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a great software developer

over the years, i’ve observed what i think are the top qualities that make a great developer.   IMO, it’s not that they’re ultra-brilliant, or can crank out 10,000 lines of top quality code a week, it’s a more well rounded package of qualities:

passion.  a great developer will always be reading a tech book, experimenting with a new language or library.  a great developer wants to help spread the knowledge around. a great developer is passionate about their craft and quality.

minimal ego.  big egos are not enjoyable to work with.  the more valuable minimal ego comes from solid self-esteem and good grounding.  minimal egos pair better, are more altruistic, and exercise better judgement.

honor/integrity – to self and community.  a great developer will bring honor to his/her work, is trustworthy even when not watched, and contributes or teaches to their community.

balance.  a great developer knows when to take breaks, when to sleep, to eat well.  this person knows to take time off to ski or bike, and to balance work time with family time.  exercise is good for the brain.  a balanced developer brings more to the table.  a balanced developer is better rested, a better thinker, operates better socially in a team.

judgment.  a great developer exercises good judgement gained from experience, common sense, & trial and error. they know not to squander company resources to an ego trip.  they understand that engineering is about balances, and doing the simplest thing to get the job done.  newbies can augment this facet with mentorship/pairing with other great developers.

desire to get things done.  a great developer has a relentless focus on done.  they work in sustainable rhythm, break things down into chunks of success, and celebrate when done.  they know when to not over speculate, they know when to refactor just enough to get the tests to pass and then call it done.  they understand the importance of the value they’re creating.

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