As technology evolves, the demand for software engineering specialists remains high and it doesn’t look like it will decrease any time soon. Software engineers have evolved from building IT products to problem-solvers that address complex business and social challenges and develop essential solutions.

It is a popular career choice, not only because it has a promise of growth and pay, but because it can be fulfilling in many ways - you get to participate in innovation and change the world with your work, you can fix the problems and impact people’s lives.

The market is full of good professionals, but what skills and abilities separate great software engineers from good ones?

Being open-minded

Software engineering is a process and not a set of rules written in stone. Being able to hear other people’s opinions, accept new ideas and technologies while not getting hung up on one thing helps to become a better specialist. You may not always agree with your team members, but listening to their ideas and trying to understand before judging and making your decision will give you a chance to look at the problem from a different angle and come up with a viable solution.

Team mindset

A good software engineer has high level skills, a great software engineer should know that it’s a collaborative process and how to make the most out of it. It is not limited to leadership skills but implies overall teamwork. Every victory and failure is the result of team-work and knowing how to make the team cooperate and align with the same goals defines a great engineer.

The ability to give and receive feedback

A great engineer can separate constructive feedback from criticism and knows how to communicate their own opinions in a way that will be heard and understood. Feedback is a crucial part of engineering because it gives an idea of what is working for the client and the team and what is not. The software development process often needs to be adjusted and calibrated for the project to be completed in the right way and in the given timeframe.

Data-driven decisions

Putting personal preferences aside and leading the decision making process with data is important to know what is best for the project and client’s business. Personal judgment and ideas are great, but they need to be supported by data or experience to prove themselves worthy. Informed data-driven decisions help to minimize risks and optimize the processes in the project.

A balance of perfectionism and pragmatism

It is hard to not get unbalanced, but a great programmer knows how both perfectionism and pragmatism can hurt the workflow. Finding the right balance of both perfectionism and pragmatism can help avoid many problems in software development while delivering a high-quality product to the clients. It is about aiming high but remembering to keep your feet on the ground.

Business knowledge

When you are developing a product, you are developing it for the final user. Understanding the audience that will use the product and how they use it is crucial for making the product fit the user’s needs as well as business goals and requirements. Sometimes an app that looks perfect on the paper just won’t click with people, because we are not always logical and our behavior is often driven by emotions. A great software engineer knows how to create a product that will satisfy both the final user and the client’s business needs while fitting in existing business processes.

Healthy skepticism

Hoping for the best, preparing for the worst. A great programmer knows to test and inspect every part of the program before trusting it. Where a good programmer may ignore an imperfection, a great one will make sure that it doesn’t cause a bigger problem in the future by addressing it now. It’s not perfectionism but ensuring that everything works as it's supposed to.

When talking about what distinguishes a great software engineer from a good one, it is important to remember that there are essential software engineering skills that we assume both kinds of engineers have. It includes profound education, practical experience, attention to detail and an analytical mindset focused on problem-solving. The list can go on and on, but these are the basics that are essential for anyone who wants to become a software engineer expert.

Here at Trio, we value the talent in our engineers. We hand-picked and put together a highly-skilled, knowledgeable, and experienced team of software engineers that we are proud of. You can find out more about our teams here or tell us about your project and have us tailor a team for it.