Visual Objects reached out to our network of software development experts to get their insight on the most important software development principles they’ve learned throughout their careers.
Experts recommend relying on these general principles to navigate the world of software development:
- Be a well-rounded teammate
- Listen to your clients
- Establish structure before starting development
- Be creative in your problem-solving
- Communicate clearly and openly
- Build your skills over time
Software development is an ever-changing industry. New trends and technologies lead to new tools and strategies and software development agencies need to stay current within the industry.
While there are hundreds of programming languages out there and numerous development tools to choose from, there are still several universal software development principles that will help you deliver high-quality work and be a good partner to your clients.
These expert tips offer guidance for software developers looking to provide top-notch service amid the always-evolving development landscape.
Be a Well-Rounded Teammate
Vladimir Tutov, Senior Delivery Manager at Cprime | Archer advises that agencies look for both sharp technical skills and strong soft skills in the developers they hire.
"An engineer’s soft skills are rarely a deal-breaker during the interview if the hard skills seem solid — and yet, I’ve found that this is the most important thing that can either help the team be more productive or significantly slow down team dynamics and damage their output. Here’s my advice to developers who want to be better: train on people skills, and learn how to collaborate with other teammates, managers, and stakeholders to ensure career growth."
Elisabeth Bohlman, VP of Strategy at December Labs echoes the importance of soft skills for developers looking to grow in their careers.
"There are many great developers out there, but the ones that set themselves apart aren’t just rockstar coders, but also have good communication, make realistic estimates, and add additional value to any project. At December Labs, we are big on coaching our team and reward our best all-around developers with growth opportunities."
Cole Conroy, CEO + Founder of Roycon also emphasizes the importance of being able to take feedback, empower others, and work with a team — success is dependent on collaboration.
"Keep it simple, swallow your pride, and ask for help. Most developers have the notion that they need to be the best, smartest, or fastest. At the end of the day, however, the only thing that matters is whether or not the job gets completed successfully. The ‘lone wolves’ are typically talented, but nobody is better than an entire team."
Alexander Gerasimov, CTO of CodeIT explains that because there are many moving parts to development projects, developers need to openly communicate with their team and their clients to align on responsibilities.
"Think about what you do and who you do it for. Don’t think that you are only responsible for the part of the solution you are creating. If you work with a team, the responsibility is shared and every decision matters. Educate yourself, keep abreast of emerging technologies. And ask your fellow developers for advice if you feel like you need it. Make mistakes, and learn from them."
Listen to Your Clients
Alexey Chalimov, CEO at Eastern Peak believes that the most important rule of software development is maintaining a clear focus on the needs of the client.
"Technologies will keep evolving, new principles and methodologies will keep emerging, and there will always be new firms out there. What remains the same is how well these firms can tailor existing development approaches and technologies to meet the needs of a particular client. At Eastern Peak, we design solutions that help businesses not only advance technologically, but also stay in line with the ever-changing economic landscape and any legal or regulatory requirements."
Dmitry Dolgorukov, CRO + Co-Founder of HES FinTech recommends that developers ask themselves a series of questions to ensure they are keeping customer needs top of mind:
- Does this approach address my customer’ pain points?
- Am I creating an easy-to-use, reliable, and scalable solution?
- Will the cost of this project stick to my client's budget?
- Is this software making the end-user’s life easier, safer, or better?
Volodymyr Khmil, CEO + CO-Founder of NERDZ LAB suggests a simple strategy for software developers: Put yourself in the client’s shoes.
"Treat every project like it’s your own. Develop software that actually solves a problem and remember that each product is unique. It’s not always the hottest or most complicated technology that will drive success — keep it simple, as they say."
Alex Dzyuba, Founder + CEO of Lucid Reality Labs focuses on creating useful software that doesn’t simply meet technical requirements, but has the capacity and the aim to change the world for the better.
"You must understand how the final product will improve the lives of its users. In order to understand that underlying need, every technical specialist on the project — regardless of their level of expertise — should learn from their client. Just following best practices will not guarantee a great result, but learning, understanding, and building the product with end users in mind will."
Aliaksandr Shcharbak, Lead Software Development Engineer at Armada Labs also emphasizes that it’s unrealistic to follow traditional best practices at all times, developers might need to deviate from their traditional approach to meet a client’s specific needs.
"We code for humans, not machines. It will not be possible to follow all software development principles at all times — they can contradict each other in any given situation — so it’s important to find the right balance. Choose only the principles that bring solid benefits to solving a particular problem."
Establish Structure Before Starting Development
Mukesh Maran, Director + CEO of Segwitz highlights the importance of defining a scope of work before beginning any development work.
"Before starting a development project, always plan out the entire scope. Make an SRS (software requirement specification), have the UX/UI outlined beforehand, create a full project timeline, and make sure you have the right people working on the project."
James DeMeuse, Senior Software Engineer at Emergent Software recommends organizing work based on established coding standards to ensure any developer can look at the code base, understand it, and make necessary changes quickly.
"If developers follow coding standards, then tasks like maintenance, updates, additions, and even hand-offs become much easier. When coding standards are not followed, code is often hard to read, difficult to change, and bugs often rule the code base."
John Mooren, Co-Founder + Director of BrightMinded Ltd suggests development agencies plan out the whole software system before starting development.
"Agile software development practices are lauded for their capacity to embrace change over the project life cycle — when done right, they do offer this advantage. However, they can also tempt developers to start writing code without having planned the full system architecture. This can lead to different components being patched together ad-hoc, making the final product harder to maintain."
Alexei Palchunov, CEO of Fingers Media relates a core principle of software development to a core principle in life: rely on data and facts.
