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By Mikel Lindsaar

What Makes a Great Developer?

I must say, it made me smile when I heard of a prospective client who called in last week saying, “I’ve been looking to hire a senior Rails developer and you guys seem to have all the best ones.” Now, of course we will work with her to fill in any gaps and help her onboard new developers, as we have done for many other clients.

But it really validates our hard work to create a workplace that attracts some of the top talent in the country. We pride ourselves on our approach to remote work, team accomplishment and happiness.

I’ve been asked a few times, what does it take to become a developer at reinteractive, and definitely we need technical skill, but that’s a given.

You see, just coding won’t get you across the line in every case. There are too many variables to take into account. Most of the time, the variables that hit you the most are the ones that have “nothing” to do with the code base; like client deadlines, the client running low on runway, features being demanded by a big contract, friends of the client giving them advice that doesn’t take into account all the factors. All sorts of things.

In fact, we have NEVER had a project end up being exactly what was envisioned at the start of the project, it has required communication, lots of it. The old saying that a plan never survives first contact with the enemy seems to be true even in software development. There’s always more features to add, more functionality possible and there’s always a great innovation right around the corner that will add another 10% to your bottom line.

So, what makes a great developer or team? Technical skill and knowledge of the language is absolutely a must. Nothing happens without technical skill. There’s a factor that we value at reinteractive over many other things, which you probably won’t find in such abundance elsewhere, and that’s communication.

It is a skill we can’t stress heavily enough at reinteractive. It’s part of the training for new team members. We’re a group of 40 odd people now, and we all work remotely. To work effectively, we must maintain high levels of communication between ourselves and our clients, so that we can meet project targets and exceed our customer’s expectations.

So, want to be a great developer, or want to hire a great developer? Make sure the technical skill is there, do a reference check on their past employer about their ability and frequency of communication like we do, and get them to explain some technical problem they ran into in plain English.

Best of luck!

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