What Makes A Good Software Engineer?

There is a decent sized list of things that make a good software engineer: programming skills, a healthy curiosity, desire to build things, ability to articulate their expertise, ability to master their tools, etc. 

 

But the reality is that software engineering is a business and should be treated as such. And so one of the most important skills a good software engineer will have is to think about more than just the code. A good engineer will also think about how the product can help the company’s bottom line. If the software isn’t beneficial to the user, then it won’t be profitable to the company. 

 

When Microsoft launched Windows Vista in 2007, it had so many compatibility and performance issues that the product flopped and many of Microsoft’s loyal customers abandoned ship, which Apple was more than happy to absorb. 

 

A good engineer asks questions such as:

  • If we take shortcuts, will this affect compatibility?
  • Will the use of certain technologies affect our ability to deliver new features in the future?
  • How are we securing sensitive information that we are storing?

 

It behooves companies to screen new talent accordingly. It’s easy to become hyper-focused on certain components of our business while glossing over others that might be just as, or even more, important. Imagine if Ford focused only on the aerodynamics and aesthetics of the cars they’re producing without paying much attention to the quality of the transmission. A good software engineer will think beyond the code and bring genuine value to their company.


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