As a back-end developer, you are a vital part of your organization. After all, if the company’s data isn’t secure or if the server doesn’t communicate efficiently with the browser, operations are likely to come to a halt pretty quickly.
Hence, your specialized technical proficiency makes you a valuable asset. The qualities that can put you over the top when you want to ask for a raise or decide to take the next step in your career are your soft skills.
Every organization needs people who have different strengths. Those with superior technical skills are necessary to keep everything running smoothly, and those with great people skills are required to keep customers and business partners happy.
The specific job you have may determine which skills are most important, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need any other proficiencies.
Here are seven strengths that every back-end developer should cultivate.
When your tasks at work require intense concentration, and you don’t get many opportunities to interact with the public, it’s easy to fall out of the habit of standard niceties.
It may help to think of each encounter with people who enter your workspace as an act of customer service. Think about the characteristics you expect from a competent service representative:
Find ways to incorporate these qualities into your work. You may not work around many people, but the ones who do see you regularly will appreciate your professionalism.
Most web developers may thrive in environments where they can work independently, but sometimes you may need to collaborate with others.
Whether you are working consistently with the same group of people or are placed on a temporary assignment with each new process you are tasked with building out, the same skills will serve you well.
Be available to your team, so that team leaders don’t have to worry about tracking you down to get feedback or set up meetings. If you are the team leader, make your expectations clear so that your team doesn’t have to wade through ambiguous instructions.
Respond to emails and other requests promptly. Working together doesn’t have to be a whole different challenge in addition to the project you’re trying to complete. Do your part to make the team run smoothly.
While there is job security in knowing how to do something that many people don’t understand, there is often a need to explain what you are doing and how it works to others.
When such opportunities arise, you want to make sure that you are helpful and informative without coming across as condescending.
You need to explain the process you have built-in lay terms, avoiding jargon that people who are not in web development may not be familiar with. If, for example, your company has new data security measures that it wants everyone to take, you may be asked to explain why these measures are necessary and how they are an improvement on previous strategies.
Your presentation may just be to management, or it may be to people on many levels throughout the organization. Having clear communication skills ensures that the message of your presentation is succinct and helpful.
It’s not just important to know how to give clear instructions; you must also learn how to follow instructions. To do this well, you must listen effectively. Listening is more than the technical function your ears provide. Effective listening involves at least three elements:
- Paying attention to the message
- Deriving meaning from the message
- Responding to the message
Listening well is essential in understanding instructions and constructive feedback and relaying information with your team members. It only takes one minor misunderstanding to lead to a coding error that can set you back, costing your company both time and money. Honing your listening skills is always a good idea.
To err is human, but it takes a secure person to own up to it. Practising humility at work may seem counterproductive, especially if you try to impress the boss to get a promotion, but it can efficiently work in your favour.
If you hold yourself accountable for the mistakes you make rather than cover them up or hoping no one notices, you can solve any problem your errors cause more efficiently. It’s better to be a little embarrassed in the moment than to delay your team’s productivity just to safeguard your ego.
A nice by-product of humility is that it increases the likelihood that you will be patient with others when they inevitably make mistakes, too.
If you create an atmosphere where people aren’t afraid to admit errors, you can resolve them much more quickly than if others have to work up the courage to tell you where the problem lies.
No matter how secure your server is or how strong a system your team builds, there is always a chance that something will occur that you didn’t expect.
Being able to adapt to new situations is a helpful skill for anyone, but it is especially crucial for back-end web developers. For example, on the day it is launched, a new application could tax the system as a whole, causing other parts to run more slowly or stop working altogether.
You and your team will need to make the necessary adjustments to deliver the new feature as promised while also protecting ongoing processes. Such flexibility requires creativity and the ability to remain calm under pressure. Mastering this soft skill helps you troubleshoot issues as they arise.
You probably have some high goals regarding your career path. Ambition keeps you motivated to maintain your competitive edge, mainly when you are ready to move on to the next position.
Even if you’re not planning on looking for a new job shortly, cultivating ambition can still give you the drive you need to continue improving how well you do the job you have now. Technology changes rapidly, and a good web developer changes with it.
Professional development in your industry is not just for people who want to rise to the top but also for those who don’t want their skills to become obsolete. Ongoing training helps you hone your current skills and add new ones to the mix.
You need a certain measure of ambition to pursue the continuing education fundamental to a successful career in web development.
Not every job involves working directly with other people all day. Back-end web developers often need time alone to update the server correctly or fix glitches.
There’s more to almost any job than sitting in front of a screen. In addition to having the technical skills necessary to do the job, you can also transition easily from working by yourself to collaborating with others on a project, and you can explain what you are doing in terms that are easy to understand.
Adding these seven soft skills to your repertoire makes you a more versatile team member.