Four Things That Make Great Developers Great
What is the difference between mediocre developers and great developers?
1. A great developer is empathetic.
Believe it or not, the greatest thing about great programmers (in my opinion) has nothing to do with programming. Whereas a mediocre developer tends to say "That’s stupid, why don’t you just do X?" a great developer says "That might do the job, but I believe there may be better options - tell me what made you choose this route?"
I have worked with developers who pride themselves on being blunt and on “telling it like it is”. These devs drive their coworkers away and have a negative impact on company culture. I use empathy to connect with my coworkers, ask for help, offer advice, and hold conversations towards a common goal. A mediocre developer has little or no empathy and holds arguments with no goal other than “being right” or having “their way”.
2. A great developer learns the language first
3. A great developer is adaptable.
This one sums up a lot of great development traits. A great developer adapts well because he is self-taught, always learning, always willing to stretch and grow, and because he is humble enough to admit that what he did or used in the past did not work perfectly and can be improved in the future.
Further, a great programmer is adaptable because they understand the concepts behind the code and can transfer those concepts and knowledge from one technology to another. I fully believe a great developer can be productive in any code base because at one level or another, every single program ever written boils down to putting pixels on a screen or bits on a storage drive.
4. A great developer is humble
Remember that all developers make mistakes! Great devs willingly admit that their mistakes, and never make the same mistake twice. Great devs ask for advice - and pay attention when it is given. Great devs enjoy the code review as a process to help improve.
More About Great Developers
- Dushyant Sabharwal talks about how not to be a mediocre developer on the HackerNoon blog.
- Read Nikita Sobolev's fantastic "I am a mediocre developer" article in which he reminds us that "not everyone is a ninja/guru/rockstar developer."
- CodeMentor has a great piece about good developers vs. bad developers
- DevSkiller also blogs about qualities of a great developer.