Whether a tech company is aiming to grow their online presence, develop a Software-as-a-Service product or become more competitive in the digital marketplace, this growth must always be backed up and sustained by a robust infrastructure and reliable software.
Finally, a key part of the role that is often overlooked is following industry best practices and designing code while considering user experience, reliability, scalability, and security standards.
Although their main responsibility within cross-functional Agile teams is to efficiently collaborate with fellow developers to create the project deliverables, the role extends beyond that.
Skills & Know-How
Usually, the skills required vary depending on the company, seniority level and specific characteristics of the project. However, there are some common hard skills companies expect their potential candidates to be well-acquainted with:
- Programming principles, algorithms, and data structures.
- Basic HTML and CSS.
- RESTful APIs and CRUD operations.
- The DOM, AJAX requests, promises, reactivity and asynchronous programming.
- IDEs or Integrated development environments (e.g., Eclipse, IntelliJ, Visual Studio Code).
- Version control management systems (e.g., GIT, CVS, SVN, Mercurial).
- Deployment tools (e.g., Jenkins, Hudson).
- Unit testing and test-driven development (TDD) principles.
- Issue management systems (e.g., Jira).
Working within an Agile framework will also require high adaptability to change and the ability to work efficiently as part of a team. As a result, the following soft skills become essential:
- Creative problem-solving & critical thinking
Finding innovative solutions to problems is at the heart of all software development activities. Out-of-the-box thinking is a great asset that will often make the difference in a developer’s career path.
- Communication & interpersonal skills
Iterative software development is very dynamic and fast-paced with many roles involved (project manager, product owner, testers, developers, business analysts). Thus, being able to communicate efficiently and precisely, while also remaining approachable and open to discussion is a key asset.
- Time management
Writing code, fixing bugs, researching solutions, while also participating in meetings, planning and estimation activities can get quite challenging. Therefore, the ability to prioritize tasks and manage work time is essential for meeting sprint deadlines while delivering quality work.
With that in mind, here are the most common duties and responsibilities:
- Implement required features by writing clean, maintainable and scalable code,
- Adapt the code to follow UX design requirements without compromising functionality,
- Analyze requirements, potential risks, and software dependability,
- Following procedures, industry best practices and information security standards to create robust and reliable software,
- Write unit tests and get involved in testing to ensure quality standards are met,
- Ensure a good communication and collaboration with colleagues and stakeholders,
- Strive to maximize software performance and bring suggestions for improvements.
Is the code working as expected? Is it free of bugs?
In this context, one of the most important aspects is being able to respond quickly to change and openly communicate whenever any impediments are encountered so that they can be removed before jeopardizing the overall progress.
When it comes to stakeholders or the individuals who are impacted by the outcome of a project, the Product Owner is the main one. This is someone who supervises the project, offering information about the purpose of the project and requirements, structuring work cycles into a product backlog to maximize value and speed of delivery.
While collaborating with the Product Owner, the developer should be able to communicate in a clear and concise manner to clarify product requirements and to ensure that deliverables meet acceptance criteria.
When it comes to measuring performance, there’s no one-size fits all method to suit all individuals looking to track their progress. Different types of goals require different evaluation tools and not all achievements are easily quantifiable.
However, adopting a goal-oriented strategy via OKRs or Objectives and Key Results can render the path to progress clearer while avoid getting lost in the wake of indecision. The basic idea is to set up main Objectives and then break them apart into smaller Key Results.
If in theory this sounds simple enough, the implementation can prove challenging depending on the scope and nature of the objectives. More general career goals can be tackled using this strategy and the approach would be very personal to the individual and may require more in-depth analysis to identify the Key Results to be tracked.
On the other hand, smaller-scale and more measurable objectives can be rather easily broken down using this methodology. Let’s look at the following example:
Objective: Have the web app load as fast as possible.
- Improving chunking strategy and reducing chunk size at compilation to half the current size.
- Switching to a more aggressive minification strategy to have less lines of code.
- Loading used data in smaller packages and only getting the bare minimum from the server for each functionality that needs it at a specific time.
We can get, however, an idea of the overall pay ranges by looking at the latest salary data from platforms such as Glassdoor or Indeed.
Below are some examples of average yearly salaries throughout European cities:
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