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Top Software Developer Skills You Need to Have: How to Improve them

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16th Aug, 2021
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Top Software Developer Skills You Need to Have: How to Improve them

Software engineering applies standard engineering principles to understand customer requirements and design, develop, modify, test, debug, and maintain software. Software engineers possess solid mathematical, statistical, logical, and analytical skills along with a computer science/information science degree. 

Since computer science touches nearly every industry today, the demand for skilled software engineers is at an all-time high. If you, too, hope to enter and excel in this profession, you must acquire all the requisite skills that make a good software engineer. Furthermore, the technical industry evolves quickly, so you must continually update your knowledge base and skills.

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Like any other profession, software engineers also possess a combination of technical and soft skills. Now, without further ado, let’s take a look at some in-demand software engineering skills. 

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Top Programming Languages Software Engineers must know

Programming is a fundamental software engineering requirement. So, here are a few trending and high-paying programming languages that you should learn:

1. Python

Python is one of the most popular programming languages.  It is an open-source language that engineers use for general programming purposes. Python can automate memory systems, which means that engineers don’t have to keep manual tabs on the memory system. Moreover, it offers a dynamic feature set, which is portable across different operating systems. Apart from having an English-like syntax, Python also comes with a host of excellent libraries. 

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2. Java

Java is another trending language that has stayed relevant for over two decades. Although it comes with a steep learning curve, Java enables software engineers a reliably stable, design-friendly, and safe programming language to build web applications smoothly.

3. SQL

SQL  stands for Structured Query Language. It has been in use for more than 30 years now. It is the most widespread language. It is a programming language used to communicate with relational databases. The core components of SQL are data manipulation language, data control language and data definition language. SQL helps in retrieving large data quickly and efficiently.

4. Ruby

Ruby was developed in 2011 as an object-oriented language. It allows developers to build robust and scalable programs. This open-source language utilizes automatic memory management to support multiple programming paradigms features. It is often paired with the Ruby on rails framework.

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5. C++

C++ is an upgraded version of C programming, which was created to add object orientation to the C programming language. The major up-gradation happened in programming methodology, operator overloading, exception and error handling. It has the ability to do both; mid and high-level programming. 

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Other relevant skills for software engineers 

1. Problem Solving and Mathematical Aptitude skills

Software development requires a basic understanding of algorithmic work, graph theories, solving complex problems, mathematical aptitude, and performing research in the field of technology. Without having this knowledge, it would be pretty difficult for you to bag a well-paying job. Software developers must take a structured and analytical thinking approach to craft innovative solutions to business problems. 

2. Coding skills

Coding is a crucial aspect of every software developer’s job description. Software developers may choose to master different languages or gain niche programming skills for specific use cases such as game development, mobile app development, full-stack development, etc. You must create software applications from scratch and hence, you need to be familiar with different operating systems as well. Hone your coding skills by working on unique projects, following the code of experienced developers, and participating in hackathons. 

3. Time management and organizational skills

As a software developer, time management skills are a must. You must learn how to prioritize different projects, software issues, and address them accordingly. An organized approach to work helps you and your team to meet deadlines without compromising on the product quality. Plus, the more efficiently you manage your time, the less stressed out you will feel. 

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4. Attention to details

A software developer must pay attention to details and identify the scope for improvement in existing software. Even a small glitch or bug in a software application can put the system in a disarray. Thus, testing and debugging demand undivided attention and efficiency on the part of software developers.  

5. Understanding the market 

Software developers must have a fair understanding of the industry as a whole to understand where they fit and how they can solve the challenges of the employer organisation. Also, when you possess extensive market knowledge, you can easily identify areas of expansion by looking at customer/market trends and develop software products that will sell.

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6. Teamwork

Software developers/engineers often work as a part of a team, especially during their initial years. So, it’s important to don a sporty attitude and work alongside your colleagues. Respect the ideas others bring to the table while also articulating what you have in your mind – this helps to develop a more comprehensive solution to any problem.

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How to improve Software Engineering Skills?

  • Additional Training

It would be best if you considered advancing your technical skills through certification courses and online courses. For instance, upGrad’s  Master of Science in Computer Science course offers six unique specializations. In a span of 19 months, you will gain in-depth knowledge of software development concepts while working with the latest tech tools and programming languages. In addition, you will have one on one interaction with faculty members and industry leaders.

You can also attend seminars, webinars, and communication workshops to sharpen your industry knowledge.

  • Read books

Books are a staple when it comes to expanding your theoretical knowledge. If you’re a beginner, opt for beginner-level books on coding practices, software development, etc. However, if you have a few years of experience, feel free to experiment with books that teach advanced engineering concepts and approaches. 

  • Involve yourself with the Technical Community

Most programming languages and software frameworks come with active communities. Choose your preferred programming language and become a part of that community. It will help you engage and interact with peers and experienced coders who can help you solve a wide range of programming challenges. You can always reach out to the community if you face any problems while working on your projects. 

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Wrapping Up

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Software development promises a bright future scope in India. The pay is high and the career progression is quite fast. Companies of all shapes and sizes are hiring software developers as they transition to the digital domain. So, if you wish to capitalize on this opportunity, enrol in a professional training program and acquire the necessary skills. 

If you’re interested to learn more about Software Development, check out Master of Science in Computer Science from LJMU which is designed for working professionals and Offers12+ Projects & Assignments, 1-ON-1 With Industry Mentors, 500+ Hours Of Learning.


Pavan Vadapalli

Blog Author
Director of Engineering @ upGrad. Motivated to leverage technology to solve problems. Seasoned leader for startups and fast moving orgs. Working on solving problems of scale and long term technology strategy.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1 What are the three most essential skills that are required to be a top software developer?

Three most essential skills are: 1. Mathematical Aptitude, 2. Problem-solving skills, 3. Programming language.

2 Do you need to know coding to become a software developer?

Yes, you need to have basic knowledge about coding and programming to become a software developer.

3 Can software engineers work from home?

Yes, if you have access to your programming software and good internet speed, you can efficiently work from home.

4Who is a Software Engineer?

A software engineer is in charge of a team of programmers who write code. Professionals in this field create, design, and test software programmes. They use engineering concepts in the software development process. They create software for computers, smartphone applications, cloud-based services, and online applications using programming languages such as C, Java, and Python. To ensure that applications function successfully, they collaborate with other tech experts such as web developers, coders, and product testing specialists. Planning the method and technique to generate software, making models that represent the many aspects of programmes, testing software to find and rectify flaws, and collaborating with software developers and testers are all common tasks of a software engineer.

5Which companies hire Software Developers?

Software development is an integral aspect of practically any company's business process, and career possibilities for software developers are plentiful. Software programmes are used by healthcare personnel to store, manage, and retrieve vital information such as patient medical histories and records. Software applications are used by businesses to communicate with their consumers and provide customer assistance. Programs are created by software developers to measure sales, promote companies, and manage merchandise. In the IT industry, software engineers are in great demand. These businesses engage software engineers to construct and programmer the software that they sell to their clients. Software engineers are hired by research and development organizations to handle their data and systems.

6Why do software developers need mathematics?

Mathematics is not necessary for most software engineering work, but it won't harm to have some knowledge of the subject. While there may not be much material immediately convertible between math classes and regular software engineering activities, the process of studying and performing arithmetic helps you develop critical problem-solving abilities. Fundamentally, software engineering is developing code and building software systems to solve problems. Similarly, addressing issues in mathematics, especially proof-based mathematics, entails producing a series of valid claims in mathematical language. Outside of programming, software engineers may improve their critical thinking abilities by participating in a variety of activities.