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Alexander Demin
Alexander Demin

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Thoughts on Beyond Coding: With Business in Mind

Recently, I came across this question on Threads: “As a developer, if you want to impress me, you should _____”. And it triggered me to think, what would I write there being a software engineer myself? What would impress me?

  • Is it being good at coding? Like writing code that is easy to understand and maintain?
  • Or it is to be able to work on big projects by themselves?
  • Maybe having insanely high code coverage of all the code they write?
  • Knowing dozens of programming languages and ways to build software?

Saying that these skills are impressive is like saying that just doing the job is enough to stand out, which is typically not.

But there’s something that In my opinion makes a developer stand out, and it’s not about coding or purely engineering skills. It’s about understanding the business.

It is not a secret that many developers just focus on their coding tasks. They get a job to do, they do it, and move on to the next one. They may rarely ask why they’re doing it or how it helps the business. This happens a lot, even in companies that make their own software products. The result is work that only does what someone else thought was needed, without really seeing the big picture and taking it into technical consideration.

What can make a developer truly impressive is when they understand not just what and how to do, but why it needs to be done. This knowledge gives them a special ability to help the business. Often, the tasks that developers are given already have a planned solution, which might not always be the best or the only way to do things. Since developers know the technical side very well, they can suggest better solutions to existing business problems that can save a lot of time and effort.

Developers who know about the business side of things can do more than those who don’t. They can offer new ideas, find smarter ways to solve problems, and make sure their work really helps the company’s goals. They become much more valuable because they not only do their job but also contribute to the company’s success in a bigger way.

So, my answer to this question is definitely:

As a developer, if you want to impress me, you should know the business.

While being good at software development is important, it’s not everything. To stand out as a developer, we, as developers, need to understand the business we’re working in. This is what makes a developer not just a deeply technical person, but a valuable part of the company’s success.

So, if you’re a developer and find this idea insightful or at least meaningful, start by learning more about the business side of your projects. Perhaps, a simple question “why” on the next sprint planning session could be a good start.

Stay tuned for more discussions on Go programming, software architecture, and beyond. Happy coding!

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Top comments (2)

michaeltharrington profile image
Michael Tharrington

This was an insightful read, Alexander. I'm with ya!

I feel like occasionally a dev might get caught up trying to become the best developer possible, as in the most technically knowledgeable or up-to-date on the latest tools/methods of doing things/etc., but you're right that it's equally valuable (perhaps more) for devs to work on improving their understanding of the business that they're in. This way they can find and suggest solutions + have more knowledge to inform the work that they're doing.

oberonus profile image
Alexander Demin

Thanks, Michael! Yes, at the very end, it's all about purpose and the final goal. What are we doing—laying bricks, building walls, or building a cathedral? A developer can be very good and might really enjoy laying bricks, but the best inspiration comes when there is a cathedral behind it all.