What Traits do the Best Programmers Have?

Programmers are an interesting bunch of people. Despite what the stereotypes may have you believe, they’re not all socially awkward nerds who never leave their computer screen. Coders come from all walks of life and are equally as likely to be party animal hipsters or shy, isolated geeks! Having said that, many of the top programmers in the world do share a number of the same personality traits. Take a look at our checklist below and see if you fit the bill…


Anyone who has been coding for longer than a few hours will tell you that patience is essential. No matter what the language or area of programming you’re into, it will take hard work and perseverance to push past beginner level. Even when you’re a bonafide expert, you’ll still encounter daily frustrations when solving complex coding conundrums. If you can keep a cool head when things get tough and don’t let setbacks get to you, you’re on the right track.


Creativity doesn’t just apply to artists, designers or musicians; it’s also a vital quality for coders too. The end result may not be a song, or a story, or a painting, but by coding you’re still creating something. There are always several ways to solve a programming task, and it’s up to you to figure out that solution – so creativity and the ability to visualise different results is important. Plus, programming is also a pretty cool and unique creative outlet.


Being creative is all well and good, but to be a successful programmer – i.e one who builds things that actually function properly – you’ll also need to be a logical thinker. At its essence, coding is logical thinking at work. Functions create results, results makes things work. Breaking a programming down into small, logical elements is the best way to find a solution, not to mention it teaches you the fundamental tools of syntax, tuning and design.


The tech industry is one that’s always changing, and rapidly changing at that. Curiosity can go a long way towards helping you stay on top of the latest developments. All good programmers have a natural drive to learn more, discover new ways of doing things, and see new approaches to problem solving and program building. Along with that goes an ability to learn new concepts quickly and an open-minded approach to, well, everything. But the good news is that if you’re reading this, you already have it!


To be a true success at any job, you need to be passionate about it. Passion is what keeps you coming back to a seemingly unbeatable problem, what makes you stay up late to finish coding something, and what makes you want to be the best programmer you can be. If you can’t think of one reason why you want to be a programmer or why you like coding, it’s a sure sign that the passion may not be there anymore.


No, we’re not saying that to be a top programmer you need to be shy. It’s possible to be an introvert and be perfectly competent at socialising, remember. Rather, you need to be comfortable working autonomously and alone, spending long hours in front of a screen without much human interaction. Basically, you need to not rely on other people and to be happy not relying on other people! Funnily enough, introversion is one of the most common traits among top earning programmers.


Attention to detail is one of the most important aspects of programming. To be a top class coder, you need to be extremely thorough in every line of code you write. Sometimes it only takes one typo to make everything come crashing to a halt – and you’ll learn that the hard way if you’re not conscientious! Tying in to this is good time and task management, both of which are vital components for a good programming career.


Programmers are notoriously independent creatures, and often a little bit rebellious too (must be their natural instinct to find new ways to solve problems). In an office environment, they sometimes have a tendency to do things their own way even if their boss tells them otherwise. Just because you know more than them doesn’t mean your way is the best way for the company – in other words, show humility and remember that you’re a cog in a wheel, not the CEO.


Have you ever completed a programming project that stuck rigidly to the initial outline with no changes whatsoever? If so, you’re officially a genius and the world’s number one programmer. Things never go exactly to plan, and having the ability to adapt to changing situations and solutions is a key facet of every good programmer. It also comes in useful when learning new languages, taking on new challenges, and pretty much every other aspect of programming too.

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