Friday, 15 February 2013

Attitudes of a Great Software Developer !!!

Software development is an art, not just a science.  You can learn all the technicalities of software development, but you need to be absolutely passionate about coding and perceive it as an art to be extremely good at it.  If you are one such person, I will introduce you to the journey of becoming a "Great Developer".  The objective of a Great Developer, as i name him/her is to make his/her art as beautiful as possible and make it the best.

In my own thoughts, I will share some attitudes which a great developer should have apart from the general expectations of being technically and analytically sound, understanding requirements in detail, good design skills, etc.

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Attitude #1 -  A bug is a question of my ability to write good code

Fixing bugs is part and parcel of a software developer's activities.  A bug is obviously the worst enemy of a Developer.  But how many developers think in the following lines while fixing the defects

  • What I could have done to avoid this bug in the first place?
  • How did I allow this bug to escape my eyes?
  • OK, something wrong has happened this time.  How do I avoid the same mistake next time? What steps do I need to take?
Truth is very few developers think on those lines.

A  person willing to be a great developer should consider a bug as a threat to his position, as a threat to his credibility, as a threat to his programming skills.  That is the attitude that will make him/her a great developer.

Attitude #2 - Mr. Tester, I challenge you to find bugs in my code

How many developers have this attitude?  Many developers think that the job of the testers is to find bugs.  Yes.  Obviously, but that doesn't mean as developers, we can take bugs for granted.

A great developer or a person willing to be a great developer should
always invite / challenge the tester to find bugs in his/her code.  He should have so much confidence in his code that he can challenge in such a way.

Attitude #3 - No compromise on code quality

Code quality should be of prime importance to a developer.  That will include following the right coding standards, making the code more maintainable using proper design and code refactoring, etc, etc.  But how many of us compromise code quality for many reasons best known to us?

I can quote an instance in my project to explain this.  I was leading a team of developers and we were working on fixing something in the very last hours of a Friday night.  We had to give a build on Monday.  All of us were looking into the problem.  I got curious as I saw the problem and started getting my hands dirty in the code.  Time went by and only the last 5 mins were left for everyone's cab.  It was a make or break.  We had to come the next day, if that was not solved today.  I did something at that time, which absolutely infuriated all my team members.  Unable to see the clarity in the running code, I refactored a bunch of lines at that last minute.  Everyone were so pissed of, that they started scolding me :-) asking if it was so important at that moment.  I answered "Yes, it is that important".  Of course we worked the next day for other reasons, but the whole point was even though I had an option of fixing  the code in the running code, I chose to refactor the code not compromising on the code quality.

A great developer or a person willing to become a great developer should never compromise on the code quality, no matter what.

Attitude #4 - Confident but not arrogant

A great developer or a person willing to be a great developer should be absolutely confident of his abilities but should not be arrogant towards fellow developers and testers.  He should always remember that he is part of a team that is working towards a common goal of shipping a project on time with good quality.

Attitude #5 - Acknowledge the Tester

It can happen that despite all the hard work and efforts put in by the great developer, a great tester can still find defects in his code.  In those cases, acknowledge the great tester.

A great developer or a person willing to be a great developer should always acknowledge the tester for the bug that he found.  He/she should remember that the bug is the enemy, and not the tester :-)

With this I conclude this post, hope you find it informative.  Thanks for the read.  Cheers.

If you found this post useful, please share it with your friends.  You can also stay updated with the latest blog post by simply submitting your email id to the right in the section "Get Updates by Email"

If you liked this post, you will also like my free Ebook "Programmer's Motivation for Beginners" which is available at

About the Author

Rajaraman Raghuraman has nearly 8 years of experience in the Information Technology industry focusing on Product Development, R&D, Test Data Management and Automation Testing.  He has architected a TDM product from scratch and currently leads the TDM Product Development team in an IT MNC.  He is passionate about Agile Methodologies and is a huge fan of Product Development, Agile Development and Agile Testing.  He blogs at  AgileDevTest Blog.  He is also an author of a free Ebook "Programmer's Motivation for Beginners".  Connect with him on Google+


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