As programmers, our core focus is essentially strictly logic. We know how to create code that ties multiples individual pieces of a puzzle together to form a single cohesive application. But what about all of those pieces we tie together? It is good practice to be able to work with the other pieces of the application including the front-end and database development. These skills can be valuable in a pinch and also make you more valuable to your employer, which could open doors to further your career.
Simple front ends
As an example, in the beginning stages of a new web application, you are tasked with prototyping, so you spin up the code, and you need to create a quick mock-up of the interface for testing purposes. You could ask the graphic designer, but that would take time away from their tasks to create a simple form, and during that time you are in wait-mode anyway. This isn’t an efficient approach and if you had a general understanding of front-end development, creating a simple mock-up wouldn’t be an issue. Although this is just an example, it illustrates that efficiency, and possibly career advancement, can be had by branching out of your comfort zone a bit. In an industry where most costs are based on time, and programmers are paid based on skill, efficiency on the business side is extremely valuable.
Another useful skill to have is knowledge of the database. As a developer you will almost always have to write queries or interact with the database in one way or another, but what about the actual data structure? Whether planning a modification to an existing system or a completely new application, data will always be a consideration. During that part of the analysis, you could pass it over to someone else – and some companies do actually do this – or you could identify the possible solutions yourself and submit them for review. Aside from that, knowing how data is linked is also extremely valuable. Understanding how keys and constraints work can save headaches later on.
Understanding usability saves a lot of time, too, if used correctly. Even a basic understanding of application-usability proves extremely valuable. If you take usability into consideration while actually developing an application, you can place items the user interacts at intuitive locations from the start. This saves time for the designer, which means that the final polishing can be completed faster.
Aside from usability, there is another skill that helps save even more time. That skill is testing and quality assurance. This doesn’t mean actively performing product testing, this simply means keeping an eye out for bugs, defects, and undesired behavior during development. Continuously passing an application through QA and fixing defects consumes large amounts of time. In some cases, the QA process can even take as long as initial development! QA is a core part of the development cycle, but minimizing the amount of issues that get discovered by the QA team translates to direct and substantial time savings.
The last skill I want to mention doesn’t actually relate to development itself. This one has to do with speaking with clients. As a developer, there may be times when you have to speak with a client directly. Sometimes, it is to help with your analysis or to propose a solution to a problem, or at other times to get additional clues while investigating an issue. Speaking informally and candidly with coworkers is one thing, but when speaking with actual clients, keep in mind that speaking with confidence and assurance goes a long way toward convincing people that you are knowledgeable. Instead of, “I don’t know,” try “I’ll run that by the team and get back to you with a more concrete answer.”
These skills can go a long way in making you a more well-rounded and independent developer as well as an even greater asset to your company. Since they also make you much more valuable as an employee, your bottom line may be impacted, too! These skills translate to direct cost savings for clients as well as lower development costs for your company. These are the skills employed by all team members at Palm Beach Software Design, which leads to expertise and value for clients.
About Palm Beach Software Design
Palm Beach Software Design is comprised of a small, tight team of software and business professionals dedicated to growing businesses up to $75M by helping them to improve their potential by making operations more efficient, increasing sales and public impact, and modernizing for today’s business climate using technology and software as a basis. We are process-driven, with high standards of excellence, and a dedicated staff. We have been in business for 30 years, and although we are a Florida-based company, we serve clients throughout North America. Please contact us at 561-572-0233 and visit us on the web at www.palmbeachsoftware.com to learn more about how Palm Beach Software Design, Inc. can help your business get that competitive business advantage.