"In software development — and in life — the most important thing is to rely on real data and facts. Very often, intuition helps us achieve great results, but solutions based on objective data are more reliable long-term. It’s necessary to build a system to obtain and verify this data."
Be Creative In Your Problem-Solving
Shehzaad Nakhoda, CTO at VentureDive believes that all developers should take pride in their work in the same way a sculptor or an artist takes pride in their creations.
"Treat each line of code as if it will be visible to the world. This isn’t just philosophical — practically, software assets undergo due diligence processes during funding, merger, and acquisition cycles and reputations can be built or broken based on their quality."
Goran Kalanj, CEO at Serengeti encourages today’s developers to use different tools and frameworks to increase productivity and create new ways to get tasks done.
"It’s important to understand the underlying principles of how each tool works and why. It gives developers a much broader view to determine the best architectural approach to finding the best solution — not just the fastest one. It also builds an engineering mindset — the mindset of a developer who knows the best way to solve a problem."
Atishe Chordia, Founder + CEO of doodleblue Innovations explains that software development and digital innovation go hand-in-hand — both work to create new, unique solutions to solve business challenges.
"My advice to software developers would be to think outside the box when focusing on solving a problem statement and creating tangible value for a business and their end-users. Design more understandable, flexible, maintainable software that focuses on quality over time and can be regularly optimized."
Vadim Peskov, CEO at Diffco claims the most important principle of software development is to maintain a constant problem-solving mindset.
"We believe software engineers should strive to find the right solution to any issue, choose a perfect approach to that problem, establish the right design, and then have the courage and confidence to build a powerful solution. Identifying the right approach can often be intimidating, so bring in all experience from your team and look at the challenge from multiple perspectives."
Communicate Clearly + Openly
Andrew Siemar, CEO at Inventive Works encourages open discussions between development teams and their clients to ensure everyone is on the same page for the project.
"Understand that there is no perfect solution. If you find yourself attaching every problem in a repetitive way, you are probably doing a disservice to your customer. Ask as many probing questions as you can to help you refine the best solution for that problem and scenario — which may require you to learn a new tool set."
Dave Bezuidenhout, Senior Technical Solutions Architect at ImageX agrees that it’s nearly impossible to identify a single, perfect solution to a client’s problem, and it’s important to be open to that.
"Realize that there are multiple solutions to any given problem, and your solution may not be the best. Be open to the feedback, and work to improve the overall code. You might even learn a few things yourself!"
Matt Long, CEO at Groove Technology emphasizes the importance of inquisitive discussion in any software development partnership.
"Ask questions early and and ask questions frequently — the tighter the loop between you and your stakeholders, the tighter you will be aligned on the vision and expectations for the project. This, in turn, reduces the risk of technical debt and rework."
Igor Ponikarchik, CEO at Bamboo Apps believes that the most important part of a successful development project is to gather all possible information about the product and its goals prior to the project kick-off.
"Take the lead on your client’s project, revolve the stress and hassle from their business. Understand the product’s use cases, limitations, requirements, and timelines. With this understanding, the development team can design an optimal solution to perfectly address the end goal that will be easy to support."
Build Your Skills Over Time
Anastasiya Kaltygina, Head of Business Development at Magedia recognizes the changing development landscape and recommends professionals keep up with latest trends.
"The main idea is to improve skills constantly — in our changing technological world, it’s compulsory to be up to date with the latest trends. As projects are getting more complicated, it’s important to be able to optimize the quality of the code and keep it easy to understand."
Aliona Petsevich, Business Developer at Evojam echoes the idea that software developers must stay on-pace with the evolving industry.
"Be open minded — the world is changing and we have to change ourselves as well. Currently, every developer should be flexible and open to new ideas because clients' needs are changing as well. Learn all the time. Those who want to be the best will learn new things and develop themselves."
Alexei Dulub, CEO + Founder of PixelPlex encourages software developers to keep their eyes on the future and consistently think of new ways to build value for clients.
"To succeed in software development, it’s crucial to constantly build in-depth expertise and try to anticipate the prospects of any technology in the next five years. None of this matters, however, if you don’t care about people. Human-centricity should be the cornerstone of development. This will help you stay relevant and lead the industry by blazing new trails."
Oleg Nesterov, CEO at MindK believes that developers should always be building competency in new tools and technologies.
"The world of software development is so dynamic and requires everyone involved to keep pace with the times. In light of this, keep learning — don’t be afraid of new technologies and approaches, rather accumulate experience."
Armen Kocharyan, CEO + Co-Founder of Volo cautions that developers that aren’t committed to learning will find themselves playing catch-up with others in the field.
"In our rapidly advancing technological world, software development is a game of survival. It’s not just about getting to the top of your game — it’s about staying there. If you got your degree over a decade ago, it’s likely that everyone you learned is now obsolete. Forget about just coasting your way through a career in software engineering."
Key Principles for Software Development
To stay on trend with the changing industry, think about these universal, timeless principles for effective software development:
- Be a well-rounded teammate by building both hard and soft skills that add value and improve your collaboration skills.
- Listen to your clients — put yourself in their shoes and ask the right questions to identify the most effective solution.
- Establish a structure for the project before diving into development to ensure all parties are aligned and reduce unexpected obstacles.
- Be creative when proposing solutions, considering different tools and methodologies to drive innovation.
- Communicate with clients openly to set expectations, manage change, and measure progress.
- Build your skill set to include new industry trends to stay up to date and ahead of your competition in the market.
These principles will help software developers navigate current projects and prepare for future challenges.