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Ayobami Ogundiran
Ayobami Ogundiran

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4 Ways to Know You Have Good Developer Experience

A woman in purple pressing a laptop
(photo by Christina @ wocintechchat.com

As developers are always interacting with code, software, and human beings, it is reasonable to assume they have feelings about these interactions. The feelings may be good or bad. Developer experience is the nature of developers’ feelings towards code, software, and human beings they interact with in their day to day coding activities.

When developers work with software and platforms that make them productive and give them a sense of satisfaction with their organization and role, they’re experiencing a positive developer experience. However, if they’re fatigued and frustrated with the organization’s platforms and feel like they spend more time obtaining permissions and data than actually creating, then they have a negative developer experience. So, the question is how do you know you have a good developer experience?

1. Ease of Use

Software developers have to use several software to carry out their day-to-day programming activities. They work with internal codebases as well as external ones. The experience they have in using these tools largely determines their productivity and experience, which eventually affect their companies.

If a certain codebase or tool is easy and intuitive to use, then developers will definitely have a good experience because it will take relatively little effort while providing great productivity. Software can be hard to use if they are buggy, lack proper documentation or are not designed with end users’ interests in mind. If all of these provisions are adequately provided for you, it is a sign you have a good experience as a developer.

Developer portals are platforms that can help ease of use in other domains as they provide self-service opportunities for developers to get the data or permissions they need without having to jump through multiple hoops to find the right person.

2. Reduced Exhaustion

Developers don’t like to do one thing over and over again, and that is evident in the number of tools that have been built to avoid doing something the same way all the time. Such a situation wears out developers easily. Having most monotonous tasks automated gives most developers great satisfaction.

For example, a developer has a good experience if they have to use an error-tracker to automatically spot errors instead of tracing the stack trace manually. It is a sign a developer is having a good experience if monotonous and exhausting tasks are automated. This applies to the developer’s interactions with other teams in the organization as well – any way that can automate interactions and permissions will augment developer experience.

3. Great Working Environment

A work environment that enables and supports developers wellbeing, growth, productivity and encourages trust shows that you have a good developer experience. This goes beyond just technical support and mentorship; it is mostly about providing an enabling environment for developers. This means giving them the ability to work smoothly and obtain information without extra hurdles or unnecessary back-and-forth with people in multiple teams. A great working environment is one that allows a developer to do their work seamlessly and feel well-supported through it.

4. Suitable Architecture

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It is necessary to choose an architecture that ensures developers get up and running without unnecessary frustration. Taking this measure makes sure business goals are achieved while developers also have a great experience.

Working with a complex or unsuitable architecture frustrates developers and pushes them, creating a bad developer experience. Therefore, having a fitting architecture is an indication of a good developer experience. Think about architecture for developers in terms of a platform for building applications – they expect tools, libraries, guides, and documentation.

Ultimately, a good developer experience architecture looks like an empowering environment. Loosely coupled architecture gives developers more autonomy to build and make decisions.

Importance of a Good Developer Experience

There are so many reasons why having a good developer experience is important for businesses, developers, and their communities. Some of the reasons are:

Business Growth

For some developer-focused businesses, it is necessary to provide a great experience for the developers they serve because such developers can influence the decisions of their companies. For example, a developer who experiences a lot of friction while consuming a paid API server, can influence their companies to patronize another API server that gives them a better experience. In this case, the business with a terrible developer experience loses clients and revenue.

Great Experience for the Customer

One important benefit of a good developer experience is that it incentivizes developers to develop a sense of mission. They tend to work not just to get paid but also to serve the end user. This development in turn ensures users have a good experience, which is good for business.

Innovation

As developers are willing to serve the end user, they tend to work hard and innovate to stay ahead of their competitors. Such an attitude can lead to more patronage and, consequently, revenue and business growth. The best part about dedicating time to building a positive developer experience environment means that innovation will not be stifled by complex workflows. Innovation in DevOps pipelines can continue as is and the developers will be motivated by it.

Conclusion

It is hard or misleading to determine whether you are having a good or bad developer experience if “good developer experience” is not properly defined. To human beings, good or bad is relative because of differences in backgrounds, orientations, beliefs and exposures. Even developers’ moods and skills at a point in time may determine whether they have a good or bad experience. So, what is good developer experience?

Good developer experience is achieved when developers feel relatively good about their interactions with the codes, software, and humans they work with—with manageable frustration. With that in mind, you can objectively determine whether you have good developer experience or not. Anyway, the four ways pointed out in this write-up are useful for determining whether you have a good developer experience or not.

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