Software developers are in high demand. With a 17% increase in demand for software engineers, top tech firms in the U.S. are willing to pay upwards of $150,000 for a competent software developer.
There’s no doubt that software developers are the lifeline of a successful company. But what makes a good software developer?
If you’ve found yourself in a managing position, you’ll know how hard it is to find a developer that is the right fit for your company. Some top CEOs agree that a good software engineer isn’t someone who can just write good code but also understand their company goals.
Although there is no one size fits all, there are some software developer qualities that most agree on when they’re looking for a new employee.
In this article, we’ll discuss the five best software developer qualities to look for in a remote candidate and discuss how to find the right one for your company.
Top 5 Qualities of Remote Software Developers
Many top software engineers don’t solely rely on their programming skills and have soft skills that make them a valuable asset for any team. Choosing a skillful engineer with at least 3 of the five attributes we discuss below will help you rest assured that they will be a good choice.
Experience and Intuition
When looking at a candidate’s CV, the first thing most HR managers look for is their experience. This is without question, as it’s usually an excellent way to evaluate their performance and see if they fit the job description.
However, certain things go beyond a degree and a higher GPA score. It’s possible to summarize the experience of a software developer in terms of job experience, expertise in programming languages, and knowledge of full-stack web development.
When looking for a candidate, you need to ensure you’re employing someone with real-world experience—looking at their previous history of jobs, roles, and experience with other companies.
Look for things like:
- How long have they been in the field of software development?
- What companies have they worked for, and are they well-known?
- What kinds of projects have they completed? Are they related to your company’s offerings?
- Which tech stack do they work with, and does it align with the industry standard? Etc.
It’s essential to look into a candidate's job experience to understand how well they know common obstacles and problems a business may face. If a prospect has relative experience in the software space, it can give you a good idea of their ability to solve challenges, how well they handle pressure, and if they can reach deadlines.
Onboarding an experienced software developer will help reduce the disruption of a new employee joining the team. They'll adjust easily if they have experience working in a collaborative environment.
Expertise in Programming Languages
One thing that separates junior software developers from seniors is their expertise and knowledge of programming languages. Some of the most successful developers have a firm grasp of programming languages. They know which language is best for which kind of task makes them a great problem solver and brings newer perspectives to the company.
This doesn’t mean that a developer has to be an expert in every language. Instead, they should have a clear idea of the fundamentals of popular programming languages, their purpose, and when it would make sense to use them. Sometimes it may be necessary to know about a language to determine whether its use would benefit the company.
Knowledge of Full Stack Development
Full stack development consists of both the front- and back-end of an app or site. Typically you’ll need a separate developer for the front-end responsible for the user interface and another for creating the back-end, which focuses on the server-side logic and workflow.
However, when looking for a software developer, you need to ensure they have a good idea of both the front-end and back-end despite their specialization in only one. This understanding helps developers better comprehend end-to-end applications, which results in effective collaboration with the entire development team.
Not only will they have the added advantage of knowing about end-to-end applications, but they may be more capable of jumping in when a problem occurs. This can lead to newer solutions and overall better productivity as the developer can pinpoint issues outside of his specialization.
Interest in Learning
Technology and software are constantly evolving. For software developers to stay updated on the latest trends, knowledge, and information, they need to be willing to learn more about their field continually.
If a developer is just focused on the job for the money, they may be driven by something other than exploring new possibilities and processes. This usually stops their progression in the field and makes them the same as “any other developer.”
Developers who try to learn new things, read the documentation, and follow software industry experts can come up with out-of-the-box solutions.
This kind of positive attitude towards learning makes these developers stand out from the huge sea of software engineers and come up with solutions to newly presented problems.
Many successful software engineers are always curious about newer concepts and experimenting with how things operate. Curiosity indicates a candidate is open to learning and implies that they are more open-minded and flexible to new perspectives.
This promotes an innovative and collaborative environment where developers can work together to find out-of-the-box solutions. This can lead to the creation of custom software to solve problems and more productive brainstorming sessions.
Good Communication Skills
Apart from having vast technical knowledge, great developers are known to be effective communicators. Software developers are usually part of a team and must be in touch with stakeholders, including business executives and end-users.
Since software development is a technical field, good communication skills can help convey information without misunderstanding. This makes the whole process flow much smoother and allows the team to collaborate better.
In software development, coding errors and misinformation occur more frequently than not, so communication skills could be a valuable attribute to find in a candidate.
As mentioned earlier, technology keeps on evolving. What’s popular now may not be popular tomorrow.
