With a median income of just over $100,000, becoming a software developer may seem like a financial dream come true for those looking to make a career out of it.

While it’s true the average software developer stands a chance at making a decent sum of money, you’ll need a combination of intelligence, people skills and willpower to succeed in this career field long-term. While many of these skills and lessons can be learned, they’ll need to be nurtured continually.

So, once you learn to code, then what? There are a myriad of career paths available for you depending upon the hard skills you have as a software developer, including positions available in IT, government and nearly every sector of business. That being said, you’ll be short-lived in any career if you don’t bring the soft skills most organizations need to run effectively. Our recommendation: be vigilant in developing these four skills, because in most cases, you’ll need them to land and keep the job of your dreams!

The Top 4 Skills for Developers, Ranked


  1. Speak Your Programming Language Fluently

The first obvious skill all software developers must possess is the ability to understand and write code. Be it Javascript, Java, C#, C++, Ruby or other programming languages yet to be developed, you will need a full grasp of them to be able to perform your job. This is the core of your knowledge–something that will hopefully get your foot in the door regardless of what programming or development field you’re looking to enter. Much like all other languages–spoken and written–practice makes perfect!

Even after you graduate from school or coding boot camp, if you’re not utilizing the language frequently, you’ll likely start to forget it, and that can severely impact your job performance, let alone obtaining a job at all.

  1. Work Well With People

You may think that the only software developer skills you need revolves around your ability to communicate with a machine. Guess again! So much of software development, especially in large business or government organizations is done in teams. As such, you’re expected to be able to work well with people. You’re likely going to encounter a few stressful moments during your career with your co-workers. Being able to navigate through those problems diplomatically will not only show your employers that you’re someone who can be trusted with more responsibility that can lead to promotions but it also generates a better workflow and dynamic for the team as a whole.

  1. Communicate Effectively With Non-Technical People

This tends to go hand-in-hand with being a team player but in particular, being an effective communicator is crucial to having a development team run smoothly. Depending upon your actual duties, you may be placed in charge of explaining all the programming complexity to those who aren’t as familiar with the world of coding–your boss, or even executives and stakeholders throughout various departments in a company. If you can’t effectively communicate to technical users and non technical users alike, then you will run into problems.. Part of working in an organization as a software developer means writing code that meets a business need. Part of working efficiently and effectively means communicating technical solutions to the business needs and engaging in a back and forth dialogue with the end user.

  1. Solve Problems Under Pressure!

Besides writing code, you’re probably going to be facing a few scenarios where something is broken. That ‘s the fun part right? You will do well if you are able to assess the problem and come up with a technical solution quickly. If a piece of software is broken, that means the organization is probably losing money. This creates additional stress and pressures that you’ll need to be able to handle. Showing that you can analyze a situation quickly, make an informed decision then follow through to fix the problem all while keeping your cool will prove you have what it takes to succeed. This will help you secure your role and can lead to more responsibility, promotions and pay. Software developers are problem solvers at heart. They see an area where a program or app can assist with the running of a business, and then they make it happen.

Bonus: Show Initiative and Commitment

Ready to guarantee a top spot in an organization’s technical team? Find a business problem on your own and solve it in your free time. By doing so, you’re showing a few highly coveted skills:

  • You can work alone in addition to your team environment
  • You have initiative and passion for your work
  • You like to find and solve problems that others didn’t know existed
  • You will go above and beyond your defined responsibilities, even unprompted

As you may have noticed by now, developing software as a career is much more than just being able to write code, which is why Woz U focuses on applying programming skill in a real-world environment in our software development program. By honing these other skills and implementing them, you will not only grow in prestige and rank within the business but as a human being as well.