Non-technical skills that will make you a better developer

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Non-technical skills that will make you a better developer
harley Ferguson

Code is your tool. It's not what you do. What you do is solve problems through software.

Many developers get caught in the rat race of only working on their coding skills. Don't get me wrong, great coding skills will take you far, but they will only take you so far.

What other skills can you develop that will take you all the way?

Let's dive in.

Problem solving

This should be an obvious one, but it's always worth mentioning.

As a developer, it's up to you to identify problems in code, designs and business. Your ability to analyze a problem, identify why it's happening, break it down into smaller parts and create an effective solution is essential. The more problems you find, the better at problem solving you'll become.

Critical thinking

This goes hand-in-hand with problem solving, but it's worth itss own mention. Problem solving alone is powerful. But critical thinking, the very act of determining different viable solutions to a problem and deciding which solution best fits the current scenario, is a skill that only the best developers have.

Time management

More often than not, you are most likely working within the confines of a deadline. Maybe you're needing to reach a sprint goal or maybe your project has a go-live date. Either way, you're needing to get the work done in time.

This is where great time management comes in. Identifying how much time you have, how long certain tasks will take, effectively carrying out those tasks in the expected time and being able to decide which tasks simply won't fit within the timeframe are all decisions that lead developers have to make daily.

Practice time management daily and you'll make for a great lead developer.


Communication is a daily exercise for developers. You'll be communicating either with the written word (emails and messages) or verbally (meetings and calls) nearly every day so why not be great at it?

Focus on listening to others, understanding what they have to say and provide a valuable response. This will make you stand out to the rest of your team, company and clients.

Beyond that, practice being able to break down complex concepts into simple terms. Developers deal with a lot of concepts that are difficult to grasp, so being able to effectively explain it, without losing your audiences or their comprehension, is a great skill to have.


Most software teams will have you working with people. Other team members, the client, relevant stakeholders, your own company, other companies and the list goes on. Being able to efficiently and effectively work with others will make the process of collaboration far easier for you, but also make you stand out more as a developer.


Writing code and solving problems is an art form. Some may argue but I fully believe this. It takes a great level of creativity to solve problems or write code that is clean and readable. We should recognize that great developers activate both their left brain (analytical and objective) and right brain (creative and artistic).

Embrace your creative side as much as possible. Think outside the box. Solve problems you've never seen before. Think of the project as a canvas, your code as the paint and you as the painter. Create a work of art.

That's it for now.

There are so many other non-technical skills that will make for a great developer, but these are my favourite. What are yours?

See you again next week.