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Top skills that will get you biggest raise as programmer

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computer programming

If you are a new entrant in the community of professional software developers and have started thanking all your training or education for making you land up here with everything perfectly figured out, then you might need to hold that thought there because your seniors in the field have some reality check for you. You should probably be aware of certain things about the coding writing business that no coding institute or university curriculum would have taught you.

programmer skills

Here are top skills that are must to be a successful programmer


If you ask any seasoned software developers, I can assure you that they would also suggest these top skills that they wished to know when they had stepped into the industry.

Be updated with underlying systems

Acquia’s support engineer Pete Bull stated once that a lot of languages generally extract away from whatever happens at a certain level of the system. This abstraction is really useful because it lets the developers be more productive for a majority of times. However, you need the skill to debug that particular process and be able to look at system calls and view how that piece of coding is interacting with the system comes really handy when as a coder you hit a blockade or a malicious bug and require a much deeper understanding of what actually is happening under the hood.

Be familiar with command line tools

There is a high probability that you would be spending a lot of time working with either code editor or a very fancy IDE. In such situations, knowledge of the technique to get your things done at command line could make your life a bit easier occasionally.

One of the developers who first started with Microsoft tools before moving to Linux agreed that given a chance, he would have learnt all the ins and outs of the command line along with all the valuable utilities which are available on *nix system. He could actually recall the coding that he had written years ago and had probably spent days working on. He admitted it could have been done better in grep + awk one-liner.

The debugger is your friend

Being a developer, you might be spending a good portion of your time in tracking down the bugs. A bioinformatics developer from Novartis emphasised that one must learn how to use a debugger even if it takes one or two days extra to configure it. When the expected results are not seen, the ultimate solution is just to debug it. Besides, sometimes you learn more things about coding by reading other people’s code.

Know how to write tests

There are developers who feel that writing unit tests are very crucial in developing apps. Through unit tests, they write tests and validate that every unit of code is performing the same function that it is supposed to. As a beginner, you should learn to write really good tests at the early stage of coding itself.

Be prepared for change and adopting new systems

In any business, change is inevitable. The demands of job and consumers are evolving rapidly and so is the technology. Obviously, being a programmer, you would have to learn change in languages, underlying systems and tools that you regularly use for work.

Work well with others

Do not go to your workplace with the mindset of sitting with headphones on. Nobody, including a programmer, can work alone in a workspace. When you would be assigned a project, you will be expected to work with others too for the successful completion of the same. Remember, there is no harm is asking for assistance from your cohorts if you cannot figure out something yourself.

Do not worry about coding yourself out of the job

This advice may not seem intuitive to you. But trust me, you could be promoted by coding yourself out of the job. Look for the simplest manners in which you can solve a problem and work on making your code maintenance free, and people will come to you to learn the skills.

Before you go for the work, prepare yourself with these points. I can assure you that not only your boss but your associates would also be impressed by your work and your approach. Go! Win the ride in the beginning.

  • outstanding guide for programmers. Thank you Ashish for this amazing piece of content contribution over our Open Source for you Blog.