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How software developers can accelerate career growth

June 1, 2017 • Opinion, Software

Ross McLaren, redPanda Software Senior Development Manager.

Ross McLaren, redPanda Software Senior Development Manager.

Few could argue that the corporate environment has become an ultra-competitive, high-pressure world. Across industries and within businesses of all sizes, both leaders and employees have to constantly fight for their positions – and be persistent with their ambitions. Within the sphere of enterprise technology, and software development, in particular, the pressure to continually evolve and grow is immense. Enterprise systems and platforms become outdated very quickly, and today’s software developers need the skills and ability to continue to innovate and build agility into every process.

So how does one not only survive, but also continually succeed and produce great outcomes in such a challenging environment? We believe there are three core things that every software developer should be doing to stay relevant and keep expanding.

Be Curious

As an organisation, we look to hire people who are curious and interested in continuous learning. In essence, we are attracted not to what they already know, but to what they want to know. It is usually easy to identify this quality in software developers – they are the people who pursued interesting projects in university; they always have their own pet projects at home; they attend hackathons, events and any type of gathering where new skills and knowledge can be gained and tested.

They are passionate about technology and curious to see where the boundaries of innovation and invention lie at any given moment.

For young graduates and up and coming developers, it is critical to keep expanding your skill set and to look for practical ways to get your hands dirty, so to speak. Dive into projects and always be learning something new.

Look for a Mentor

For software developers at any stage in their careers, but particularly for newcomers, mentorship is essential. Every industry and career path has its challenges and nuances, and it can be immensely valuable to have guidance, as well as a sounding board, as a career kicks off. Mentors can help newbies to integrate into new teams, provide practical insights around best practices, and simply offer advice around conduct and communications in the work environment.

Assigning specific mentors for young developers may not be standard practice in every organisation. It is therefore up to individuals themselves to seek out a suitable mentor and develop a trusting relationship. The feedback loop is beneficial for both parties, as ideas are shared and fresh perspectives emerge.

Develop ‘Soft Skills’

While every software developer certainly needs outstanding technical skills, it is critical to develop the softer, emotional skills as well. Often, this is something that is overlooked when plotting a career path. Within every business, the most successful and engaged employees have developed strong interpersonal skills, and they understand how to communicate and engage with both colleagues and clients. This requires developing traits such as empathy, patience, and the ability to listen deeply before responding.

In essence, by becoming well rounded and fully developed on a personal level, talented software developers can apply their technical skills in a far more meaningful and impactful way. They can truly push the boundaries of innovation and bring an edge to their work that truly sets them apart…

By Ross McLaren


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