With new frameworks, algorithms, libraries, and programming languages released yearly, adaptability becomes a sought-after skill for every software developer. While amateur developers stress over the release of a new tool, great software engineers look at it as an opportunity to progress and evolve their skills.
Learning to be flexible and adapt to changes is an indicator of a skillful developer. Not only are they on top of every programming language, but they’re also great problem solvers who can quickly think of solutions when something goes wrong during development.
Being a quick learner has the added perk of making a person adaptable to most situations. Software developers tend to be better learners than most professionals in other industries. According to a LinkedIn survey, software engineers tend to spend most of their time learning, with 48% of them learning a new skill recently compared to 36% of other industries.
When interviewing potential candidates, ask them when was the last time they came across a new concept, what recent project they worked on, and if they acquired any skills recently. This will give you an idea of their learning capability.
Having a quick learner as part of your company will make them more flexible and adaptable to changes. Since they have technical skills and an interest in learning, they’ll quickly jump in when anything goes wrong or someone needs help.
Discipline and Punctuality
Software engineers are expected to follow specific rules and guidelines to ensure their code is clean, functional, and readable. This makes it crucial to be disciplined in the software development industry.
Disciplined developers must ensure they write code that meets industry standards by complying with set standards, following best practices, creating documentation, remembering the principles, and testing/debugging their code.
They cannot just put everything in place and hope it works. Writing clean code is becoming vital for engineers, as messy code tends to be less readable, ineffective, and difficult to diagnose if something needs to be fixed.
Software developers take on a lot of rigorous tasks that require them to work day and night on the computer. That’s why most developers swear by a proper routine that allows them to get up early in the morning and start working at their most productive times.
Those working an in-office role are often more serious about arriving at the office on time. It can be an issue for some remote workers to maintain an effective schedule and remain punctual with the required office hours.
To get an idea of their punctuality, you can look at their record of completed projects and reached deadlines to give you an idea of how they manage to get things done.
A person may be disciplined and punctual, but it wouldn’t mean much if they didn’t manage to get things done on time. Productivity is an essential skill to have as it maximizes the value you get from an employee.
Developers might be notorious for wasting time on minor details or finding and diagnosing errors in their code. However, productive developers would make the most of their time by knowing which problems are worth looking into and which aren’t.
Also, if they have experience in the industry and have worked on multiple projects, they would be more efficient in finding and solving errors while making the most of their time and resources.
Software engineers usually take on tasks that make up most of their work. Knowing how to manage their time and prioritizing tasks with proper task management is crucial for them to complete work on time while maintaining their productivity.
Experienced developers might habitually schedule their tasks and time-box activities to ensure they don’t miss any deadlines.
Time management may look different for each individual, so it might be wise to ask how a prospect manages their time and discuss the techniques they use to stay productive.
You’ll never find a senior software developer spending 30 minutes of his day figuring out what to do and when to start working. The top devs have a daily to-do list, enabling them to start working without wasting time.
Commitment to the Organization
Software development constantly evolves with newer, intriguing concepts and tools. You’ll often find software developers reading about a new API that has just been released or a new code library that’s gaining much attention.
It’s natural to be interested in new things in your field; however, it shouldn’t get in the way of what matters: helping the organization achieve its goals.
For most developers, it can be easy to get lost in the array of new possibilities and curiously experiment with a new tech stack or language. But, if newer perspectives, ideas, and tools don’t align with company goals or ineffectively use up resources, they may not fit the overall business strategy.
To counter this, top software engineers find a middle ground where they try out new things while staying true to the purpose of their role in the company. This requires a commitment to the organization as you’d have to ensure your team is achieving the company's goals alongside their own goals.
How to Find a Software Developer That is the Perfect Fit for Your Company
We’ve discussed the five best qualities you can find in a remote software developer, but how and where do you start looking?
Finding the right person for your company can be like finding a needle in a haystack. There are countless developers out there, but only a few would possess the skills you would need to achieve your company’s goals.
It can be an exhaustive process with a lot of trial and error to find the right software engineer for a company. Also, using a traditional scouting and recruiting process may contribute to increased HR costs and require you to read through endless job applications.
If you wish to find a software developer without stress, Talentcrowd offers business owners and managers an alternative solution.
With Talentcrowd, you can easily find clients from our handpicked selection of highly capable talent. All you’d have to do is tell us about your company and the kind of talent you’re looking for. Then wait for a list of candidates willing to be a part of your team!
Get started for free with Talentcrowd today by clicking here.