How Can You Ensure Career Readiness in Young Software Developers?

Charles Darwin said “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” Up to 45% of the activities employees are paid to perform today could be automated using current or future technology, this won’t necessarily mean fewer jobs, but it will mean new jobs requiring different skills. While change is Universal, changing is personal.

Four things that can help software developers to ensure career readiness are

Learnability, Adaptability, Problem-solving ability & Holistic Development.

#1. Learnability is the desire and ability to quickly grow and adapt one’s skills to remain employable throughout their working life.

The Future of Work is changing.The way to stay relevant is through Continuous Learning. Learnability is also the curiosity and desire to continually integrate new skills to remain active at all times. In short, it means being prepared to systematically break out of your comfort zone, overcome the fear zone and advance to learning zone to take care of your career.

#2. Adaptability is an ability to navigate changing priorities, a soft skill that many employers value as highly as technical skills.

Adaptability is the personality trait that helps determine how a person responds to change. People with high adaptability are often described as “flexible”, “team players” or as someone who “goes with the flow.” Mathematically, adaptability is ability + attitude. One key input here for young developers is that Coding is a skill, all skills are learnable, provided the learners are curious, have a keen desire to learn and the most important element is that the
learner puts in good amount of deliberate practice to learn the skill.

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#3. Problem-solving ability: “Problems are opportunities in work clothes”, said Henry Kaiser, a renowned American industrialist.

Fundamental to solving problems is to be effective in thinking and analyzing. One can get good at problem solving by working on a robust process, developing the skills 3 C’s – Curiosity, Critical thinking and Creative thinking and problem solving mindset. Mindset is the essential foundation of problem-solving. It’s the very base that will support (or collapse) any strategy, tools or tactics you use. In short, if your mindset isn’t right, strategies, tactics & tools are pointless.

#4. Holistic Development: If you want to grow as a developer, I can’t over-emphasize the benefits of joining a developer community.

There are many advantages, from peer-programming to sharing knowledge, mentorship, code reviews, answering questions, and much more. Platforms like Stack Overflow are packed with excellent candidates and loaded with information, contributing to other Open Source projects on GitHub can be a great way to get additional experience and confidence. You can learn from other’s code and get feedback on your commits. “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” – African Proverb

While many software developers are keen to learn new tech stack, there needs to be a paradigm shift towards holistic development which calls for developing individual soft skills and programmer mindset. Soft Skills are a combination of deployable individual Skillset, Toolset and Mindset that enables an individual to navigate in a given environment, work well with people, perform on the job and achieve their goals with complementing hard skills.

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Research conducted by Harvard University, Carnegie Foundation and Stanford Research Centre has concluded that 85% of job success comes from having well-developed soft skills and people skills and only 15% of job success comes from technical skills and knowledge (hard skills).

Alvin Toffler said, the illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.