Knowing a programming language well is important in a software development career. However, let us break it to you: that is not all. A well paid and software development role requires one to have a few more important skills. Here are the five most important skills that will make you a more successful and employable software developer.
1. Brush up on Data Structures and Algorithms
The subject of data structures and algorithms in software development can be complicated and sometimes intimidating for beginners as well as experienced developers alike. However, it is probably the most important skill to have when it comes to software development and as a problem-solver. The knowledge of data structures and algorithms teaches you the two core skills: Learning how to solve a problem efficiently and knowing what tool to use and when.
2. Familiarize Yourself with Design Patterns
Design patterns are a set of coding styles, a repetitive and reusable solution for typical problems in software development. Using design patterns in your code will help you reduce the size of your solution and making it less susceptible to errors when solving problems using a proven solution. Knowing design patterns and being able to implement them is a must for well-paid software engineering positions.
Related: Let’s Simplify Design Patterns
3. Don’t just Code, Test your Code
Imagine you have been handed a new project containing thousands of lines of code. You were asked to make a few simple changes. After implementing your changes, how will you make sure that the changes you just made will not crash the entire software?
The answer is to run the test cases that were written for that particular project.
That is why it is extremely important to write test cases for your code. As a software developer, it is your responsibility to perform unit testing for the code you write. The main purpose of unit testing is to validate each and every unit or component of your code before it is integrated with the system.
4. Get Acquainted with Version Control System
Think about the times when you made a few changes to your code and it does not work the way you wanted it to. Reverting back to a stable version would be a tedious task. For cases like that Version Control System (VCS) is used. Git is the most popular VCS used by developers. It tracks all the changes you make in your project and lets you go back to a previous version at any point.
Knowing how to use a VCS is a pre-requisite for a software development career. Without VCS, collaborating with team members would be very difficult and hence it is something that all software engineers must know.
5. Know About Continuous Integration
Continuous integration is a practice by which team members integrate their work into a shared repository and each of those changes is verified by a series of automated tests and builds. Continuous integration is especially important when working with a team. It helps identify problems in the codebase early on and to isolate them. It also helps you understand if the system is working properly after integrating new changes. Learn more here.