What makes a good web developer?
Caffeine and biscuits.
There you go. Done.
OK, what else makes a good web developer?
Well, here at Intuitiv Digital, some of our developers have been with us for well over 10 years.
Tom Evans, our technical lead, joined 14 years ago.
That’s a long time in web years. There’s a lot of crumbs in his keyboard.
From a company point of view, it’s excellent to have developers stay with us for many years, with all the experience and knowledge that brings.
It’s also great to have ‘new blood’ coming in. Whether that’s a senior developer who can bring fresh knowledge, experience and opinions into the fold, or a junior developer just starting on their career.
Different personalities will have different approaches to work.
So, what do we look for? What makes a good web developer?
We thought it would be interesting to approach this question from 2 perspectives:
Account/project manager’s view.
At Intuitiv Digital, our account managers also run the projects (with help from the technical architects and lead developers). Therefore, they’re probably closer to the day-to-day life of a development team than a traditional account manager role.
So, from an account/project manager’s point of view, a big priority is good communication.
We need developers who can:
Communicate with other members of the team if they need help or can offer to help themselves. There’s no point struggling for hours with a programming problem if a 10-minute chat with a colleague might shed some light.
Communicate at the earliest opportunity if they’re going to miss a milestone.
Discuss suggestions or changing requirements in a positive and open-minded way.
A second important aspect of being a good web developer is being conscientious. Showing you care. Showing some passion.
Being conscientious will lead to:
Better testing of code before giving it a ‘done’ status.
Fewer issues when deploying from internal to UAT and production environments.
This gives the account managers much more faith that projects will work as expected when tested or sent over to clients for review.
From a programming point of view, to be able to think clearly and logically is important.
But it also makes an account manager’s life so much easier too.
Relying on a developer who thinks clearly and logically when tackling tricky functionality or bugs can, for example:
Help find the best solution to client requirements.
Produce more efficient, future-proof code with fewer bugs to pick up in testing.
Quickly find solutions to bugs or issues if they do occur.
As an agency, this means our clients are getting a better service – happy days.
We thought it would be interesting to ask our developers what they think makes a good developer.
This served 2 purposes:
To gather their opinions
To (hopefully) allow them to reflect on their work
Do they tick all the boxes they suggest? Which aspects of the role could they improve on?
The results were revealing in that there were one or two surprise entries, but largely the lists were fairly similar.
It also highlighted how different personalities approach a task.
Some programmers returned lists with long sentences, carefully explaining each point, sometimes including more than one answer within each suggestion.
While others kept it to one-word answers. Literally.
Which probably explains why programmers can reach the same result but with very different approaches!
For the sake of clarity, we’ve deleted any obvious duplicates and edited down some of the wording. We’ve also grouped them into similar characteristics.
Here, then, in their own words, is what some of our developers think are key web developer skills:
An eye for detail, but also be able to see the big picture.
Good at critical thinking
Regularly scrutinising the approach taken by self and others
Able to reason about and explain the big picture whilst inside a complex system
Flexible enough to accept the approaches of others, without compromising on things that matter
Creative – thinking outside of the box where necessary
Making something great and taking pride in it
Able to focus whilst sat at a computer for long periods
Interested enough to learn wherever possible
Guarding against hasty decisions that aren’t optimal in the long term
What makes a good web developer?
But maybe the characteristics talked about in this article are, arguably, even more important, especially when working in an agency environment.
As are caffeine and biscuits.
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We know what makes a good web developer.
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