If I were in your shoes, I’d be sitting down in my chair at work getting ready to start the day and warming up my brain by checking out some news. I’d see an article entitled, “The 5 Most Important Skills a Web Developer Needs, ” and expect to see a lofty list filled with hot buzzwords, phrases that Google loves (SEO!), and advice that will probably be worthless by this time next year. I’d scan the page for phrases like: Ruby on Rails, AngularJS, Bootstrap, Django, and mobile (before the irony of that sentence is brought to my attention, I’m well-aware that it’s stuff with Google-friendly keywords). I’d then probably throw up in my mouth a little, close the article and throw it on a pile with all the other crap people write to get ranked high in search engines.
This isn’t that kind of article.
I hope to save you years of stress, frustration, and worry by letting you in on a big secret every developer throughout history has found out the hard way: Learning frameworks, languages, and libraries have almost nothing to do with succeeding. They’re just résumé items to get you past HR. Sure, there are a lot of companies that want you to know their system and technologies (which I personally think is an unreasonable expectation), but it’s a very short-sighted way to evaluate potential talent and contributions to a team.
With that in mind, I’d like to present you with what I think the real skills a web developer needs. You might be surprised that the majority of them have nothing to do with writing code and more to do with dealing with people and knowing yourself.
1. Empathy in Communication (Dealing with Others)
Having empathy in communication can boil down to not being a jerk to people, but it’s really having the ability to understand how someone else feels. This is an especially important skill to have when working on a team or with clients. Alienating someone on your team because of a short temper, not thinking ahead, or not realizing something you say can come off as negative isn’t worth it. This is a lesson that most people in our industry have to fix by moving from job to job, because once that label has been applied, it’s very hard to shake.