Beyond Coding: Skills Needed to Be a Software Developer

by | Nov 9, 2017 | News

Many schools today are teaching students the foundations of coding and robot programming. This opens up a whole new world of opportunities for the tech-savvy student.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, software developer jobs are expected to increase at a faster than average rate through 2024.

I’m the Vice President of Technology at, and I have worked in the technology industry for over 30 years. Although coding skills are indeed necessary for a career in software development, throughout my tenure, I’ve found that they aren’t the only requirements to be successful. Here are some additional key skills students need to have to be successful in the software development industry.

Collaboration and Communication

Knowing how to work well with others is the most important skill any developer needs. No matter how good their technical skills are, programmers need to be able to effectively work with other developers, managers, co-workers, and customers. Learning to collaborate, negotiate, tactfully express opinions, and work within a team environment is critical to many workplaces, and especially those involving software development. Facilitating group projects in the classroom is a great way to encourage collaboration and communication among your students.

Problem Solving

The work of a software developer is a never-ending effort of solving complex logical problems with ever-changing tools and technologies. Provide students with opportunities to work through problems, and you’ll be helping them develop a critical skill for any career they choose to enter.

Excitement for Technology

Do self-driving cars, virtual reality games, or robots excite your students? What about space exploration or reversing climate change? None of these advancements are possible without software development. Help foster excitement about the possibilities technology offers by providing students with the real-world experience and connection to what they’re working on in the classroom.

Passion for Learning

Software developers must learn new skills regularly, because of how rapidly the field changes. In just the past couple of decades, exciting new industries have been created, including Mobile and App Development, Artificial Intelligence, Cybersecurity, Internet of Things, and the list goes on. Ensure your students are going deeper with their learning by providing opportunities for them to apply what they’ve learned, whether through a project, journal, or other hands-on lesson.

You’re already doing a lot to help your students find success as a software developer. The basics like reading, writing, and math are all incredibly important to any industry, but particularly programming. Of course, foundational digital literacy skills such as keyboarding, word processing, and computational thinking are also critical to ensuring student success in our digital world.

To learn more about our complete digital literacy curriculum, click here.

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