The demand for highly skilled, qualified software developers is growing at a rapid rate. In fact, the market for developers is expected to grow 17% within the next 10 years, much faster than the demand growth of other occupations.
While job opportunities may be easier to come by, software engineering is becoming an increasingly competitive field where differentiation is critical. With the wide variety of language and platform choices available to developers today, it can be difficult to determine where to invest your time and energy. Let’s start with some basics:
Perhaps you want to learn a couple few tricks to save you time, or find a new open source library to eliminate some of your more monotonous tasks. Focus on small goals that are meaningful to you right now.
Take advantage of the resources that are available to you and keep yourself up to date and stay involved in the latest industry news. Developer blogs from some of our favorites authors such as Paul Irish, John Resig, and Dan Shaw, update their blog streams regularly with industry news and relevant conversation.
We also recommend social media sites like Twitter and Stack Overflow, and even training courses offered by your company. Team Treehouse, Code Academy, Code School, and Full Stack Academy of Code have a wide assortment of classes and boot camps to help you amped up your skills.
Knowing what you don’t know will focus your attention to the areas that matter the most to your personal growth and improvement that reach beyond just coding language and frameworks.
Developers are constantly surrounded by other intelligent, like-minded individuals. Why not tap into the knowledge of those sitting right next to you? Collaboration is a great way to learn from other software developers and allows you to diversify the ways you accomplish tasks.
Pair programming is an excellent way to improve developer skills, but not always practical. Luckily, there are dozens of collaboration tools available, from Slack and HipChat to Stack Overflow. Many of these products are designed to let you get solicit feedback while you’re in the middle of a project or tackling a particularly tough problem.
Most developers don’t see security as a skill, but it is. Done well, writing securely actually allows you to write code faster, and eliminates final-hour edits or worse, releasing a code base that’s easy to break into.
These skills are increasingly in demand, and an easy way to set yourself apart in a complicated and competitive job market. A 2015 survey run by Kaspersky Lab and B2B International found that 90% of companies surveyed admitted to experiencing a security “incident” and 46% of the same companies confirmed that they had lost sensitive data to an internal or external threat. These types of incidents are costly to organizations and cost an estimated $38,000 – $551,000.
Developers who can help prevent these kinds of incidents are inherently valuable to companies, particularly those in traditionally risk-averse industries like healthcare and finance.