The digital world expands and evolves continually rapidly, and companies need software engineers that see beyond current possibilities. Engineers who can envision and create new digital dimensions that will position your business for future success.
One would think that having the right technical skills is required to be a great software developer. Even though it is a critical component, there are more characteristics to consider when hiring a software developer who will be the best fit for your organization.
Which characteristics should I look for when I hire a software engineer?
Software engineers are specialists in their field of expertise. However, they do not function in isolation. They often have to work in cross-functional teams and develop solutions that will address the needs of their end-users.
Given the collaborative nature of their work, developers need to have the right set of soft skills and technical expertise. They must also work in a setting that will enable them to express their engineering creativity and deliver the highest quality work.
When you want to fill a position, make the most of the hiring process. Discuss and understand all of the attributes which will set the software developer and the organization up for success.
Which soft skills should a software engineer possess?
Humility and a positive attitude
Engineers must be humble in their own achievements and realize that they do not know everything. They should be eager to learn and open to receiving feedback and input from other team members. A developer must be willing to work collaboratively and respect others. This will create an inclusive, positive work atmosphere where the team can support each other and be successful as a whole.
Creativity and solutions-orientated
A software developer must analyze complex problems and find the best possible solutions for the end-user. They must be willing to think differently and look at the problem from various perspectives. This will create a culture of creative thinking and a solutions-driven team that is client-focused.
Open, clear, and honest communication is the cornerstone of an effective team. Software engineers must have the ability to express themselves, ask for clarification, share information, and listen with an open mind. Effective collaboration and optimal software solutions are not possible without in-depth team communication. It will set the team apart from others.
Passionate and enthusiastic
Software engineers who are passionate and enthusiastic about their work will always look for groundbreaking solutions to address their end-users needs. They have a positive energy that ignites the flame in others. They inspire and raise the overall quality and performance.
Teamwork and collaboration
Team-focussed developers will make the success of the team their top priority. They will work hand in hand with all role players to develop optimal solutions. This will result in a high-performing development team that supports and trusts each other, are inclusive, can constructively challenge ideas, have open communication, delivers on promises, and work for something bigger than themselves.
Considering the fundamental impact these skills have on an individual, team, and ultimately business performance, it is vital to select candidates that strongly display the abovementioned characteristics.
In addition, the right candidate must also demonstrate the appropriate technical skillset aligned with the job requirements.
Which technical skills must I look for when I hire a software engineer?
The skills and languages a software engineer must have depend on the specific job requirements. Therefore, it is important to define the job description and the skills you are looking for in an engineer.
There is increasing market demand for certain skills. When hiring developers, look for:
Knowledge of cloud-based platforms
There is a worldwide trend of companies switching to the cloud because of ease of use, cost reduction, scalability, and reliability. With this future view in mind, developers need to have sound knowledge of cloud platforms such as AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud.
Expert in big data and algorithms
A great software engineer understands how data can be organized and used to solve real-life problems for the end-user. Data structures and algorithms are at the heart of software development, and the demand is set to grow exponentially.
New applications are being developed continually, and your ideal candidates should be experts in the world of big data and artificial intelligence.
Knowledge of multi-languages
Specific technical skills
When you interview possible candidates, it is important to gauge their expertise and determine whether it is aligned with the specific job. Well-rounded developers should possess a vast range of technical skills, including elements of:
- Git (source control)
- SQL/Oracle (database)
- Linux (servers)
- Computer network fundamentals
- Docker/Kubernetes (there is an emerging trend in utilizing containers during app development)
It goes without saying that a comprehensive hiring method is key in hiring a software engineer with the essential soft and technical skills who will be a great fit for the job, your team, and the organization’s culture. To achieve this, you will have to think differently about the method.
How can I hire the best software engineer?
Many companies are in the market to hire a good software developer. You need to make sure your company rises above the noise to attract top candidates.
The normal submit your resume, write a compelling cover letter and have a striking portfolio will no longer set you apart in a world fighting for top talent. It will not attract that sought-after, visionary developer who will position you as a leader in the field of software engineering. It would be best if you were different. Consider an interview method that includes various aspects.
Have a clear and concise job description. Candidates do not want to wonder what they will be doing at your organization. If you are specific, they will know exactly what would be expected of them, and if they have a passion for the specific role, they will apply.
Have a real conversation
Use the interview process to really build rapport and understand the candidate.
Ask what the person’s passions and strengths are and in which role they would express their engineering creativity and create value. Involve some of the team members they will be working with to see if the person will be a good fit and will “gel” with the team dynamic.
Ask what the person’s expectations are regarding compensation, flexibility, challenging work, career progression, training needs, and recognition. If it is not aligned with the organization’s vision, goals and culture, the candidate might not be a good fit.
Use this opportunity to gauge the person’s technical expertise and their soft skills and personal values to ensure a long-term career that is beneficial to the individual, team, and company.
Make it exciting and challenging.
When hiring developers, break away from the normal portfolio review and question and answer sessions. Challenge the candidate – do an online assessment and dummy development to ascertain the level of expertise and give the candidate a feel for your team’s work.
This will show that it is a professional company that thinks differently and is willing to challenge the status quo – some of the most important attributes an outstanding software developer should have.
Once you have attracted the right developer for your business, it is important to create an environment where they can excel.
How can I set my software engineers up to excel?
Any new software engineer will take some time to find their feet in the development team and the project portfolio. You can create a setting where the engineer can settle easily, feels included, has a sense of purpose, and start to add value.
Take time to do proper onboarding. It necessitates some upfront investment but will have significant value in the long term. Focus on key elements such as the roles and responsibilities of team members, workflow and processes, resources required, expectations, standards, clients, projects, and the organization’s values and culture. It will lead to a sense of belonging and purpose and enhance productivity and morale.
Have an open discussion on possible training requirements and draft a plan to close any training gaps. This will inspire confidence to do the job and a sense that the company values personal growth and development.
Allocate a project to the software developer that falls within their skillset and expertise. Encourage teamwork and collaboration and ensure they have the necessary support to complete the engineering project. This will lead to a feeling of achievement and team cohesion. It will also highlight any possible development areas.
All software engineers are the same. Definitely not! Make sure you appoint software engineers who have the full spectrum of all relevant skills. Engineers who are the best fit for your company goals, culture, and your team. These are the professional engineers who will make your organization a leader in software development.