Series: 5 Tips for Software Developers (Part 2)

Jack Wilson, Laplink Software’s Chief Technology Officer, has 30 years of experience in a wide variety of software development projects and is a seasoned software developer. He has extensive experience developing network devices and network-enabled applications. Jack’s professional skills were honed at leading companies, including Networks Northwest Inc., Boeing Defense and Space Group, and Westinghouse.

As the manager for the tech department at Laplink, Jack expounds on his 5 tips for software developers he would give to interested parties applying to work on his team. This is the second post of the series, so stay tuned for the last post.

TIP 2: Always think about what will make something better.

If you come up with something and you find out someone has already done it, then see if you can do it better. If no one has, then do it! There have been many companies that were started by someone who just found a better way of doing something, and they were the ones to succeed. The most fun I ever had in my career was working at a small startup; I was the fifth employee. We worked hard and created a great product. Unfortunately, we were unable to get our costs down to a competitive level and so the company ultimately failed. However, even though the company didn’t succeed, it was still a great time and a really great learning experience.

Having tunnel vision in your field can be debilitating for your future as a software developer. It’s always important to stay abreast of your competitive landscape from a product perspective. Because you want to make sure that your product is better than everyone else’s. Communicate regularly with your team’s project manager to better understand what your competition is doing, and see if you can’t make it better.

TIP 3: Software is not only limited to the PC, Mac, or tablet.

Software is now in everything and will keep growing immensely. Another misconception is that everything has a screen; more and more, screenless devices are part of the Internet of Things. My advice is to learn to do embedded software; it can be a real challenge. Pick up a Raspberry Pi or Arduino and play with it for a while just to see what you can learn. It will help you when you’re applying for software developer and programmer jobs.

But be wary whatever the new fad is. Engineers love to play with whatever is the new thing, which is okay as long as it is the right solution for the job. Otherwise, you are wasting time and money for your company, yourself.

Stay tuned for the final post in this series!