What it means to be a coder changes every year. Not only do you need hard skills (tech abilities), you also need soft skills, which concern the more human aspect of work.
1. The ability to take risks.
Because projects can fail, it’s smart to have multiple streams of income. For example, if you design websites, have multiple projects going on at the same time. It is risky to take on a new project that you’re unsure will succeed. However, it’ll pay off in the long run because your income is diversified.
Get in the habit of making semi-predictable decisions and dealing with the loss. You must get comfortable with losing time or money on a project. The more comfortable you become, the more risks you’ll be able to take.
If you start a project – say, a game – and it fails, figure out what went wrong. Write down everything you can improve next time, and steps you can take to prevent the same things from going wrong. Then try again.
Even if a project fails, there is always something to learn from it. There will always be a next time as long as you don’t overextend on a project. By have multiple projects at once, you prevent yourself from overextending.
Be open to the risk it takes to accept new projects.
In a world where the value of ‘me’ grows every day due to social media, your personal marketing skills become more important to your success as a coder. Not only are you marketing your skills – you’re marketing your personality.
A small business will look at what you’re like as a person to work with because they’ll be dealing with you every day. You have to be friendly but also know how to boast your talent.
Talking about yourself doesn’t have to feel sleazy. To be a tolerable – and better – self-promoter, simply talk about your projects and what you’re working on.
Be warm and open, and talk about your projects in a positive way. What you don’t want to do is spread negativity.
Self-promotion isn’t greedy. If you do it correctly, it is but a conversation.
As technology changes, you have to keep learning. If you work at a small business or tech company, you might get new management or change locations or working styles. You have to be adaptable to what life throws you. I say, this keeps life interesting!
4. Clear Communication
As a coder, understanding your team is crucial when working on projects. To deliver effective communication, think before you speak. When you talk to someone in person, bide your time before blurting out a response.
You can use the objects around you to fill time while you mentally form a clear response. When you meet someone for coffee, use your coffee cup to distract the person with an action while you think.
Alternatively, say, “Hmm, that’s a good idea,” and pause for a second. This shows your conversation partner that what they said requires your reflection. They’ll appreciate this – people love it when you think about what they say.
Of course, the way you offer communication varies with each situation. While going out for coffee with friends, you can respond slower and sit more casually than when you’re at a job interview that requires you to be professional and ready to answer.
If you do have miscommunication with someone, get feedback from the person on what you can alter so that the same miscommunication doesn’t happen again.
5. Long-Distance Communication
Not only do you have to be able to communicate clearly in person, you also have to be able to do so online. To maintain a close connection with a virtual team, set up a team chat. A team chat is a chatroom where you can talk to your team members.
A team chat is a great place to share information about your project or have a bit of fun. Because technology is so prevalent in our daily lives, it’s only natural to have a digital conversation with your coworkers about topics. You can post anything like funny videos or gifs in this team chat.
There are many different programs that you can use for team chat. We at Mammoth Interactive use Discord, which allows us to categorize our conversations.
6. Divergent Thinking
Get inspiration from outside your field. Even if you’re a coder, this doesn’t mean you have to only watch coding tutorials. Learn about an adjacent topic, such as design. This will allow you to cross-pollinate your ideas and skills, which will increase your creativity.
Even if you think, “I never use this skill at my job,” you’ll surprise yourself by being able to apply a seemingly unrelated skill that you watched a short tutorial on. Fast, compact courses are great for this. We have many courses perfect for this kind of learning, including:
- Make a Game Background in Adobe Illustrator for Beginners
- Beginner’s Guide to 3D Modelling 14 Low Poly Buildings for Games
Divergent learning and thinking will make you better at reverse-engineering ideas. After all, it’s been said there’s no such thing as a new idea but rather the same one changed around for the times.
Reverse-engineering is like taking apart a clock and rebuilding it. It means getting inspiration from what’s popular in order to stay relevant and, well, in business.
To learn more about skills that will better yourself as a candidate in your field, enrol in our Soft Skills course.
- Writer of blog posts and books at Mammoth Interactive. Can also be found posting to Mammoth Interactive's social media.