What it takes to be a successful software engineer?

Blog  / What it takes to be a successful software engineer

If you are currently looking into the possibility of studying at the Faculty of Electronics in Niš, scanning job or internship offers, or simply thinking about which faculty to choose, allow me to intrigue you with this question: How do you picture a good programmer? No matter the reason you ended up here, on our blog section, let’s take a minute to go over this topic. After all, it might just be you who has the potential to significantly contribute to the world of software engineering by joining us. Or you might already be here at our address, surrounded by coworkers that match the description.

I’m going to be honest, if you had asked me a couple of years ago what programming was, I’d probably have said it was just some sort of run-of-the-mill activity of typing some letters on the screen… Now, it’s much clearer to me that programming is sort of an art of creating the digital world. Successful engineers are not just tech experts, but also visionaries, coding wizards who carry in themselves the necessary set of values that help them climb to the top of the dynamic and challenging field of software development.

Whether you are at the very beginning of your career, or you’ve already started to climb the well-known junior, medior, or senior ladder, these are some of the traits that you should continually work on to ensure that you “bask in the glow of a good name” – which is the highest position to be in.

Wonder what those traits might be? Here is my take on what values to nourish on your road to coding success:
  • Have a visionary spirit and think outside the box: just like a painter starts with a blank canvas, successful engineers start from scratch, thinking outside the “standard solutions” box. They do not take the obvious, but the road less traveled, exploring the unknown, creating original solutions for the challenges that come their way.
  • Be analytical: although at moments they might seem intense and occupied, successful engineers, just like detectives solving a complex enigma, are masters of analyzing. They dive deep into the depths of a problem, breaking it down into small fragments so that they can better comprehend every component and build rock-solid solutions with deep understanding.
  • Grow through challenges: you won’t see a determined programmer be discouraged when faced with a difficult task – quite the contrary, they usually see the task as a chance to learn, conquer new skills, and strengthen their determination.
  • Follow best practices: just like a true master of their craft, engineers know for a fact that somewhere, someone probably already encountered a similar issue and that there are established solutions discovered by previous generations of engineers. They do not compromise when it comes to code readability and efficiency but stick to strictly defined standards and best practices so that their work can be worthy of every user.
  • Nurture your love of innovations: a successful programmer is like an explorer of uncharted lands. Their passion for innovation leads them to learn about new technologies, languages, and frameworks so that they can create original and revolutionary solutions.
  • Cultivate your hunger for knowledge and learning: Successful developers are not afraid of stepping into the unknown – it’s just like entering a mysterious maze. Their hunger for knowledge never declines – they are ready to learn new languages, techniques, and skills to keep up with the dynamic digital environment.
  • Be disciplined, do your best to have understanding and patience: every occupation demands exercise, especially programming. To aim for perfection, successful programmers infuse discipline, understanding, and patience into every aspect of their work. They understand that achieving excellence calls for time and dedication.
  • Do not tolerate the unfamiliar: unlike those who are afraid of what they do not know well or at all, an accomplished developer uses their impatience as a beacon. The unknown doesn’t scare them but inspires them to embark on new adventures and discover uncharted waters.
  • Build team spirit: Contrary to popular belief, a good engineer is not in essence antisocial or difficult to work with. In a world where creating code leads to creating digital solutions for everyday problems, successful programmers are perfect cooperators. Their team spirit, cooperation, and eagerness to connect can be best observed in situations where they are looking for solutions.
  • Cultivate communication: writers create stories that take us to places and situations we have never visited before, but achieved developers are also skillful communicators. They don’t limit themselves only to programming languages but are more than capable of expressing their ideas clearly, convincingly, and with precision.
  • Accept criticism: aware of the fact that a diamond becomes shiny only after being polished, a good engineer will never avoid criticism. Quite the contrary, they will use criticism to polish their skills and work, and, just like Narcissus, look for their reflection in that work.
  • Learn to manage time: ok, we know, sometimes the likable scatter-brained scientist comes to the surface and they tend to lose track of time, but programmers are great at time management most of the time. Their prioritizing skill, great planning, and efficacy of resource allocation help them do wonders in the set timeframes.
  • Share your knowledge: successful developers aren’t just knowledge collectors; they are also generous providers of that knowledge. Through their passion for selfless sharing, they open the doors to endless learning and growth not only for themselves but also for others. To explain complex concepts to someone else often calls for deeper understanding and breaking down the problem into smaller pieces, which encourages developers’ analytical capabilities. Also, the feedback they get from others can be really helpful in improving their work and approach. In a world where technology is always changing and evolving, knowledge sharing becomes the bridge between different generations of programmers. It enables the experience of previous generations to stay available to new ones, creating continuity and progress.
  • And last, but not least: they are not strangers to being awesome coworkers, overall great people and good friends. 😊

As digital solution bearers, successful engineers build bridges between machine languages and human needs. If being a programmer was easy, everyone would do it. 😊

Their passion for challenges, ability to grow, and need to exchange knowledge makes them the alchemists of the digital world. If you dream of becoming a part of the community, let these values be your guiding light as you change the coding world.

Bojana Stojiljković

21 November 2023