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Software Developer, 10 Traits of Top Performers

A top-performing software developer is as productive as three individual developers. So, when you are browsing through LinkedIn or already interviewing a candidate, make sure that you are eyeing the right one.

Every employer wants hard-working and dedicated developers to work on their projects. They can hire a team of three or more developers to gain the expected result. But for an early-stage startup, the budget may not be enough to hire many developers for a fast turnaround time.

Because of this, startup leaders would gladly opt to hire one or two top-performing developers instead of a team of five. These developers can work productively and efficiently, which most of the time equals the productivity of multiple software developers.

But the question is, who are top-performing developers? How do you find and determine one among the many choices?

Related Video: Building a Successful Software Team

What are the traits of outstanding software developers?

You will know an outstanding developer from a crowd of applicants with these software developer traits:

Always Curious

You must have heard or read this line many times, but a developer is naturally curious because learning is a constant fixture in their daily work development life.

Software is a component of technology, and technology is ever innovating and changing for the better, rapidly. If a developer stays stagnant and stop learning new tools and languages, they will be left behind.

To stay on-trend, they need to always be curious. What are the new updates in software development? Are there better tools and platforms?

Curious developers are eager to learn new technology. The tech industry always strives for innovation and learning new ways to improve lifestyles. Remember that software and other products of technology answer the problems of the modern world, just like how Bill Gates and Paull Allen created Microsoft.

In their time, personal computers need an interpreter for the platform. MITS Altair 8800 needed software to interpret its platform, and Microsoft was their solution.

If a software developer does not have a curious mind, then it will be difficult to discover problems. If they can’t find a problem, then they can find a solution that can help a lot of people.

Mastery of Programming Language

The skillset is one of the essential developer strengths. They should have top-tier skills to set the standard among their peers. Some say that a developer can gain the title of best and outstanding only if they have mastered at least one programming language. However, most companies prefer a polyglot.

For linguists, polyglots are people who have a high degree of fluency in multiple languages. For software development, a polyglot programmer can write valid code successfully, even with the use of numerous independent programming languages.

Polyglot programmers have at least the surface knowledge of programming languages, making it easier for them to choose which is best during the development process.

Test the skill and versatility of every applicant you get. Let them take as many tests from different programming languages. Don’t limit their examination to one programming language because you will never know their full range of skills and knowledge about programming. From their results, evaluate their capacity and skill level.

Good team player

If you need a team of developers, consider the attitude of every member of the team. Make sure that they get along well, understand their purpose, and their goal as a team.

Teams are units; they are a whole package. If one member fails and the others do nothing, your project is a major nightmare. During the interview, ask appropriate questions that can gauge the candidate on how they fare in a team.

You can start by asking if they were once in a group of developers working on one project. From there, you can ask about their experience and perception.


This trait is essential, especially if the developer will be working on multiple projects. As mentioned, technology is continuously and rapidly changing every year.

You will never know when the next innovation will be and how complex it is. There will be new frameworks, methodologies, languages, and libraries popping out at any time. A first-rate developer should know how to adapt to changes and quickly learn to form them.

Flexibility is also vital during the development process. Software development is not always predictable. There will be occurrences when something goes wrong during the development stage. If it so happens, your developer should not panic and go haywire. Instead, they need to cope and think of a solution.

Positive Attitude

A positive working environment resonates with every employee and boosts productivity, but a negative environment can kill productivity like a disease. Your choice of a software developer should have a positive outlook on the project and the company. How so? Observe these sentences:

Negative: The project is possible but difficult to accomplish.

Positive: The project is difficult but possible to accomplish.

A negative disposition at work only views the problematic and strenuous part of software development. But a positive attitude sees the problems and difficulties as a challenge to be surpassed.

Embracing mentorship

A curious developer is eager to learn and solve modern-day problems with the use of technology. Since a good developer is always hungry for knowledge, they are willing to learn from their peers and mentors. 

Do not confuse arrogance with confidence. There is a thin line between the two, making one a positive trait and the other the negative. Keep in mind that highly skilled developer is confident of their abilities, but they will not always be right. That is why they need mentorship.

Excellent Communication Skills

Communication is the key to a successful product. Yes, knowledge of coding is an essential factor for software programming. However, this skill is readily acquired. The ability to connect and relate to people is something you must be willing to undertake.

In software development, communication is the glue that strengthens the team. It is through effective communication that each member can convey their point with little to no misunderstanding.

With that, communication is not just about being a good speaker. Communication is a two-way process. One person sends the message, and the other receives and gives feedback. The former then receives the input from the latter.

P1 sends a message →  channel → P2 receives a message

P1 receives feedback ←  channel ←   P2 sends feedback

In this diagram, one is a speaker, and the other is the listener. Now, this is very important and something you should remember.

In communication, not everyone is a speaker. There should be one message sender and the other the message receiver. Chaos, misunderstanding, miscommunication, and failure arise when no one receives the message.

That is why excellent and effective communication should be present in a good software developer. Take into account your interview with a prospective developer. Do they listen carefully when you speak? Are they considerate of how they answer your questions?

Adheres to the Software Development Life Cycle

The software development life cycle (SDLC) is a comprehensive guide for developers to create custom software or other software products. Put simply; this is the basic guideline for development. SDLC presents phases in software development right from its inception to retirement.

This framework ensures a precise flow of data from level one to level two. Through the SDLC protocol, the whole development process is divided into phases, making it easier for developers to evaluate and execute each part.

A software developer should acknowledge and adhere to SDLCs to achieve a high level of management control and documentation.

SDLC helps each developer understand the software and determine its purpose. It unites the team in identifying their common goal and finding ways to achieve them. Other than that, it helps a unit of developers to find out the resources required to build the product and the cost it takes.

Critical Thinker

Remember how software programmers are driven to solve modern-day problems? Well, this is the trait that pushes them to be successful in what they do; these great developers are critical thinkers.

Critical thinking is the person’s ability to observe information keenly and use such information to make logical decisions. In the tech field, especially in software development, problems arise in unexpected situations. During this time, a programmer should be clear-headed.

When developers face problems along the way, they must weigh down the pros and cons of every action. The team must regroup and collaborate to come up with a viable solution.

A top-performing developer will remain level-headed and gather data on the situation. An objective assessment is performed, and a solution is deliberated.

Time and task management

The present generation of software developers significantly evolved from the past. Now, the projects they work on can impact different teams in a company. With that, developers should assign task priorities and manage their time wisely.

An indication of a good task manager is the presence of a daily to-do list. Tasks should be lined up and ready to be sorted out. The most manageable tasks should be accomplished immediately, so they don’t get stuck doing the more complex tasks.

A master developer knows what tasks to prioritize. These are tasks that can significantly affect other areas and businesses.

Related Video: Finding and Hiring Great Employees

How can you find one (or more)?

Top-performing developers are hard to come by. You’ll need to do a taxing job like sorting through applications, visiting LinkedIn and other job posting sites, and going through profiles. Why do this when you can visit a service provider?

For your software development needs, you can trust Full Scale. At Full Scale, we make sure that we have the best developers under our roof. Screening is meticulously done from recruitment to hiring.

Resumes play an essential role in hiring, but Full Scale views more than what’s on the surface. Candidates for Full Scale should have an 80% passing score or more, assuring quality over quantity.

There is no better time than now. Talk to us at Full Scale.

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