By February 3, 2020

5 Signs You Should Become a Software Developer

Why do you want to become a software developer? There are many possible reasons, particularly if you have an aptitude for software development.

Software engineering is a profession that is growing rapidly. There is always a demand for new software, as websites and applications for a multitude of companies and products are being created all the time. By becoming involved with this profession, you are ensuring that your profession will be in high demand.

The employment of software developers is forecast to grow 21% from 2018 to 2028 according to the US BLS data. This is faster than the average of most other professions.

Software engineers will be needed to respond to the scaling demand for computer software. That’s a comfort in a time when some jobs are being phased out due to automation and professional landscapes that are changing rapidly.

It’s clear that software engineering is a great job with a good future, but how do you know if it's the right job for you?

Signs You Could Be a Good Software Engineer

There are some clear signs that programming might be a smart career path for you to explore. Here we will discuss what personality characteristics you should have to start your career path as a software engineer.

As you read through this list, ask yourself if what I describe sounds like you. If you have most of these traits, or you want work on the improving them for the future, you have a great chance of succeeding in software engineering. Let’s dig deeper!

You Can Teach Yourself

The choice to pursue computer programming often comes from a strong desire to learn on one’s own. Most programmers don’t learn their job skills just by sitting in a classroom. Instead, they teach themselves in the privacy of their homes, sitting in front of a computer.

Software companies look for developers who already know the basics. Those are practical things such as universally-known programming languages and how to utilize their various features. If you expect to get hired by a company and for someone to teach you as you go, you’re probably going to be disappointed.

The reality is that you need to be a highly self-taught person. Before you start your first job, you should prepare yourself to learn the ropes on your own. Your colleagues will probably be overwhelmed with their own work and won’t have time to teach you every time you don’t know something.

Various projects require different knowledge and skillsets. Thus, a good tip for you before you start working for a company with real-world clients, is that you should spend time teaching yourself the various facets of engineering.

You might try to build a program, application, or software by yourself in the field you'd like to focus on, like web development oriOS or Android apps. This is a good way to learn how to code effectively and get your first example into your developer portfolio.

One more possible way to start coding is to apply to be a trainee software engineer.

You need to have an enduring ability to self-educate. You must learn new things constantly and improve your skills daily.

The term autodidact means you can on your own. It is used a lot in academia, but it applies here as well.

The best software engineers are almost always autodidacts. Thus, the more you study programming languages and practice, the better prepared you will be when you start job hunting.

You Have Infinite Patience

Company heads who do the hiring usually assess the temperament of the individual in question. To be a coder, you need to be stable. You can’t be someone who flies off the handle when things don’t go exactly as planned.

Programming is about near-constant adjustment. You need to be able to problem-solve on the fly. You must be persistent in working toward achieving your goals while on a project. That is because your success is often going to be your team’s success, and you rise and fall together. You gain the esteem and trust of a client through your collective accomplishments, not individually.

Software development can be quite frustrating. Documentation might be outdated or wrong. A previous programmer whose work you are continuing might have written unreadable code. Your superiors might have rules in place that you feel are counterproductive or myopic.

However, no one wants to work with someone who has unpredictable mood swings, curses under their breath or has loud outbursts. You need to be in a permanent state of Zen to be a programmer, particularly in an office environment.

If you are not about a natural balance and calm, then you’ll need to work on it. You might need to take up an exercise regimen to help you blow off steam. You could take a martial art or learn to meditate. You should spend time with your family and friends as well to keep everything in perspective. The more stable you are at work, the more you will be appreciated.

If you are the kind of person who can’t avoid getting upset easily because of an unexpected setback or failure, then programming might not be for you. Remember that there aren’t any born programmers. It is a skill that takes time to learn, and there are other aspects of it besides the technical skill that forms its foundation.

You are Open to and Respond Well to Constructive Criticism

The best coders are those who handle criticism well, assuming it is well-meant and constructive. You also need to be able to accept the thoughts and ideas of others.

That is particularly true if you work for a company as one cog in a larger mechanism. It is the rare coder that works entirely on their own, so sharpening your listening skills is something that will behoove you as you try to get hired.

As I mentioned, problems in coding come up often, and you must be ready for constant adjustments. Someone with whom you are working might have a different solution for an issue than what you might have wanted to try. Remember that new technologies are always coming to market, and fresh techniques are always being developed.

