3 Common Misconceptions About Software Developers
Most companies need software in one way or another. It may be part of their website, an app, webshop, or social media management. Software is built to easily manage our daily lives. We browse the web in search of new clothes. We try to get healthy with the help of our smartwatch, or we use a robot to vacuum our homes. All with the help of software.
Software plays a crucial part in our society. But when it comes to developers, there are still a lot of misconceptions. We’ve asked three software developers from the Squads community to get a better understanding of common misconceptions: Phillip Hoffmann of P&T Software, software developer Tiziano Perrucci, and Dmitry Evseev of Squads. Are they awful communicators? Do they live a secluded life? Are they always on top of their game? Let’s find out!
1. Software developers aren’t great communicators
Wrong! This is a stereotype that easily comes to mind when people think about software developers. Software developers aren’t any worse at communication than the average human being. In fact, they might be above average communicators.
Communication plays an important role in software development. Phillip: “Developers need to communicate well with their clients and team members. It’s important to minimize communication issues and ask the right questions at the right time.”
One thing is clear though when it comes to development. “Everyone has to understand the vision of the product that has to be built, but also the requirements and needs of your teammates. If you’re the product manager, the person that communicates with the client, you need to understand both the client’s perspective and that of the developers,” explains Phillip.
Like every other project or campaign, communication should always flow in multiple directions. You can’t expect to create a flawless final product without going back and forth a few times, discussing it with different parties involved.
The importance of communication is often underestimated by clients. Phillip explains that communication should be taken seriously at all times when developing software: “The time and effort that goes into thinking about what you want to build, rather than actually doing it, is immense. And if you don’t invest the time needed to define your goal, you’ll end up losing more time (and money) in the end.”
Tiziano adds to that: “Communication flows back and forth between people. As developers, we might have questions about why certain features need to be built, and the client might also have questions about certain aspects of the software. Such as how processes work etc.” He stresses that developers need to have a certain level of communication skills and also like working with computers.
Working with teams from Squads is different from working with employees. Most of the Squads team members are entrepreneurs themselves. They go out of their comfort zone more often and have a different mindset when it comes to building software for clients. “What Squads team members don’t like is to get handed over tasks and get told what to do. We think like entrepreneurs when we start building software. Therefore we keep on asking questions and don’t just do what we’re told,” Tiziano tells us.
2. Most developers choose a secluded life
Wrong again. It’s a known fact that software development is all about computers. Dmitry: “If you would like to learn about software development, you’ll probably spend more time than your working day on the computer. But just like any other human being, you have a life outside of work. It really depends on how you manage your work-life balance.”
So, can we say that most developers choose a secluded life? Not really. “In order to entertain yourself outside of work, you might go digital. Watch Netflix or Youtube. That might sound secluded, but we may get fed up with the computer and we need a break from it. Over time our interests develop in another way, into different areas. Such as hiking or working out in the gym,” Dmitry explains.
While software development might sound as a secluded job, it’s not. Developers are actually more productive when they work in pairs. For instance, it helps them with unfamiliar programming problems. Phillip tells us that: “In some cases, people develop great software on their own. However, almost everything that turns out to be of practical use will involve a team effort.”
Especially in remote working. If you aren’t able to communicate, you’re making it hard for your colleagues to understand what you’re doing. Tiziano has advice for people that struggle with communication: “If communication is not your cup of tea, just try. You’ll eventually get there.”
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3. Software developers are always productive
Not true. There’s a wide variety in the productivity of software developers. Even more so than in other careers. In every field there are people that are really good at what they do, and people that might be better suited to do another job. In software development, productivity is hardly restricted by physical limitations, in contrast to for example construction work.
Phillips’ take on this is that: “A person could be 50% more productive at his or her [construction] job because they are more experienced. In software development, people can easily be ten times more productive.”
Some companies, like Google, take this effect into account in their HR policies. “That’s why they pay developers well. They know that these developers offer high value, and in the end, it all comes down to that. You’d rather pay really good software developers, than average ones. If a developer is ten times more productive, they don’t demand ten salaries, so it’s eventually more cost-effective to hire the best developers,” Phillip explains.
However, a downside to software development is that it can become a routine job. Boring maybe even. And when things become boring, you might become unproductive. Dmitry offers some advice: “A good developer sees beyond the routine and isn’t afraid of it. A routine might manifest itself in everything that we do. All the technical tasks become the same after a while. But if you look beyond the routine, you’ll see opportunities to learn something new. Especially if you have a passion for software development.”
We’ve seen several Squads community members automate less interesting development tasks in frameworks or code generation tools. This might be one of the secrets of the high productivity of great developers.
Keep in mind that software development is an ongoing process. After it’s built it needs to be tested, automated, etc. It takes time, but try to see that as a blessing. When you take enough time and think everything through, you’ll end up with the best end result.
Looking for a great company to develop your software? Plan a free Roadmap Discovery call with Squads to find out how our teams build your ideas.