It is an exciting time to be a software engineer. Futuristic technologies including artificial intelligence, virtual reality, big data, etc. despite their potential, are still in their embryonic stages of development. Exposure to such advanced technologies, and even to projects indirectly related to them, can make you indispensable in the future job market. But first, you need to be properly placed in the present to build on that long term goal.
In 2021, software engineering is all about using code to create innovative products that solve real-world problems. This today requires software developers to create a mix of technical and metacognitive skills. In addition to the technologies, it is crucial to learn the approaches, the techniques and the working style.
So, some of the skills that will make you a great software engineer in today’s world are:
1. Breakdown of the problem:
There is a reason the problems are the way they are. This is because they are too complex and multifaceted to be approached with a one-dimensional approach. To solve anything, you first have to understand what you are trying to solve, right? Therefore, you need to deconstruct the problem. Break it down into its simplest form, which is basic logic. See if this logic covers the different challenges the problem poses, or if it is possible for them to deconstruct it further. It will make your life much easier.
2. Code readability:
Coding is not a one-person show. Projects require you to collaborate with different people and teams over time. In such a framework, your communication must always be effective, especially if it is done by code. The readability of your code should make it easier for others to work rather than doing it the other way around. Use expressive variable names in your codes whenever possible. Also use comments if additional information needs to be conveyed to a reader.
3. Offensive programming:
Nothing is as wrong as getting the return value of -1 or unknown_error during integrated development. You know there is a mistake. But despite spending several hours analyzing layers after layers of code, you could barely reach anywhere. The reason is usually defensive programming; where defensive programming practices mask the root cause.
This is why offense, they say, becomes the new defense. Offensive programming also builds on the concepts of defensive programming. However, this allows the developer to determine the root cause of the problem. It can save you and your team billions of hours.
4. Data structures, functions and inputs / outputs:
Data structures help you master the science of evaluating the effectiveness of your algorithm. They establish understanding of the problem at a very basic level. More in-depth knowledge of functions, on the other hand, allows you to create lean codes that are well woven and contain no faffs. To become a proficient coder, it is also essential to delve into the I / O. You should focus specifically on these areas before setting your other priorities.
5. Pair programming:
How to minimize errors while making your codes more efficient in less time? The answer is “pair programming”. Pair programming is when two programmers work together at a single workstation, where one programmer codes and the other reviews it simultaneously. The two change roles frequently. Pair programming is known to reduce result flaws.
6. Tools, shortcuts and workflow:
Something that differentiates a good software developer from a great one is the ability to use tools, shortcuts, and workflows. Remember that time is of the essence in software development projects. By spending less time navigating and managing workflows, you create value that is hard to reproduce. Plus, learn as much as you can about the product development process and the Model-View-Controller (MVC) model.
7. Global Internet:
One of the most common limitations for new software developers is not the skill set. Often this is the limited understanding of the industry. As a software developer, always keep in mind that everything is getting more and more digital. It means you need to understand how the web works. It will allow you to build applications aware of current needs and the system in which they operate.
8. Coding principles:
Learn as many coding principles as you can, especially DRY and YAGNI, alongside others.
9. Efficient sandboxing and debugging techniques:
You can make all the difference in coding and testing with the sandboxing approach. A sandbox is your playground where you can examine untested code in an isolated environment. In other words, you can test new or changed code without exposing the original application to errors. You should also learn effective debugging techniques while focusing more on testing and test-driven development.
10. “Git” is done:
Less than two decades after its launch, Git has virtually transformed the way programming is done around the world. Now it’s an integral part of every developer’s standard toolbox. So you need to learn Git Workflow, which is basically a guide to using Git effectively. This will go a long way in your career path.
11. Libraries, environments and languages:
You need to strengthen your grip on libraries, environments and languages. For example, learn how to deploy apps with continuous integration through Heroku and AWS. You can also build web pages with HTML and CSS and build robust servers with NodeJS and ExpressJS.
For front-end development you need to be deep in ReactJS, and for mobile development you need to be familiar with the React Native framework. There are a lot of high paying jobs that require specialization in these areas. You can also focus on object-oriented programming as well as database management with PostgreSQL and MongoDB.
Finally, software development is a constantly evolving field that sees drastic changes every few years. So, perhaps, one of the essential skills that you can master is “how to learn” itself and how to continue to do it consistently with finesse. The journey that awaits you is full of rich experiences. Just enjoy it to the fullest!
Article by Raj Desai, CEO and Co-Founder, School of Accelerated Learning.
Read: 5 HR Trends That Are Driving The Changing Work Culture In India
To read: Sorting a field of envy to be paid for an international summer internship during covid 19