Working as a Software Developer

Posted on December 17, 2012  Comments (12)

For most of my career I have been focused on management improvement – helping organizations improve results. Technology plays a big role in that and along the way I found myself becoming a programer for a while; and then a software development program manager. This is a good post on working as a software developer:

reading code is a very important skill. Before a program can be modified, you need to understand what it does, and how it does it. Only then can new functionality be added so it fits in with the existing structure, and without breaking anything. Reading and understanding a program can be a major effort, and one sign of a well-designed program is that it is relatively straight-forward to modify it.

Write for people first, computer second. The code you write will be read many times in the future (by you, or another developer). The computer doesn’t care how the code is written, so make it as easy as possible to understand for the next person that has to read it. A corollary to this is: don’t be too clever. It’s better to be clear than to be clever.

When there is a compelling need to write for the computer first and people second make sure to document that code well. For example, some code that is extremely dense and complex and confusing but greatly enhances the efficiency of a critical area of code.

I recently wrote a book, Management Matters: Building Enterprise Capability. There are many great things about a career in software development. It certainly is also challenging and not for someone looking for the easiest career but I have seem a higher percentage of happy software developers than I have seen in any other discipline.

Related: How To Become A Software Engineer/ProgrammerThe Software Developer Labor MarketAvoiding Tragedy of the Commons for Software DevelopmentPreparing Computer Science Students for JobsHiring the Best Fit For Your Company in an Inefficient Job MarketWant to be a Computer Game Programmer?What Graduates Should Know About an IT Career

12 Responses to “Working as a Software Developer”

  1. Tauseef Alam
    December 25th, 2012 @ 11:21 am


    My name is Tauseef Alam. I’m a blogger from India. I recently completed my graduation and wants to make my career in Software Development. Someone suggest me to go for PHP based client-server programming as it is in demand. can you please suggest me where to start.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. andrew calwert
    December 27th, 2012 @ 1:41 am

    This was my dream to become software developer.I have given 3-4 interviews for this post but every time i get disappointed because they need experienced people for this post.I still search for it and never give up till i get it.

  3. Yuriy
    January 3rd, 2013 @ 6:42 am

    I’m one of thousands of freelancer and I love my work. B/c read code and understand it fast don’t let your brain to relax. And sad, but paper work is not for me, I want new and interesting tasks more and more.

  4. Peter
    January 3rd, 2013 @ 8:40 am

    Being a software developer is like a dream come true. I had given many interviews but I have always been disappointed when the results were out. Finally I got selected in Panorama Software and I feel really great though my joining is little bit late but still no worries. I should say, “One should never lose hope and keep on trying until he achieves what he desires”.

  5. Edebiyat
    February 3rd, 2013 @ 8:44 am

    Hi, I have always wanted to become a programer but no body helped me. Than i red lot’s of book and searched by internet maybe i am a begener but i will be a profesional soon.

  6. Ovidiu
    March 4th, 2013 @ 8:02 am

    Thanks for the information and resources shared! I love the idea of ”‹”‹the article, the principle “people first, computer second”. Basically, it’s a good trend that started to gain more and more popularity also in other areas. New software, new sites started to move in this direction – minimalist design & interface, with focus on the user.

  7. Rituparna sonowal
    March 9th, 2013 @ 2:46 am

    Simply wow !! small article but learn many thinks.
    I am computer science student from India. Like Ovidiu said i also love your principle “Write for people not for computer”.

  8. Brian
    April 3rd, 2013 @ 1:27 am

    Very accurate. I work as a front end and web designer and could not have said it more precisely myself. When you write your code, it is important to remember that it is people who are reading your code again somewhere and not a computer.
    And again exactly as you say them more complex the code is the better documentation.
    As a Freelance i just love doing what i do…:)

  9. Andy
    May 6th, 2013 @ 10:51 pm

    I was inspired with your article… I am still finishing my studies and I want to be a software and Web Developer..

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    July 24th, 2013 @ 11:45 pm

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  11. Anonymous
    August 16th, 2013 @ 10:37 am

    Hi, my name is Ayesha Iqbal 🙂 I have freelancing experience of 5 years in this field of software development. I do strongly agree with your statement that “Code for people, then for computers”.

  12. thewings
    May 1st, 2021 @ 5:48 am

    This was my dream to become software developer. I want to be a software and Web Developer

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