In software development, this is a clearly known fact that to be highly productive we should expertise our programming skills – language skills, familiar with common data structures and patterns, having a good knowledge of algorithms analysis etc. But this is not it, there is much more to being employable, a developer who doesn’t spend any time on the bench, worrying about our future. We are on a very competitive edge and the fight is getting tougher and tougher, day by day. So, be confident, and always try to improve your skills.
The first habit of a good software employee is to review his employability from time to time. IT sector is an industry that can undergo shockingly fast shifts of what we consider “Baseline” skills. The trick is that it’s actually more devastating than missing some industry-wide macro trend than missing a shift in your own technology stack.
In enterprise level development, the most common in-stack weakness is not keeping up with the language evolution. The main concern with the web development is the pace with which the frameworks are evolving. So, the bottom line is: Always stay updated with your technology stack and have at least a passing knowledge of
its most popular new features and aspects. You don’t need to be an expert, just visibly competent.
We also need to maintain visibility around us. This is a part of our online persona. Keeping a journal is a good start for this, have a way of sharing photos and embrace the writer’s commandment of “Know your audience”. Our audience may include our future employees. For more developer specific, we can maintain a good Stake overflow reputations checked and a GitHub account with some useful contributions. We don’t need a sky high SO rank or repository, but we some have at least some presence on these sites which involve community engagement.
Visibility led us to next level called “Sociability”. This is a place where we can actually cultivate professional friendship. There is no faster way to be hire than to have a friend who bring us in the front door and vouch for us. Share interesting articles, let our opinions be known about technology and standard, and help other people when they are looking for gigs or work.
The next habit is a technical variation – we should be a master of some technological niche, but only for a few years i.e. being incredibly strong in some potential employable specialty. This means we must max out some technology or niche, but always be learning something that seems to be increasing value in the market. At the first place, we must have a creative attitude, ready for new things and never stop learning.