The characteristics of a great programmer

Become the best programmer that you can be.

Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash


Many jobs out there require that you have a good balance of soft skills and technical knowledge. Being a programmer is no exception to the rule.

In this article, I will outline what I think are the most valued characteristics that programmers should aspire to have.


Rome wasn’t built in a day so don’t expect things to suddenly happen overnight. I’m sorry to say it, but you are going to fail a lot of times before you reach success. Accept the fact that you will spend hours, days, or weeks debugging code and solving various problems. Keep working hard, stay focused on the task at hand and visualize your goals.

Being a team player

If you are working as a programmer, you will always have projects to work on, some may be individual-based while others will be as part of a team. There is nothing worse than being hated by everyone either because you can’t accept criticism or that you are a glorified ‘know-it-all’. Learn to work with others, lift each other up, enjoy working together, and remember that we are all human and disagreements will pop up from time to time.

Good time management skills

You will work on countless projects in your career, and all of them will have a deadline. Project managers expect work to be done on time and with excellence. By meeting deadlines not only indicates that you can manage your time efficiently, but also that you can be relied on when push comes to shove for any task.

Follow your curiosity

Average developers only learn what they are told to learn, great developers go above and beyond, constantly learning new things on their own and constantly ask the question, why?

Adaptable and love of learning

Technology is changing rapidly and the competencies of a programmer today don’t equate to what was expected in the 1990s, and this will only change in the future. Stay up-to-date with the latest trends in technology, keep honing in on your skills, and don’t be afraid to learn something new just because it looks scary or difficult. Get excited about the technology of tomorrow!

Have a sense of pride

Whether you completed a small project or a huge one at work with your colleagues, always give yourself a big pat on the back. You’ve reached your target and achieved success. Be proud to be a programmer, and realize your value and contribution to the product/service. That being said be careful that you don’t slide into arrogance, no one wants to hear how ‘fantastic’ or how ‘smart you are’ every five seconds.


Just think to yourself, how many hours, days and weeks have you spent debugging code. And how many of those times did the error involve a missing semi-colon or bracket. The ability to focus on small details is essential since small errors can snowball into larger ones.


This is probably one of the most important characteristics on this list. There will always be tough moments consisting of ‘I can’t solve this’ and ‘I give up, but if you have a true passion for what you do, then you will not be swayed or intimidated by such moments of despair. Always remember our passion is our reason!

Final note

I hope that this article has shed some light for you on the characteristics that make a good programmer. Good luck!

I’m just a simple guy trying to find his way in this world.