28 times better than the worst programmers”. But what are the qualities that differentiate your typical developer from an exceptional developer? Liam Grady, development recruitment expert at Networkers shares his top seven qualities of an exceptional developer.


1. Solid technical expertise

A developer at the top of their game will have built an understanding of a variety of different languages and knows the best ones to use to achieve an optimal solution for a particular task. Their code will not only be clear and understandable, but also follow the coding standards. What’s more, they’re professionals who adopt agile development or DevOps to maximise their productivity.


2. Maintains an end user focus

Whilst your typical developer may simply do what is asked of them, no questions asked, an exceptional developer will want to fully understand the business case for the major projects they undertake. This is to ensure that what they’re doing adds value to the end user and ultimately the organisation.


3. Fast self learner

The rate at which new technologies have evolved over the last few years has meant that some developers have fallen behind with the latest trends and best practices. However, those who have spent time learning the latest tools will position themselves ahead of other developers and have the ability to work with greater efficiency, flexibility and accuracy than their peers.


4. Strong communication skills

An exceptional developer asks all the right questions. They understand and break down complex problems and communicate solutions to overcome these in a clear and concise manner to all key stakeholders.


5. Dependable time and task management

An exceptional developer knows how to manage expectations from senior stakeholders, estimating the amount of time needed to complete certain tasks and delivering or exceeding expectations for what they have promised. This is achieved through their reliable time and task management and their wealth of experience.


6. A Good team player

There are some great developers out there that have the technical expertise. However, this can often be retained knowledge that never gets shared. An exceptional developer shares their knowledge and best practice to upskill their team. They offer teammates help when they face problems that they can’t solve. They may also contribute to the wider development community offering advice on sites such as Stack Exchange and Github.


7. ‘Never say die’ attitude

At some point every developer will come across a problem that they cannot solve. But the best developers (once a business case has been established) will take joy in the challenge and seek new ways to overcome the issue until they have a solution.

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