What Makes a Good Developer?

November 12th, 2020
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Vova Bilyachat
Lead Developer
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In this installment of a multi-part series, Lead Engineer Vova Bilyachat shares some high-level thoughts on the characteristics of good programmers. He also discusses his own background in the industry, his thoughts on the best way to interview developers as well as some of his side-hustle projects.

A programmer's story from the front line

Programming is one of the core skills in development and bottom line runtime realities for so many businesses. When you’re delivering performance in commercial coding, it’s all about getting things right. What makes a great programmer? What happens working with projects? What are the realities of working with developers? What are the hard facts about programming with development teams? We asked our expert programmer, Vova, some critical questions about these very highly value-based issues. The responses were surprising, and highly informative. Vova gave us several insights into some of the tougher practical issues in development, direct from the coal face. This is not the simplistic picture of built-in smoothness you might expect, and you’ll see exactly why some developments go off the rails and some work to perfection.

A great programmer?

"Coding can be very demanding on multiple levels. This is Vova’s frontline programming reality in a nutshell: “If you look at big companies like Google, they don’t hire you for C# or Java. They hire you based on your current work. They ask about these and what’s your level, when testing algorithms or other stuff. So what I mean is choose what works for you. For me, what’s important are style and syntax. For instance I don’t like Ruby On Rails because of the syntaxes. A lot of great programs use Ruby and that’s fine, but I just don’t like it so I will never learn this language. I was doing C# for 13 years, then I tried Java. It was a bit harsh, but then I found the right tools, and now I like Java. I’m following my simple rule, if it makes me happy.”

Working on projects?

"Projects can be anything for programmers, and the working environment is critically important: “...From what I see, many developers just go in one direction. There’s some new trendy stuff, let’s try it on a big project, instead of going slowly and trying it somewhere else. After migrating from Europe, I did work for big companies here and startups. What I like is just that people are open to suggestions and that’s basically where I am.”

Teamwork and working with developers?

Development work for programmers is a mixed blessing, both in terms of coding work and outcomes. Some hard but highly relevant truths from Vova:

“If you like doing back-end, just do back-end, don’t bother with the front-end. What is important that most of the practices are similar, no matter which frameworks. The terminology is similar. What’s hardest in a development job is to communicate with each other and find a common sense. There are lots of great developers who are kind of independent. They pick up a task and just do it. They don’t care if it’s right or wrong. They close a ticket, and think that’s it, but later there is support, there’s other problems, it’s called complexity. As a team, you can write great code, but if it’s not readable, what’s the point of that?”

Important takeaways from Vova

Vova’s comments are a good all-round inside view of how and why development projects work or sometimes catastrophically don’t work. “...if it’s not readable, what’s the point of that?” says so much.

Development projects must be well-structured, using expert consultants, and with strong quality controls from day one. You need good teams, good communications, and strong skill sets. You need that professional knowledge base, backed up by proper project coordination and management.

If you’re looking for some help with a project, or at the teething stage and need some guidance, talk to Amplify. We can help with any issues, setting up your development project and working with you from inception to completion.

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