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Arpit Mathur
Arpit Mathur

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5 Non-technical Skills Newbie Programmers Must Master

Most people that start preparing for a career in software development focus most of their time learning the technical skills their job will demand. While technical skills are essential to your success, you also need to develop these five skills to truly succeed in your career

Time management

One of the main reasons a lot of people fail to meet their career goals is an inability to manage their time. Early in your career, this is even a bigger challenge as you have a lot to learn while still meeting your own deliverables. There are two ideas you must always remember:

  • Urgent vs Important: Never let urgent tasks keep you from completing the important ones.

  • Do your most difficult task first: A lot of times, the tasks we feel are most difficult feel so because they are important and we don't want to mess those up. Most people (myself included) often start their days with some easy tasks to feel better about achieving something early in the day. This strategy often backfires and leaves some really important tasks incomplete.

Adaptability

The software development industry is constantly changing. The technology that you invest your career in may disappear in a relatively short time. As a developer, you need to learn to keep an eye out for changes in your eco-system and be ready to transition to different opportunities as the need arises.

Communication

I am always surprised by how a lot of developers I have worked with under-value communication with their peers and managers. If you are doing good work, let your team know. If you are struggling with something, mention it to your team, and they might be able to see something you have missed. When I used to manage developers, the developers that used to worry me the most were not the ones who mentioned that they had a problem, but the ones who never let me know how they were doing.

Effective communication is an art. While you should never overdo anything, over-communication is vastly preferable to under-communication.

Writing

Writing may be one of the least appreciated, but most valuable skills for a developer. Starting a blog is a great way to share your learnings while also establishing a reputation in technical circles. I have been writing for over 14 years on my own blog and it is really interesting to look back at my older posts and see how my thinking has changed.

Community participation

Software developers are notorious for being lone-wolves, but the isolation from your community can be harmful over a long period. And while co-workers at a job may feel like a community, remember that can go away if that job goes away. Joining local meetups is a great way to meet other folks in your industry. This can be great not just to learn new ways of doing things but also to find your next big career opportunity

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Also, I am working on a chatbot software coach! The first version is all about JavaScript. You can check it out here

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