Making Good Software

A blog by Alberto G (Alberto Gutierrez)

Written by Alberto G

May 22nd, 2009 at 1:20 pm

3 non technical tips to be a better software developer

with 15 comments

There are many articles on Internet with tips on how to become a better developer,  most of them focus on promoting learning attitudes like reading articles, books…

In this article I want to approach this subject from a different perspective I am going to present a few unusual tips which I believe will help you to become a better developer.

Be adaptable to any work environment (there is no “I” in team)

You may be a convinced agile practitioner or a waterfall one, but in the team where you are working they are not. Or you may be in a design session where you don’t agree with what has been decided…

You will always face conflicts, a good developer will know when it’s time for discussion and when it’s time to stick with the team and do as best as possible. The worst dynamic for a team, it’s when the people are not aligned in the same direction. (article from Jeff Atwood – codinghorror.com about this issue) .

This means that when a decision has been made you shouldn’t use every opportunity, every meeting, to remind your colleagues how wrong you think they are, you will be just mining the team confidence. One of the worst aspects I have observed from software developers is their ego, I’ve seen many times how attitudes like “If it’s not my way, no way” gets in the middle of getting things done.

This doesn’t mean that you don’t have to fight for your opinions and ideas, there is a time to make decisions and that’s when you have to bring all your ideas, after a decision is made, embrace it as if it was your decision, if you can’t is better that you just talk with your manager and you leave that team.

This doesn’t mean either that you have to give up if you see that the team goes in the wrong direction just because a decision has been already made, wait to have evidence that the team’s direction is not the right one, think on how to improve it and show it to your colleagues with a positive attitude

Understand that most of the times everyone is wrong

Drop the attitude “I’m right, You’re not”, both of you are wrong. In the software development industry I’ve seen very few times situations where someone holds all the truth about something, is very likely that in a software discussion all the parts involved are just partially right, a good software developer has to be able to recognize what can be bundle from everyone’s opinions in order to come up with the best possible solution.

Don’t get stressed. Enjoy what you are doing.

I keep reading articles about telling developers to read blogs, books, to code in your spare time, to write your own posts… And it’s not that I don’t think that it won’t help you to be a better software developer, of course it will, but it can also be really bad for you.

I actually wrote an article about how passion is the main difference between a good software developer and an average software developer, but if that passion is pushing you to the point where you are getting stressed, just take one step back.

  • If you are not enjoying it, why are you doing it?
  • If you are not enjoying it, you will eventually quit.