Communication > Coding

Being a developer is more about communication than about writing code

When I worked at Vodori, I found that as I progressed as a developer, I was spending more time consulting, writing requirements, communicating with my team, writing documentation, and writing test acceptance criteria than writing actual code. The communication part of development consumed more of my time than writing the actual code. Why? Because communication is more important than the syntax because it is what aligns the work with the client's goals.

It took a few years of writing a ton of code to get comfortable with the front-end stack. I still really struggle to remember the seemingly endless nuance of Javascript! I think there's this period of learning that needs to happen before many of the soft skills come as much into focus. That being said, I strongly feel I would have benefitted from integrating these soft skills and higher level ways of thinking earlier in my career.

Learn to be flexible

When we talk about flexibility, we are usually referring to learning new languages and technologies. While this is very important, a good developer is also flexible in the sense of how they collaborate.

There will be instances where you're working with other developers with differences in opinion on how to implement a feature. That's natural! However, your ability to see their point of view, while defending yours, and moving toward the common goal of meeting the project or client's goals is very important.

Empathy is important

Having empathy is critically important to success as a developer. You're going to be frustrated with Project Managers imposing unrealistic deadlines without your consult. It's the nature of the business and is unavoidable. When this happens, try to educate them on why the task is unrealistic, and work on a solution together. Don't just blindly accept it and stew about it. This leads to burn-out and resentment (I lived this and learned from it!)

It's important to step back and put yourself in the shoes of your team, and your client from time to time. Understand that Project Managers, Business Analysts, and business owners have a lot on their plates too. There are aspects of their disciplines that you don't understand, just as they don't understand yours! Educate each other, and learn to be empathic.