When a staffing agency or IT staffing professional begins their hunt for a new Software Engineer, they're looking for more than just someone who can help design, develop, test and maintain a particular piece of software. Success in this career path will require more than just coding skills - particularly as the demand for Software Engineers grows and the number of applicants applying for any particular position grows right along with it.
If you truly want to be a successful Software Engineer, you need to act like one. With that mind, there are a few core qualities you must possess.
It's About the Little Details
One of the most important things that successful Software Engineers tend to do is focus on the little details. Remember that at the end of the day, a computer will only do what you tell it to do. Having the ability to not only write code that will handle intended use cases, but that also accounts for the many potential things that an end user may want to do, requires an intimate, detail-oriented approach that not everyone necessarily has.
Detail-oriented engineers aren't just great at catching things like bugs in their own code - they can help bring about a much easier development process overall.
Curiosity is King
Another quality often shared by successful Software Engineers is that they're naturally curious people. This creates a drive for them to always learn and explore, searching for opportunities to work "smarter, not harder" and finding better ways to accomplish goals through experimentation. They tend to go out of their way to stay up-to-date on certain essential concepts, even when they're not directly connected to the job they're doing each day. This is absolutely a quality that can help make you a more well-rounded Software Engineer.
Macro and Micro Perspectives
One of the most important qualities that all successful Software Engineers tend to share is an ability to focus on both the "big" and the "small" pictures at the exact same time. One of the keys to success in any position isn't just being able to accomplish the goals you have in front of you today; it is also understanding how those goals relate to larger long-term objectives and knowing how one impacts the other within the context of an overarching vision.
You Must Be Invested
Successful Software Engineers are invested in their daily work for reasons beyond the fact that they'll be getting a paycheck at the end of the week. They're invested because they can't help themselves - they're like artists, in that way. They understand that what they're doing is important and they tend to take a sense of true pride in their work. This is one of the key qualities separating a good Software Engineer from a great one. If you're not emotionally invested in what you're spending hours doing each day, the work is going to suffer.
The Art of Constant Improvement
Successful Software Engineers also understand that there will never be a point where they've "done enough" to advance their skills. They understand that technology is constantly changing and they need to as well in order to stay both sharp and competitive in the market at large. They believe that the moment they feel like they've learned all there is to know is the moment they start getting left behind - so they're not going to let that happen.
They're Team Players
Successful Software Engineers also understand that their work doesn't exist in a vacuum. They're just one small part of a much larger, more meaningful whole (or in this case, team) that is supposed to come together to form something more powerful than any one element could be on its own. They understand that in the context of a team, the romanticized Hollywood version of the "lone wolf programmer" cannot exist. They need to work together and contribute to something bigger than themselves for the benefit of not just the companies they work for but the end users they're trying to serve, as well.
They Check Their Egos at the Door
Finally and perhaps most importantly, successful Software Engineers tend to be humble people by their very nature. Whenever they solve a particularly tricky problem or write an excellent line of code, they don't call everyone else over to see. When other team members offer constructive criticism, they don't get offended. They understand that this is critical, as without it they may have discovered bugs only after shipping a product.
Successful Software Engineers tend to keep their ego in check and if you really want to pursue this career path you need to be able to do the same.
The Greater Good
Having the ability to write code like nobody else is important in the life of a Software Engineer, yes - but it is only one small part of a much more important story. If you truly want to be a successful Software Engineer, you need to act like one. This means that being a team player, being able to see the bigger picture and maintaining an unending drive to constantly improve yourself are the types of things you need to be focusing on.
ICS has years of experience placing software engineers. We can help you find your perfect job. Just browse through our jobs and apply. We'd love to place you in a role that you feel will make you a better software engineer.