4 Professional Attributes Of Great Programmers

It’s just a fact that different individuals embody different character traits, and with computer programmers, it’s no different. Some of these characteristics can, in fact, extrapolate and reflect certain aspects of your professional self that can be quite relevant in the corporate world. This article will look at four professional attributes found in great software engineers.


Professionals must be reliable, period. The reality is, in the corporate world, “on time” is late – early is on time! Despite the fact that work environments are much more relaxed nowadays, let’s admit it: whether you show up on time has an impact on your reputation. Everybody sees when people clock in late – some just pretend they didn’t notice. Likewise, when a deadline is due, that means it’s due. Failing to meet deadlines carries a heavy burden on one’s image and may pose career challenges that are difficult to overcome. To prevent this, make sure to brush up on your time management skills and prioritize tasks appropriately. 

Attention to details

Being attentive to details is especially important for computer programmers. Ensuring even the most microscopic details are taken care of is a must in today’s world, as everything you do involves software interaction at some level. Cars, for example, carry millions of lines of code nowadays. It is not an exaggeration to say that, somewhere in that code, there is an if statement that defines whether the vehicle should deaccelerate when the break is pressed on. Similarly, banking applications contain complex logic to determine when money should leave one account and enter another. When lack of attention can cost millions of dollars, or even lives, you want to ensure you deliver your best every second and catch even molecular bugs in your code.

Continuous learning

Another aspect of great programmers is that they never stop learning. Technology never sleeps and is constantly evolving. New languages, frameworks, libraries, or updates are coming out almost every week! It does not mean that you have to stay on top of them and learn every little thing, but understanding industry trends is critical for survival in IT. For example, if everyone starts to move away from virtual machines and towards containerization, it might be a good idea to look into the new technology and, at least, get yourself acquainted with the basics. Similarly, if you notice your programming language of choice is in decline, it might be time to evaluate the market and choose something more modern and with better employability potential. 

Ability to work independently

This characteristic is essential in today’s professionals, especially when working remotely. Being capable of doing your work effectively without relying on support from others is vital. Great software engineers are also great researchers and can often find solutions quickly and independently. It doesn’t mean that it’s not okay to seek advice from others, but doing the homework before asking for help is critical. 

In conclusion

There are several factors that compose your professional brand, many of which go well beyond hard skills. The equation that defines excellence is multi-variable, having many aspects that directly affect how you are perceived in the workplace. Therefore, it is important to invest the time and effort, do a self-assessment to identify your weaknesses, and soften the hard edges of your professional self. Finally, to position yourself at the top of the competence hierarchy, you should be aware of the main variables and, more importantly, make sure you deliver perceivable value in the factors they outline.

About the Author

Luiz Parente is a senior software engineer who is passionate about systems design and technology. Having started his journey in computer programming at the age of 14, his core expertise is centered in solutions architecture with .NET technologies.

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