Necessary qualities of a programmer for which they pay
How do they choose cinema, restaurant and football, and what does the programmer have to do with it?
I hope it’s not a secret for you that going to the cinema is not only about watching a movie, lunch at a restaurant is not only about food, but playing football with friends is not only about sports. Moving along the chosen plot, we always involuntarily note the details, which sometimes make up to 80% of the impression.
Is the session schedule convenient? Did the movie start on time? How many ads were there? How comfortable are the chairs? And what is the sound quality? Were you lucky with the neighbors – or were they munching and rustling chips again?
In the restaurant, another line of related experiences awaits us: meeting, waiting for the menu, serving dishes, the promptness of the waiter and his manner of service.
On football: the presence of balls, the quality of the parquet, the amenities in the locker room and in the shower, the presence of a bar nearby (this is if you haven’t played with friends for a long time;)
When you choose a movie, you are actually choosing a cinema. Satisfying your need for food, choose a restaurant, and the desire to play football comes down to choosing a hall.
Why did I start with such allegories and how do they relate to the job of a programmer? Directly! Focusing on the technical skills of the profession is important, but only 20% of business people who hire you, hire you, or make other key decisions have the ability to evaluate them.
Most of your clients (including your employer) understand NOTHING in the code. They can only choose you after you provide them with a result. If you program them well and the program works as expected, then you can be chosen. If you do it badly, then you don’t have to choose.
But that doesn’t happen! You must be chosen BEFORE you show your impeccable technical skills. And it’s very difficult! Those very indirect signs of your professionalism come into play, which for some reason many programmers forget about, and some underestimate their significance or do not take into account at all.
But what to do so that among all applicants for the fulfillment of an order or a specific position in a corporation, you are chosen?
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You are welcome. No one requires you to kiss the gums with the customer, but everyone has basic needs for empathy. If you are lack of initiative and indifferent – do not count on the fact that orders will flow like water. The customer should be pleased with you. An energetic voice, active listening techniques and an inner positive attitude will help you with this.
You are in touch. Your natural involvement in the work process helps the customer to assess the motivation and make a decision in your favor. If it is difficult to get through to you or you shy away from online communication, get a minus. It’s like watching a movie on a bad internet. Failure of communication and a positive attitude as it never happened. Do not force the customer to focus on your search – just be in touch. It’s easy!
You are acting like an expert. What is characteristic of this position? In it you offer solutions. Trying to find them even if you don’t know the answer right now. You ask questions, reason, think for the client and with him. You know how to explain your position, but do not hold on to it if you understand that it is erroneous or simply not appropriate in this context. You are CO-cooperating: sit in the same boat with the customer and sail, overcoming obstacles. You are in control of the boat.
You are responsible. You warn about failures, force majeure and other anomalies in the service process. In general, you try to avoid deviations, but if something went wrong, then put the customer in the know and try to correct the situation. This includes deadlines, underestimation of the scope of work, problems with finding a solution (it doesn’t work, but you try). If there is a problem, then you do not hush it up, but bring it up for discussion as early as possible. If there are problems, you try to act on the principle of minimizing losses for the customer.
You achieve business objectives. Tomorrow you will not suddenly fly to Bali, leaving the project unfinished, and you will interpret the approved TOR solely from the standpoint of achieving your goals and realized consumer value. How to show the customer that you own this quality even before the start of work? Give him the contacts of your recommenders, show a portfolio with completed projects or cases on similar tasks. Send links to the repository with the source codes of your solutions, show reviews from customers. They will tell you better and more eloquently about your merits than you yourself. And don’t try to formalize everything – you still won’t succeed, but you can pass for an IT Old Believer and a bureaucrat.
You are patient and patient. You are comfortable with questions about your qualifications. Avoid swagger, arrogance and arrogance towards users. With understanding, you accept the feelings of the business regarding the result of the work and the development process. Avoid the phrases “stupid accountants”, “inadequate bosses” and believe that any questions come to you as a request for help, and not with the aim of getting on your nerves.
You are not indifferent. How to show this quality to a simple, stern man in plaid pants with a fashionable beard? After all, sometimes you really want to brush aside an annoying customer with a pile of technical specifications and hide behind a monitor! Find out the problems, delve into the details and, as you immerse yourself in the task, reveal your experience and cases worked out by practice. Do not abandon the customer after implementation. Stay in touch with advisory services and technical support, all of which will pay off with repeat referrals and referrals.
What to do with it?
The good news for you is that each of these qualities can be developed in yourself. Nothing complicated here, in fact, no. Another good news is that many programmers consciously distance themselves from the development of these skills, considering it something shameful and / or inappropriate in relation to the developer profession. It is more convenient for them to take the position of a techno-geek, to put aside everything related to communications, self-presentations and all of the above.
Well, it’s their personal choice. A programming genius will remain just another mediocrity unless he can prove otherwise to those who are willing to pay for his genius. The customer will be more willing to choose a restaurant with a menu that is understandable to him, fast service and a pleasant interior, because it is in such establishments that most likely there will be excellent cuisine! And he won’t even look into a cinema without a poster, however, as well as into a remote gym on the outskirts of the city, where he can’t get through.
And in this position there is an advantage for you – all those who strive for development and self-improvement, who are open not only to technology, but also understand that in the end, they do their work for people.