beanz Magazine

Key Skills Programmers Should Learn

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There are several key skills that I believe you need to have if you want to be a software programmer.

The ability to learn concepts and apply them to other problems

An example of this would be the concept of writing cascading style sheets (CSS). The concept is to write styles which apply to the top level of a site and cascade down to the lower elements in the site / page. You would then write other style rules for levels below the top level of the page and they would cascade down too. This means if there is a general style that you need to change, which is used on every page, you can change it in one place and the change will cascade to all pages that use the style and that don’t override the rule with their own rules.

Basic mathematical skills

In programming, basic maths is unavoidable. You need to make sure you have a basic understanding algebra and arithmetic.

A passion for problem solving

Most of the time, as a programmer, you will be writing a programme to solve a particular problem. If you don’t enjoy solving problems, you won’t enjoy being a programmer. This could be a problem for you!

Good communication skills

There is a stereotype of a developer who sits in the corner on their own, not talking to anyone and just writing code. Some people are like this, but they do still have to communicate. If you don’t communicate well, problems will arise and this could cause tension for you or your colleagues. If you don’t like talking much face to face, become good at written communication to make up for it.

Good writing skills

Whether you are writing code or documentation, you need to be able to write in a way that gets your message across clearly. The ability to explain something complicated to someone non-technical will definitely help you and your colleagues in your career.

Confidence around a computer

This may seem obvious, but if you are thinking about becoming a developer, you will need to be confident with a computer. If you are too timid or afraid you might break something, it will hold you back.


I often tell people I got a degree from the university of Google, because most of what I know is the result of searching for the answer in search engines such as google. There is an art to searching for answers on the internet and it is a vital skill for any programmer.

An inquisitive mind

This will help you go far as a programmer. Find out how something is done and try to find ways to do it better. If you have an idea that you think will improve things, go away and investigate it.

Learn More

What Skills Do You Need to be a Programmer/Developer?

Also In The October 2016 Issue

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A short history of virtual and augmented reality with lots of links to learn more.

One thing programmers do all day is imagine. When someone asks them to solve a problem with code, they start thinking and dreaming.

There are several key skills that I believe you need to have if you want to be a software programmer.

What makes a programmer lousy is a good way to identify what makes a programmer great.

Virtual reality has brought to the masses an old problem with flight simulators: what happens when our brain, ears, and eyes disagree?

The dots and lines used in graph theory can solve interesting problems.

Links from the bottom of all the October 2016 articles, collected in one place for you to print, share, or bookmark.

Interesting stories about computer science, software programming, and technology for October 2016.