As many of us are aware, our careers come with upkeep. A professional today has to stay up to date with trends and changes within our respective industries. We live in a rapidly changing world and it’s not enough to have studied a topic in school. Staying current may mean reading industry publications (or our blog articles), attending seminars or conferences, and maybe even taking some classes at a community college. Yet, our technical skills are only a small subset of a much larger portfolio of skills that we need to maintain. The other skills are often referred to as “life skills.” Actually, one would be remiss to assume these don’t require upkeep as well. Within the world of web development, it’s well-known that the path forward is through learning about coding. But what are the less obvious skills that can be worked on? This article will highlight several areas that a web developerdevelopers can work on to improve their craft.
Become a Lifelong Learner
First things first, you’ve got to keep your mind in shape. As a web developer, you are constantly engaged with new concepts and techniques related to your field. One might be content to passively learn a few concepts and refer to the internet for information. But web development is a competitive industry and learning as much as possible can only help you get ahead.
Things you can take to achieve this are making a commitment to learning, becoming more methodical with your learning, and focusing better.
Making a Commitment to Learning
The first step, making a commitment to learning, means that you will have to make a commitment to spending part of your day learning something new. It could be a chapter in a textbook or a new technique for doing a familiar task. Making a commitment requires a lot of fortitude and patience. It doesn’t always feel like learning has benefits but over the long run, it will, especially if you’ve chosen your subjects wisely. Don’t give up after two weeks; time is an ingredient in learning.
Take Your Time
The second step is about becoming more methodical with your learning. This is based on the principle that if one tries to learn too much in a short period of timeperiodtime period, they will have a lower retention rate. You can learn in digestible chunks so that you are never cramming too much information at one time. A little bit every day has been proven to be the most efficient way to learn.
The third step is learning to focus better. We live in a world of constant distraction. Many of us know how it feels to watch television, text with our friends, and work on our computers all at the same time. While some believe that they are getting more done by multitasking, study after study has shown that we actually learn less when we multitask. Therefore, when you are studying, minimize distractions. Likewise, work on one task at a time for the best results when you’re on the job.
Logical Reasoning and Problem Solving
Nobody is born a logical person. It is a skill that is developed over time with a lot of practice. Actually, “practice” might not be the best word. Using logic is more of an attitudinal thing. Having a questioning attitude about the world around us will not only make us more engaged, but we will pay attention to more facts and details. When you pay attention to more facts and details you are inadvertently practicing one of the great web development skills.
Having a questioning attitude doesn’t just happen. You have to supply the fuel. Counterintuitively, our emotions play a big part in this. In a New Scientist article, author Caroline Williams notes “contrary to popular wisdom, emotions aren’t necessarily the enemy of rationality. People who have damage to the part of the prefrontal cortex that processes emotions struggle to make decisions at all.”
Want to brush up? The website mental.co offers the opportunity to work on various mental abilities such as recalling information, increasing attention and visual skills, and boosting math and calculation skills as well as activities that help improve language skills. Most importantly, there are mental workouts that improve problem-solving and thinking skills. Indeed, if you are a web developer, you revel in a nice problem-solving challenge. So give it a go!
If websites are not your flavor, there are other methods of honing your problem-solving skills. Chess is a great way to train your brain to think a few steps ahead. Playing Cards can improve one’s ability to calculate probabilities. Learning music is famous for being a way to stave off the early onset of dementia in elderly people but it is also a great way to keep your mind sharp. Songwriting is basically a way of organizing abstract concepts and structures, which can complimentcomplementcompliment complement your critical thinking ability and help you get to the bottom of every problem.
Dev Leaders Have Soft Skills
Any company hiring a web developer will need someone to engage with the rest of the team. They will need to talk about project requirements and discuss what type of methodologies will be necessary for the project. And inevitably, there will be disagreements about many things. A web developer with good interpersonal skills can potentially mitigate tension and anger within the group by handling situations the right way. Disagreements don’t have to become resentments.
One helpful skill is the ability to listen. Indeed, experts agree listening is one of the most valuable assets an employee – especially a leader – can have. Not only do good listeners make others around them feel valuable, but they also have a much less biased view of the world. To listen is to forestall your own thoughts temporarily and put yourself in the mind of another person. It’s a skill that requires practice. When you listen to another person, try to understand any emotional and social context that may be motivating what they say. They may have valuable insights but occasionally you might need to read between the lines to understand them completely.
Clear Communication Creates Development Successes
Perhaps you see yourself in a leadership role in the future. There will be moments when you have to translate technical jargon for the layman, who may be a client or a member of your company. Being able to relay technical information via understandable language will be a lot easier if you know your subject well. If one accepts the axiom that people who really understand their subject can explain complicated ideas in simple terms, they will be able to communicate with laymen a lot better. Don’t be afraid to use jargon or big fancy technical words. But be prepared to explain to them as you go along. In fact, your listener might enjoy the insights into the process.
Cultural Awareness for a Diverse Dev Workforce
Being a good leader doesn’t come without having a good deal of cultural awareness. The website careeraddict.com defines cultural awareness as “being aware of the many different cultures around you,” It notes that it can be a make-or-break skill for leaders. “By leading with understanding and empathy, you’re creating a more homogenous, inclusive, and cooperative environment, which may foster innovation and boost productivity levels.”
Like everything in this article, there are no shortcuts to improvement. Gaining cultural awareness will come from a habit of intercultural curiosity. Two of the most important things you can learn about culture are its customs and taboos. Adhering to cultural guidelines regarding greetings and interactions goes a long way when you’re trying to gain trust and respect. And you always want to avoid uncomfortable topics during conversation. Making the wrong joke or sharing a risky political opinion can really be damaging, even if you mean well.
These are but a few of the many non-technical skills that could be utilized to become the best web development industry professional you can be. Anyone hiring a web developer would be happy to have a member of their team who is a good problem solver with great soft skills, such as cultural awareness. But there’s always more you can do and learn. Start by staying current on all the trends in your industry and then go from there. As technology advances, your company may need to adapt, and so will you. Hone in on your desired responsibilities and build your skill set around that, while always looking into the future. In this industry, things are a little different every day.
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