6 skills you need to become a competent coder

Software development is here to stay and there are no signs of it going anywhere in the next few decades. With the industry itself growing at such a rapid pace, both product and IT services based companies are compelled to operate at breakneck speed. It also means that the software developers, who are the core architects behind every single system in this ocean of an industry, are also needed to be equally just as competent and fast-paced.

Any aspiring developer is only as good as an amateur coding enthusiast until they consciously choose to learn and master the relevant skills that will help them succeed in their careers as developers. But for them to survive and also thrive on top of it, software developers always need to brush up on their basic skills and sometimes, upskill or re-skill within these fundamentals from time to time. However, if you are just starting out as a software developer or a programmer, these skills are a must.

Here are the top 6 relevant and most important skills you need to become a quality coding professional.

1. Algorithms

A simple google search on the definition of an Algorithm would read that it is a set of instructions given to a computer for solving a problem or accomplishing a task. Algorithms by their very nature, are at the heart of the study of computer science. A greater understanding of algorithms would enable a programmer to develop a larger level overview of the ‘How’ behind developing software applications.

For example, if you want to search for a specific entry like a number or a name from a large-sized list, one of the commonly used algorithms is the Binary Search. Similarly, there are numerous algorithms for all kinds of functions and purposes that constitute the building blocks of any application. In order to become an efficient coder, it is imperative that one needs to have a holistic understanding of Algorithms.

2. Data Structures 

A Data Structure is a set of elements of data which would help and enable for an effective way of storing and organising data in the computer. Data structures allow programmers to store data within specific frameworks and better facilitate communication between backend operations and frontend users.

A few examples of Data Structures include Arrays, Linked Lists, Stacks, Queues among many others.

While an algorithm can manifest your data into useful information in a presentable way, it is also important to understand how all this mountain of data is organised in the first place. The answer for the same is Data Structures.

3. HTML and CSS for Frontend technologies

Both HyperText Markup Language (HTML) and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) are a couple of basic programming languages in computer science. They are most often always the first two languages any entry-level programmer would learn. 

HTML helps a programmer organise all the content and the structure of a web page, while CSS helps the coder build an attractive style of a web page and make the page look all the more presentable.

4. Backend technologies and JavaScript

The back-end of any website consists of a server, an application, and a database. A typical back-end developer builds and maintains the necessary technology that powers these web components. These components, in turn, power up and activate the user-facing side of the website so that it could show up on the internet.

JavaScript is another staple subject for all the aspiring developers out there, and equally important in any computer science curriculum. Over the last few decades, JavaScript has only become more and more popular considering its usage in the most basic learning frameworks across the world. It is used for front-end development via frameworks such as React, Angular and for back-end development via languages like Node.js.

5. Databases 

A database is designed as an organised collection of structured information or data, that is stored electronically in a computer system. A database is typically controlled by a Database Management System (DBMS). Some popular and most commonly used databases include MySQL, MongoDB, Oracle among others. 

Together, the data in itself and the DBMS, along with the applications that are associated with them are referred to as one single database system, which is further used in shorter form as just a database.

6. Soft skills 

As a software developer, you’d be constantly required to engage and work together with UI and UX designers, fellow developers, Product Managers, Quality Assurance Specialists, Engineering Managers and also the customers themselves sometimes. Communicating with multiple stakeholders such as these ones would most definitely require you to have a certain set of skills which would equally complement along with your technical skills as a programmer. 

Along with communication skills, patience, empathy, conflict management, crisis management, teamwork are some of the most critical skills needed to get started off as a software programmer. As a result, if you are looking to become a programmer, you may also want to work on your soft skills while giving them an equal amount of importance. 

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