Finding the 10x developer!

Here’s what you need to look for outside of raw tech knowledge.

I’ve been building software development teams for the last 10 years. Although we always dig into the tech side to gauge a developer's understanding of a particular field, Some developers and some teams just work much more efficiently than others. In some cases “mid level” developers outperform their senior colleagues. Over the years, one thing has become crystal clear; Technical proficiency is not enough to excel in the field. Coding and tech skills are of paramount importance to keep the company going, but finding developers with distinguished soft skills is vital to excel and stay ahead of the competition. Here are my most important skills and traits, i look for, outside of tech knowledge, why they’re important, and how you, when recruiting your development team, can identify them.

1.Self-motivation: Self-motivation is an essential trait in proficient software developers. It pushes them to set goals and achieve great accomplishments for themselves and for their company. Self-motivation drives developers to continuously seek opportunities to optimize their code and enhance the user’s experience rather than simply meeting the requirements. They also stay current with emerging technologies as they thrive on expanding their knowledge in the field. When you hire a self-motivated software developer, you wouldn’t worry about the quality of the code. They take accountability for the success and quality of the projects. Here’s how you can identify self-motivated software developers in the hiring process: You can start by observing the candidate’s proactive approach during the interview. Candidates who are self-motivated are more likely to ask thoughtful questions about the company’s projects and show a strong desire to contribute to them. They will also showcase curiosity about the company’s approaches and technologies. You can also ask the candidate questions about self-directed learning. Self-motivated developers always seek opportunities to improve their knowledge by participating in conferences and courses. They showcase a strong commitment to personal and professional growth. In our hiring process for most Tunisian developers, we noticed a strong sense of commitment to personal growth and enthusiasm for the field.

2.Leadership potential: Leadership is an essential trait that you need to look for in software developers as it boosts the quality of projects and leads to their success. Developers who showcase a strong sense of leadership will doubtlessly take on additional responsibilities. They proactively identify areas for improvement and innovation. They also demonstrate a healthy and practical collaboration with their teammates and promote a supportive and empowering working environment. They help and mentor their teammates, especially junior developers. They motivate their teams and ensure the success of their tasks. Here’s how you know if the candidate has leadership potential: As a recruiter, you can ask the candidate about past projects in which they took the lead. You can also review their work history to ensure the quality of the discussed projects. Candidates who took leadership roles in previous projects and contributed to their efficacy and success are more likely to have leadership potential. You can also review their experience in mentoring their teammates or ask them about their attitude towards junior developers. Qualified candidates will showcase empathy towards their teammates and express a strong desire to help them.

3.Proactive problem identification: Hiring developers who showcase proactive problem identification promotes quality and fuels the success of future projects as these developers are more likely to identify problems early on. They anticipate challenges and potential risks before they happen or escalate, which saves a lot of time and resources. This can minimize potential bugs and gaps from happening and lead to efficient, high-quality, and error-free code. How do you identify developers with proactive problem identification: proactive problem identification is a part of the problem-solving approach. You can thus ask the candidate about their problem-solving approach. The right candidate will mention problem identification and the advantages of detecting potential issues before they happen. You can also create hypothetical scenarios to test if the candidate is able to identify potential problems and come up with solutions. Additionally, you can review the developer’s work history to see if they implemented measures to prevent issues in their previous projects.

4.Communication skills: Communication skills are important in every collaborative work environment, which is usually the case for software development. Communication skills improve collaboration, minimize errors, and help developers align with the client’s expectations. Active listening and communication skills help build understanding between teammates in order to reduce errors that result from miscommunication. Active listening also enables developers to understand and meet the expectations of users and stakeholders, which results in high-quality code. How can you tell if the candidate has the right communication skills for the job? The most important aspect of communication skills is being able to articulate ideas in a clear and understandable way. You can ask the candidate to explain technical terms and concepts in a non-technical language. Candidates who demonstrate strong communication skills are usually able to explain complex technical concepts to people who have little or no idea about the field. You can also observe the candidate’s interactions during the interview. Qualified candidates will listen carefully, provide constructive feedback, and answer questions in a clear and structured way.

5.Creativity: Creativity is essential as it nurtures a culture of innovation and continuous improvement within the field. Creative developers are not limited to the requirements. They constantly look for improvement, find innovative solutions for unconventional challenges, and generate new ideas. Thinking outside the box enables them to approach challenges from a unique perspective and push the boundaries of what is possible. They also work to create a product that is not only effective but also engaging and visually appealing, which enhances the user experience. They are more likely to introduce new and unique features. How do you know if the developer has a creative mindset? The most reliable way is to review the candidate’s portfolio to check if they implemented creative features and appealing designs. The level of originality and innovation in the candidate’s previous projects reflects their level of creativity. You can also create hypothetical challenges to see if the candidate is able to approach them from an unconventional perspective and come up with innovative solutions.

6.Integrity: Integrity is critical in software development considering the importance of data privacy and security in the field. Developers with integrity have high ethical standards, which makes them prioritize the safety of users. They uphold the trust of both stakeholders and clients and help build a good reputation for the company and its projects. Here’s how you can evaluate the candidate’s integrity: First, you can ask the candidate about his past experiences in working with sensitive or confidential data. Candidates who have integrity showcase a strong commitment to adhering to ethical standards and a good knowledge of the legal framework that is associated with data privacy and security. Second, you can check the candidate’s references and previous employers. The developer’s professional reputation reflects his commitment to integrity. You can also review their portfolio to see if they successfully implemented measures for data protection. Candidates who exhibit integrity are also more likely to talk openly and honestly about their limitations and achievements.

7.Passion for coding: Genuine passion for coding fuels motivation and continuous learning. It enables developers to stay up-to-date in the field and explore the latest industry trends. It also pushes them to excel in the field and look for perfection. It boosts the quality and efficiency of their work. You can identify the candidate’s passion for coding through technical assessments. Developers who are passionate about the field showcase a deep understanding of the technical concepts. They also demonstrate a genuine enthusiasm for the field by asking questions, discussing projects, and showing involvement in coding communities.

8.Soft skills are of paramount importance in the field. When we first came to Tunisia, we noticed that the Tunisian software developers exhibit exceptional soft skills. We then learned that Tunisian universities and educational institutions pay great attention to teaching soft skills along with technical skills. This is one of the reasons why we chose Tunisia as a nearshore partner. It is a tempting destination if you seek to extend your team with skilled professionals. If you’re interested to know more and build or extend your team, drop me a line at [email protected].

Daniel Atherton

Thu Oct 12 2023

CEO and Co-Founder at Dune Technology Ltd

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