From ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’, to‘7 Habits of Highly SuccessfulPeople’, self-help success books are EVERYWHERE. And yet you don’t need two weeks and 500+ pages to learn how to achieve success as a software engineer.
Success, at its heart, is really very simple – and the most common qualities of successful software engineers are pretty much universal.
Just who is a successful software engineer and what do they look like?
To understand success, first we must look to the things that motivate us to be engaged at work…
27% are motivated by more opportunities in general, 20% are drawn to development opportunities and training and 15% see it as flexibility within their role
It’s clear - being successful isn’t all about pay and perks. For most people, career success is defined by more responsibilities, a healthier work-life balance, and freedom and flexibility.
Ultimately, success is however you define it. Which makes this the perfect time to touch upon goals, before we dig into the ten characteristics of a highly successful software engineer.
Goals (Hint: set them)
S.M.A.R.T. It’s overused, and often maligned as something straight from the book of David Brent management. But setting up career targets that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time bound is ESSENTIAL if you’re to secure your vision of success.
Are you destined for success? Here are the ten qualities that say you are (and if you don’t have them yet, set a goal to tick off each quality one by one)…
So you may need a Starbucks or three to get going on a Monday, but the important point is that you don’t merely turn in for the money. You’re motivated by project progress, by the next big stumbling block and finally (finally) wiping that bug off the face of the earth.
When you’re tasked with creating code for the latest business app, you don’t simply get on with it. Already the cogs are whirling as to the purpose it will serve and why the app is needed in the first place. This means that you actively make suggestions about what you’re doing – sometimes questioning why, and other times putting forward fresh ideas.
You could be the most talented software engineer in the world, without self-discipline, even the lesser of projects will rapidly fall behind.
Self-discipline means never sacrificing code quality for speed, always being ‘in the room’ and having tactics in place for staying on-project (such as using the pomodoro technique or switching off your email).
There’s no such thing as pride in this job – and you’re forever overcoming problems faster and more effectively exactlybecause you reach out to those online and the engineers around you. Stack overflow, Google and techy forums are often the richest resources of help.
You then take the advice you’ve been given – perhaps a few lines of code – and customise it to fit, perfectly, into your programme.
Never one for getting side-tracked, distracted or overwhelmed with a problem, you’re usually as cool as a cucumber in the face of adversity. While all hell may be breaking loose over in Admin, or with Jim and Jane over on the next desk grouping, you don’t notice. You are set on the goal of the project. You also avoid chasing features or functionality that aren’t necessary for the task at hand (otherwise known as bells and whistles).
If ever there’s a profession in which you must continually learn, adapt and evolve, it’s the profession of a software engineer. At the core of this constant progression, is having a healthy relationship with criticism – and turning it into a chance for self-improvement. There’s no room for egos here.
There are some skills that are essential to success no matter the industry and regardless of the level of job role. Dignity, respect for clients and colleagues, punctuality, working to deadlines and great communication skills are all non-negotiables.
You wouldn’t be happy being in the same role simply creating the same app or platform over and over.You yearn to not just earn, but learn new skills in the process.
Sound like you? Then you’re probably someone who’s always got a new out-of-hours project to work on – the kind that pushes your abilities and expands your knowledge base.
You’re always open to new languages, concepts, trends and technologies – and when you find something good, you can be damn certain that you’ll apply it to the next relevant problem.
Last but certainly not least - you are an exceptional problem solver. It’s often the difference between a mediocre coding solution, and one that improves upon the deliverables.
We place promising software engineers who are destined for BIG things in companies where they can thrive. Ready to discover that next rung of the career ladder?