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Becoming the developer every organization wants

Are they looking for the best technical skills or something else? Here is the formula for the developer every organization wants to hire.

Jacob Orshalick

When we think about what makes a great developer, technical skills are usually what come to mind.

A great developer:

  • writes clean and elegant code
  • architects and designs great solutions
  • has a vast understanding of technologies
  • is always learning and staying on top of the latest trends

You may throw in some specific coding practices like TDD, Continuous Delivery, and others, but the focus tends to be on their technical ability.

Technical skills may get you hired, but the ability to operate efficiently within a team is what will get you promoted. Technical skills are invidually focused and software development is a team activity.

The formula for a great developer

Every organization wants a developer with:

Technical skills + business acumen + people skills

This is the combination of skills that leads to long-term success. You shouldn't stop leveling up your technical skills, but you can't neglect the other parts of the equation.

The key to building both business accumen and people skills is learning to communicate. Developers are often great at technical tasks, but bad communicators. But, this is a skill that can be learned.

So you're already leveling up your technical skills but you need to build your communication skills. What should you do?

Start by posting what you're learning

You can start by posting to LinkedIn,, Medium, or even better, your own portfolio site.

It will help you solidify your knowledge and will improve your communication skills along the way. Being able to explain yourself clearly and concisely will help you in conversations with product owners, users, clients, interviewers, etc.

Follow up by presenting

Presenting not only builds notoriety, it builds your confidence. The best developers are able to present ideas to a group effectively. You can start by presenting to your team, a local user group, and even progress to conferences.

Standing in front of your peers and presenting anything, even a topic you are intimately familiar with can certainly rattle your nerves. Remember, the nerves will pass and everyone in the crowd is rooting for you. Everyone wants to learn something from the presenter. Why else would they have shown up!

Presenting also requires you to dive deep into a topic. In order to teach something, you have to truly understand the topic yourself. Presenting provides similar benefits to writing and can help you become more of a “people person” at the same time.

So remember...

Technical skills are important, but being able to communicate is just as important. Start posting and presenting what you're learning to build those communication skills today.

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Jacob Orshalick