When you want to become a developer and work in a team, be prepared for them to have different ideas on how to handle problems. You must learn to accept that your way of doing things is probably not the only way. Learn how to both take advice and dispense it when it is clear that your opinion can be valuable.

If you can be open-minded to different ideas and accept solutions from other people, programming might be a good career for you.

Take Pride in the Products You Develop

Some programmers who work for companies and don’t have any emotional investment in the products that they bring to the market. They don’t care about what their team produces, as long as they get a paycheck. You may be able to act that way for a while, but it is not sustainable.

You might be working on creating something, and you don’t have the most enthusiasm for it. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take pride in your work. You are still taking part in the act of creation.

You’re bringing something into the world that didn’t exist before, and what you are bringing forth is going to make a difference to the people who use it. Just keep in mind that the product you will develop will help people solve a problem.

So, be enthusiastic about your job and try to look at products from different sides as an engineer, owner, and user.

If you are starting your job, then try to treat each project you develop as your own and share a common responsibility for your work.

Why I Love Being a Programmer: It’s All About Being a Team Player

Why are you interested in programming? Before, we spoke about the collaborative nature of the work. It requires strong team cooperation and you need to be an active team player.

From my own experience of being a developer and now managing my company’s software development team, I have met a lot of different programmers. And one thing that is common about all of them is that the best developers are those who come to work every day intent on helping their coworkers.

The key to success as a team and as an individual developer is the ability to cooperate. Be a team player, and don’t try to isolate yourself from others when you start working with a team. When someone comes up to you with a problem, be the person who thinks creatively and proposes a workable solution. Try to avoid getting into a negative mindset.

Why become a programmer? Well, do you like helping others? If so, you’ll find that your mindset rubs off on other people you work with.

Coding is not a job for pessimists.

Those sorts of individuals get rooted out early on in the process because they are such a drain on the rest of the team. Remember that you are all working toward the same goals. You want to satisfy your clients, but you also want to do well for each other.

In that respect, a software development team is much the same as a sports team. You’re striving for excellence to make each other proud. It is not unusual for coders who work together on multiple projects to become dedicated friends who spend time with each other away from work. That is because when you create something special, it’s easy to take pride in it.

Be ready to learn from your coworkers and have them learn from you. If someone on your team needs help with something, you should be the first to volunteer. If you need help, don’t be afraid to ask for it, either.

Individual pride should take a backseat when you’re coding with a team. The result, the finished product, should be more important than what you go through to produce it.

A Few Signs that Being a Programmer is Not for You

After reading about what makes a good coder, you might be wondering about signs indicating that this job is not for you. Essentially, the signs of a bad programmer are the inversion of everything listed above.
For instance, if you don’t have the people skills to work as part of a team, then there’s no shame in that. Some people work better on their own; they just don’t often become coders. There are going to be other professions to which you are better suited.

Additionally, if you are not a patient person, that can be a real impediment for you. If you don’t look at yourself as a creative problem solver, then you’ll want to investigate other paths.

Above all else, the time that you must face that you were not meant to be a programmer is when you discover that you don’t have the mental or physical acuity for the work. It’s not as though being a programmer is like being a basketball player. You don’t need a great jump shot or rebounding skills.

Still, you must be able to think quickly, and you need to train your fingers and hands to respond with great rapidity.

If you find that you’re someone who doesn’t have the hand-eye coordination to be a programmer, then you may be frustrated or disappointed, especially if it is something on which you had your heart set. The fact is, though, that if you can’t train yourself physically to follow your own mental commands, you’re not going to have the speed and dexterity that are prerequisites for the job.

Is Software Engineering for You?

I hope, after reading this article you now understand a bit more about the job of a software engineer, whether it is right for you, and whether or not you have the personal traits to become a good professional.

Of course, if you don’t have a skill I mentioned, that doesn’t mean that your doors in software engineering are closed. Instead, you should work on those skills that might be helpful for you when becoming a developer.

One thing is certain, though: This is a profession that attracts strong passion and the ability to self-teach and be a good team-player.

I wish you strength and patience on your career path! You might just turn into the best developer.

About the author

Slava Vaniukov

Slava Vaniukov, Co-Founder and CEO at Softermii, has over 9-years of experience in the web and mobile development industry as a Software Architect. After getting extensive experience as a Senior Tech Lead and Mentor with the focus on MVP development and UX/UI design, Slava joined forces with like-minded professionals to start his own company. Besides that, he is one of the authors at the Softermii blog and tech blogger featured at a wide range of other web resources.