5 Important Things That Get Kick-Ass Developers Hired

  | 5 min read

Sell Your Skills More Competently

You probably dislike interviews. If it were up to you, you would simply provide a sample of your work alongside your CV and let them do the talking for you. You are not alone. However,  the reality is that everyone must face an interview at some point. Most people have poor interview skills but developers generally suck at interviews more than all other professionals. Even the really competent ones. In your case, perhaps you did not strike a good rapport with your interviewer, which is mainly because as a developer, you work so hard at getting awesome in coding you forget to hone your people skills.

Yes, you’re brilliant at code, you have spent hours sharpening your programming skills but technical skills are not all you need on the job. To pass those interviews that stand between you and your dream job, you need more.

Here are key skills you need to have, in addition to your technical skills:

  1. An active GitHub account with your best code


It’s not enough to have a GitHub account. Instead, have some of your best code in there. Your best code is clean, easy to read, it has an easy-to-follow directory structure naming, it’s not replicated, it obviously leverages open source because you can work well in a team or community, and it goes beyond tutorials.

You need to have a portfolio of your work and GitHub is the place where you do your practice and store that code you have been developing, to show potential employers. Do not start looking at the interviewer with confusion when asked for a portfolio of your work.

  1.   A complete app/website you have built from start to finish


Have a sample of your work and let it speak for you. Anyone can go to a coding school, complete four years of university doing computer science, enrol for online courses and learn code. These are not easy to do but can be done. However, in any industry, you’re recognised for your work, for results and not simply for what you know.

Employers want to see whether you can do what you claim you are good at doing. Therefore, apply what you know. Create something, enjoy creating it, be passionate about it, and showcase it. Let your work speak for you.

  1.   Knowledge of the trends in the market

Market trends

Get that industry business acumen! According to the Spiceworks state of IT 2017, there is continued increase in the buzz surrounding artificial intelligence, virtual reality and 3D printing. Developers, therefore, are required to have a combination of knowledge of the trends in the market in addition to their programming skills.

Go beyond classroom theory, know trends in the market and demonstrate to your interviewers that you’re able to find a relationship between the trends and their business.

  1.    Ability to confidently communicate tech in a non-tech manner

Communication skills

You speak code fluently and that is awesome. But so does every other good coder. What differentiates the good from the great is the ability to clearly communicate code in a non-code format. Tech speak to non-tech people simply amounts to buzzwords. They do not have an impact on them.

Use words familiar to them instead of geek speak, as you are likely to come across non-tech interviewers especially in the initial stages. Beyond this, once on the job you need to explain the software or app you have just built and guide others on the best way to use it, and you will have to do it using non-tech language.

  1.    Proven willingness to learn new things and learn from others


An increasingly sought-after skill is the willingness to learn. Why? You probably already know that the tech world is fast paced. You will need to learn new technologies, be ready for disruption and more importantly have the intuition to differentiate a technology that is going to be disruptive and one that is a passing fad.

How do you then prove you’re willing to learn?

Give examples of situations when you learned a new concept and applied it in a short time. Describe a time you went out of your way to learn from a peer or a junior. Explain that time when you made a mistake and what you did to recover from it. You’re good, you want to be better, you aim for greatness and you know this is a journey.

In the end, there are many great developers but what sets one apart from the other is the ability to use resources such as GitHub, communicate in a non-tech manner, know market trends, build simple apps from scratch and finally, be willing to learn constantly. In a fast-paced industry and world, it is important to be able to stand out from the rest. Your technical and non-technical skills must be top-notch.

 For a developer to get hired, It’s not enough to just write good code, you need to prove it.


Charity Murigi


    • Hi George,
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  1. Thanks for your great advice. What are the common questions asked in an interview for a mobile developer?

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