Starting Your Career off as a Developer: It’s Not Just About Code

This article was inspired by the work of Riann Nel.

Does this image sound familiar?

A programmer sits alone behind their desk in a dark room, a wall of computer screens in front of them. Nothing can break their workflow as they intensely focus on the strings of code displayed on their monitors. 

Let’s just say that this image is…inaccurate. Programming is not as solitary as fiction would have you believe; you’ll still need to interact with other people and work on teams to finish a project on time. 

Software development is about more than just the code. Keep reading to find out what else goes into this career.

Working With a Team 

This may sound cliché, but learning how to work on a team really is important for the beginning software developer. 

It’s possible to be part of a team but still work on your own, doing your own thing. However, it’s a fact that people work better on teams.

When people learn how to work as a cohesive unit, they can accomplish much more than they could by working separately.

Remember that teams fail or succeed together. You can pull your weight and have your part of the project be flawless, but if one of your other team members didn’t meet the deadline, all you have is an incomplete project. 

Working as a team means you help pull each other up and encourage each team member to keep working, even if that means that you need to take away some time from what you could be accomplishing.

And if you’re the one managing a team, you’ll need to keep a few other things in mind.

Developing Soft Skills

Simply put, soft skills are interpersonal skills that affect how you work. Even though you didn’t go to school to learn these skills, they’re still an essential part of software engineering.


Good communication ensures that there’s clarity between you and your boss on how a project is coming along. It also ensures your teammates know if you’re troubleshooting a problem and need their input. 

Communication also involves listening to what others are saying, which can prevent misunderstandings.

If you’re used to working on your own, clear communication may not be something that comes naturally to you. However, taking the time to form these good habits will help you succeed in your career.


This skill involves understanding other people and what they’re feeling. Part of being an empathetic person is putting those communication skills to good use. 

Empathy allows you to have much better relationships with co-workers, superiors, and clients. You’ll also be able to approach situations with other’s perspectives in mind. 


A career in programming makes this skill essential. With technology always changing and (hopefully) improving, you’ll need to be able to quickly adjust and be willing to learn new things.


Humility has multiple aspects to it. It involves being able to admit you’ve made mistakes and not assuming that you know everything. 

A humble is a breath of fresh air to employers because it means that they are coachable and willing to learn from their mistakes and the input of others. 

Advance Your Programming Career

If you can pick up and develop these soft skills, you’ll be setting yourself apart from other software developers. Employers want developers who aren’t just good at programming but also excel at working with people.

If you already have these skills, chances are there’s a company out there that would love to have you. Contact us at E-merge so that we can match you with that perfect company. 

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