Essential Skills for Developers

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Essential Skills for Developers

Joash Xu
·Sep 1, 2022·

5 min read

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As a developer, you need to have many skills to succeed. Not only do you need to be able to write code, but you also need to be able to operate and maintain the computer, write and organize your code, and solve problems as they arise.

To become better at your craft, developing a strong set of supporting skills is crucial. In this article, I point out several skills to help you become a better developer.

While this list is not exhaustive, it will give you a good starting point as you continue your journey to become a better developer. I encourage you to take the time to learn and hone these skills; they will serve you well in your career.

The Shell

A shell is a powerful tool that can make your life easier. The shell is an environment that lets you interact with your computer using text commands. You can do amazing things with a few simple commands with the shell.

Many people treat the shell as a black box. They use it but don't understand it. And that's a shame. If you master the shell, you can take control and make your computer work for you.

There are two broad categories of shell commands you need to master. The first one is using the shell for basic operation. Operations like listing, copying, and deleting files and directories. The other category is the knowledge of the shell environment. You need to know about disks and filesystems and how to handle processes and schedule jobs. You also need to understand how to manage users and some network operations.

IDEs and Editors

As a developer, you spend hours in front of a text editor daily. So it is wise to invest in the skills that can help you work faster and more efficiently.

There are many IDEs and Editors out there. Each IDE and editor has its own strengths and weaknesses, so it's important to know which one will work best for the task at hand.

Personally, I use two IDEs and two editors. My primary IDE is PyCharm. When I need to do a quick code-build-debug cycle, I use Visual Studio Code (yes, I consider Visual Studio Code as IDE). For editing text, I use Sublime Text and Vim. So these are tools that I try to master.

In the end, finding an editor or IDE that makes you productive is essential. You need to find something you are comfortable using and stick with it. Once you have found your go-to editor or IDE, spend time learning all its features. With a bit of practice, you will be able to work faster and more efficiently than ever before.

Version Control System

Developers who want to be proficient in their craft should learn how to use a version control system. Version control is the practice of tracking and managing changes to software code. Version control systems are software tools that help software teams manage changes to source code over time.

In the programming world, git has become the go-to source code management system. It's used by developers for everything from tracking individual file changes to managing entire project histories. While git can seem intimidating at first, it's not that difficult to understand. With a bit of practice, you can get relatively productive. With all the powerful features, it's easy to see why it's so popular.

Debugging and Profiling

As a developer, you will bump into problems. This is why learning about debuggers and profilers is essential for developers. These tools help you troubleshoot issues with your code and identify performance bottlenecks.

There are several tools that help you to do this. One of the most well-known debugger is of course, gdb. It is widely available on many Unix-like systems. And it works for many programming languages, including C, C++, and Go. In Python world, you can use pdb for debugging and cProfile for profiling.

Of course, you can also use IDE for debugging. PyCharm and Visual Studio Code, for instance, are excellent for debugging. Both also allow you to optimize your code using profilers.

Debuggers and profilers are essential tools for any developer, regardless of experience level. By learning how to use them effectively, you can speed up your development process, identify and fix problems quickly, and improve the overall quality of your code.

Regular Expression

If you're a developer, there's a good chance you've heard of regular expressions before. They can make your life a lot easier, and it's worth taking the time to learn how to use them.

A regular expression or regex is a sequence of characters that specifies a search pattern in a text. With regex, you can quickly and easily find and fix errors in large chunks of text, or extract specific information from a document. So if you're looking to become a more efficient developer, learning regex is essential.

Shell Scripting

Many developers and programmers avoid learning shell because they think it is too difficult or complex. Me included. However, shell scripting is a handy skill to have, and it can be learned relatively easily.

Shell scripting is a programming language that lets you control your computer's operations by running scripts. Scripts are short programs that can be written in a text editor and executed from the command line.

Shell scripting is a powerful tool that can make your job as a developer easier. It can help you automate tedious tasks and make your work faster and easier.

Endnote

These skills are not specific to coding but rather general computer operation and maintenance. As you can see, there is a lot that goes into being a developer than just writing code. If you want to be the best developer you can be, it's important that you take the time to learn these essential skills. Have you worked on developing any of these skills? Are there any other essential digital skills you think every developer should know? Let me know in the comments below!

 
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