Top Software Engineer Skills for Today's Job Market

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk:

The coding ability of a candidate is often the first thing companies assess. Software engineers need a variety of skills, especially at the senior level, when multiple hats and responsibilities are expected. Based on our experience working with hundreds of companies, we believe the following software engineer skills are essential:

  • Debugging

Bugs are common among software developers. There’s no avoiding it. A competent developer doesn’t avoid bugs entirely (which is impossible) but rather debugs them efficiently. We need to identify the root cause of the problem and make sure it doesn’t happen again by quickly putting a fix in place.

You can simplify your life by following these tips:

  • Take the time to understand the entire code base and system. Trying to find a bug’s source will be easier if you narrow the search space down.
  • Test your code. You should exercise your code and find bugs before they reach production by performing unit tests, integration tests, regression tests, etc.
  • Bug tracking is a necessity. Be sure to document any bugs you encounter (including how to reproduce them) so that you can refer back to them in the future.

Tools such as GDB, LLDB, and WinDbg can also help you sharpen your debugging skills. An interactive debugger examines the state of a running process.

  • System design

Designing a system reaches beyond understanding the components and their relationships.  Additionally, it involves considering trade-offs, performance, and security. It is just as significant to be able to articulate your thought process as it is to come up with the right solution for any given design question.

  • Technical collaboration

A senior developer’s ability to mentor junior engineers and work with other teams is particularly critical to getting things done.

Having a genuine interest in helping others succeed is one of the traits of a skilled collaborator, as well as being able to communicate effectively (written and verbal).

As well as being able to read people and adapt your communication style accordingly, it requires a certain amount of emotional intelligence.

Soft skills that are the most significant

As a developer, you’ll also need several soft skills in addition to your technical skills:

  • Being able to pick up new skills quickly. Technological advancements are constantly taking place. You must be agile and adaptable if you want to keep up.
  • Being able to work under pressure. When you deal with a critical bug or are up against a tight deadline, it is important to take quick action. Focus and calmness are crucial under pressure.
  • Good teamwork skills. Collaborating skillfully is imperative, as we mentioned previously. It would be helpful if you communicate with others, whether working on a project alone or with others (e.g., stakeholders and product managers).

Final thoughts

Job searching and interviewing skills are essential if you want to be a software engineer. Your compensation depends more on these skills than on the actual engineering value you provide. Describe your approach to problems at their company and how you would approach them based on your thinking. It is possible to showcase your skills and command a higher salary if you know how to sell yourself during an interview.