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Discussion on: What nobody tells you when you decide to learn how to code

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Jason Gabler

And coding isn't something done in a vacuum. It always has a purpose. That purpose is driven by need. And, ultimately, that need belongs to one or more people. Whether your software is an executable to be downloaded, a service provided or a library shared, you must understand the people behind the need behind the purpose. Even the lowest rung developer who's handed a set of inputs and outputs by the senior dev, she or he ought to be aware of the larger picture so every line of code can have useful meaning. Otherwise, it is out of place, wasting time and money, and what is the point?

So what's my point? Most developers do not enter school, let alone the profession, realizing they need to be adept at understanding other people's needs. Yet, I'm always thinking about my customers' needs. Does this fit their requirements, their budget, the things they aren't aware of but because of my experience I am?

I wasn't taught this at my alma mater. It's not something, I believe, we can learn on our own. I absolutely had to learn this on the fly. I've had some very patient friends and mentors along the way. Even if you're not the tech lead who's involved in the discovery processes, be prepared to think like a customer. The better you are at this seemingly non-technical skill, the better developer you will be.