Tips to Improve Your Career As a Developer

Before you can become a better developer, you have to understand what a developer does. No one is born with a gift for coding—it takes practice, hard work, and an in-depth understanding of the software engineering process to become a successful coder. If you're looking to leverage your coding ability as a career change or simply to increase your skill level, you might want to learn more about becoming a better developer. This guide will help get you started on the right track by breaking down the nine essential abilities of a good developer.
What Is a Good Developer?
A good developer is someone who solves problems and comes up with solutions based on the knowledge they have. The key elements of a developer’s job are creativity, consistency, and logic. Creativity is the ability to come up with solutions that others might not have considered. Consistency means the ability to deliver results according to plan. And logic means knowing where the results come from and why they happen the way they do.

Focus on your core competency

The best developers are those who can truly know their core competency. If you can’t explain how you do something, then you probably shouldn’t be doing it. There are many ways to go about this, but the simplest way is to take a look in a mirror and really examine what you’re doing. Ask yourself: What problem am I trying to solve? What problem is my product trying to solve? What problem is my code trying to solve? Make sure you’re honestly and completely focused on the problem you believe you can solve. As a developer, this is the most important step you can take.

If you’re not focused on solving a specific problem, then you’re probably spending too much time doing things that don’t have a direct bearing on your core competency. This could be anything—codeanalysis, reviewing code, writing tests, etc.—even things that are tangentially related. If you spend your time looking for problems that don’t exist, then you’re unlikely to grow as a developer.

Problem Solving

As a developer, you’re likely involved in a project that involves some problem solving. Whether it’s figuring out how to implement a new feature, create a new tool, or perform a certain step in an analysis process, problem solving always comes into play. A key skill for a developer is problem solving. By identifying and solving problems, you show yourself to be a thinking, analytical person who can plan and implement solutions.

Software Architecture

Every software project has a software architecture. This plan details the relationships between the various layers of code—the object, the data, and the program code. A software architecture shows the designers where the code will go and helps them decide how to structure the code so that it works as intended.

Data Structures & Algorithms

Data Structures and Algorithms are the building blocks of every application. You need to understand how these work in order to create and manage data. You also need to understand how algorithms work so that you can create and manage algorithms. These are the building blocks of modern technology such as AI, machine learning, and natural language processing. Understanding these components of data is key to understanding how algorithms work and can help you create better algorithms in the future.

Object-Oriented Approach

One of the most useful skills for any developer is an object-oriented mindset. This means that you’re interested in the parts and not the whole. In other words, you want to understand the logic behind the functionality rather than the functionality itself. An object-oriented approach to software development helps you focus on the functionality and leaves you room for improvement. This is because the logic is contained within the objects and is therefore independent from the way the application works.

Follow regular feedback loops

Feedback is an important part of any developmental process. You get feedback on how your code works, what aspects of it don’t work as intended, and how you can improve. This is especially important when you’re just getting started as a developer because you don’t know what you don’t know. Unfortunately, most developers don’t follow regular feedback loops. It’s human nature to gloat when things go well, to point fingers when things go wrong, and to rush to conclusions before taking the time to review things carefully. This leads to bad decisions and misspecified code. Regular feedback loops let you know what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong, which can help you identify and correct any issues early on.

Learn a New Skill or Language

For many, learning a new skill or language is a daunting task. It might seem easier to learn to ride a bike or cook eggs than it is to pick up a new language. The good news is, there are plenty of resources to help! You can head to your local library or bookstore and check out books on a variety of topics. You can also look online, as there are always resources to help you out. You can check out online courses, language schools or even try your luck in an online dictionary class. Even if you’re not fluent, it’s still possible to pick up a few phrases here and there.


Developers need to network. They need to know how to get in touch with other developers and find new opportunities to learn. Networking is crucial to any career and can improve your chances of getting a job offer or promotion. Networking also helps you find potential customers, clients, partners or suppliers. Look for opportunities to network at developer events, meetups, trainings and conferences. Build a few contacts and you’ll be surprised how quickly you can expand your horizons.

Be persistent and set deadlines

If you’ve been working as a developer for a while and have yet to get your next career opportunity, it’s likely that you haven’t set realistic goals for yourself. It’s easy to set goals for other things in life but when it comes to your career, you need to be realistic. There is no point setting realistic goals for something you know you won’t do well. Instead, set goals that are easier to achieve and are more achievable. If you want to get your first job in programming, set a goal of getting an entry-level job within 6 months and work towards promotions or assignments that would increase your salary by 50%. If you want to get your first job in sales, set a goal of getting a sales representative position within 6 months and work towards assignments that would increase your salary by 50%. If you want to advance your career in your current job, set a goal of getting promoted within 6 months and work towards assignments that would increase your salary by 50%.

Apply What You’ve learned

You’ve just found a new career and are excited to get started. It’s great to have skills and experience but it’s even better to use those skills and acquire that experience the right way. To apply what you’ve learned, read through the code of a project you’re working on and look for ways to apply what you’ve learned. If you’re not sure where to start, look through code samples, read through documentation and get in touch with the project leads if you need help. When you’re ready to put in the work, don’t be afraid to ask other developers for help. Ask on social media or in the comments section below.

Take Care of Your Mental, Physical and Emotional Well-Being

As a developer, you’ll spend the majority of your day working with computers. Computer work can be very physical and requires the use of your hands. Unfortunately, computer work can be very emotional and can cause anxiety and stress. To protect yourself from having a heart attack, stroke or other major illness, you need to take care of yourself. Go to a yoga class, take a daily walk and keep your diet healthy. If you’re not eating well, your mental and physical health will follow. Make an effort to take care of yourself and you’ll be amazed how better your mood will be and how your work will feel more rewarding.


Becoming a better developer takes consistent effort, but it can be done. The key to success is to find a few primary areas of weakness and work on improving those areas. Once you have a better understanding of how a developer works and what techniques will help you improve, it’s time to get started.
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