Hiring high-performing developers vs average developers: What sets the top 1% apart
For Developers

February 15, 2024

Hiring high-performing developers vs average developers: What sets the top 1% apart

In today's tech landscape, the allure of becoming a programmer is undeniable. Coding bootcamps and online courses like Udemy have proliferated, attracting millions of individuals, both young and old, eager to learn coding. However, the reality is that the competition has intensified, even for entry-level positions in Java or Python. Now, mastery of multiple frameworks is often expected.

If you believe that merely writing code sets you apart from the competition, it's time to reconsider. Rejections in technical interviews often stem from the fact that another candidate was better prepared for the role. As a software developer, competition is unavoidable.

To truly succeed as an engineer, being a good programmer is just the tip of the iceberg. While fast algorithms are valuable, understanding how to architect large-scale applications and deliver business value is equally important. It requires focus on hard work, honing soft skills, and strategic planning. Understanding your own strengths and weaknesses, as well as staying aware of technology adoption curves, all contribute to your growth. Even activities like writing a tech article on a Sunday morning can be part of your path to success.

At Index.dev, our mission is to empower developers to achieve remarkable feats in the tech industry and land positions at top-tier tech companies. To help you elevate your developer career, we've distilled fundamental truths that you can apply right now to take your skills to the next level.

Top criteria for hiring software developers

4 things the top 1% of software engineers do that the other 99% don’t

If you aspire to be something more than a coder, make sure you incorporate all of them in your day by day.

1. Set high standards for your processes

In today's competitive developer landscape, success requires setting inner standards that exceed external expectations. To collaborate with exceptional developers, strive to become one yourself. To increase your earning potential, focus on delivering additional value. Embrace the practice of writing unit tests, not out of obligation, but because you genuinely believe that exceptional code deserves thorough testing. Learn algorithms not solely for interview purposes, but to enhance your problem-solving skills and gain a deeper understanding of code functionality. Embrace Agile methodologies, not just to appease managers seeking fewer meetings, but because effective methodology and planning are vital for building outstanding software.

2. Embrace the power of focus

Recognize that your energy is finite. Each day presents approximately 8 hours to dedicate to improving your programming skills and software knowledge. To excel, direct your focus towards specific areas where you can truly shine. Imagine investing 120 hours in mastering JavaScript and its ecosystem, followed by 80 hours on cloud technologies encompassing CI/CD, deployment, and infrastructure. Additionally, devote 60 hours to exploring web performance, backend intricacies, and architectural concepts. After just six months, you'll emerge as a formidable software developer—a true master in your chosen domain. Witness firsthand the transformative power of focus.

Join the Index.dev intensively-growing tech recruitment platform to get featured to leading companies and a long-term well-paid remote job without delay →

3. Improve faster than the rest

According to a survey by Stack Overflow, developers who prioritize continuous learning and self-improvement tend to have higher job satisfaction and career advancement opportunities. Your learning rate as a developer is a pivotal factor that will greatly influence your career trajectory in the next decade. It directly correlates with the speed at which you grow. The faster you grow, the more valuable you become. Remember, it's not about the sheer number of technologies or concepts you learn; it's about the outcome of that learning journey (a crucial aspect often overlooked by many online courses). Numerous variables affect your learning rate as a developer, including what you choose to learn, how you approach learning, and how you apply your knowledge in real-world scenarios. Factors such as focus, structured learning, and practical application all contribute to your growth. By combining effective learning strategies with a disciplined approach, you'll experience an exponential learning curve.

4. Get a mentor

According to a survey, 76% of people acknowledge the importance of mentors, yet only 37% actually have one, highlighting the untapped potential for professional growth through mentorship. While it's possible to become a proficient developer without a mentor, reaching greatness becomes highly unlikely. Why? It's a matter of simple math. The journey to becoming an exceptional developer involves navigating an overwhelming number of things to learn and do. A mentor, particularly one with proven experience, can help streamline your path. They have the power to condense that infinite to-do list into a realistic, step-by-step plan tailored to your specific circumstances. Instead of spending years trying to figure things out on your own, you can leverage the knowledge and insights of those who have walked the path before you. With a mentor's guidance, you'll accelerate your progress, dramatically increasing your chances of success.

Join the Index.dev intensively-growing tech recruitment platform to get featured to leading companies and a long-term well-paid remote job without delay →

4 key factors to recruit top tech talent

Top tech skills for high-performing developers

As the tech industry continues to expand, employers now expect more than just coding proficiency from new hires. At Index.dev, a leading tech recruitment platform, we often receive inquiries from junior developers about the skills required to excel in high-performance roles. While this list is not exhaustive, it serves as an excellent starting point for those pursuing a career in software development. Let's dive in!

1. Cloud computing skills: According to a survey conducted by Stack Overflow, 82% of developers consider cloud platforms like AWS and Azure to be among the most in-demand tech skills. Stay ahead of the competition by mastering cloud platforms like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), or Microsoft Azure. To begin, we recommend focusing on AWS, given its wide industry adoption.

2. Data structures and algorithms: Many programming boot camps emphasize the importance of understanding data structures and algorithms. These fundamental concepts enable efficient problem-solving and are highly sought after by employers.

3. Git and GitHub: With over 70% of organizations utilizing Git, mastering this version control system is essential. Knowledge of Git and GitHub will streamline your collaborative coding workflows.

4. Containers: Familiarize yourself with containerization technologies like Docker and Kubernetes. These tools are becoming indispensable for developers, software engineers, data scientists, and even project managers.

Also read: Kubernetes for software engineers: What no one tells you but you need to know 

5. Integrated Development Environments (IDEs): Modern IDEs such as Eclipse, IntelliJ IDEA, or VSCode are crucial tools for programmers. Choose an IDE that aligns with your preferred programming languages and workflows.

6. Database and SQL: Understanding databases is essential, and knowledge of one popular database system like Oracle, MySQL, Microsoft SQL Server, or PostgreSQL will suffice. Additionally, gaining proficiency in SQL, the standard language for database management, is invaluable.

7. Object-Oriented Programming: Mastering a programming language like C++, Java, Python, or JavaScript is fundamental for any developer. Object-oriented programming concepts provide a solid foundation for building robust and scalable applications.

8. DevOps: The demand for DevOps engineers proficient in tools like Jenkins, Puppet, and Octopus Deploy is skyrocketing. DevOps practices enable efficient and effective software development, making this skillset highly desirable across industries.

By focusing on these key tech skills, you can enhance your marketability and position yourself as a high-performing developer in today's competitive landscape.

Also read: 7 traits to look when hiring top level remote developers

Understanding this reality of the IT market around, enabled us to build a tech recruitment platform that could become home to thousands experienced and qualified developers from around the world. If you’re that exceptional developer everyone is talking about, join Index.dev for top-tier career opportunities. But first, discover how Index.dev matches developers with reputable clients

Apply for jobs in Python, Swift, Java, Ruby, R, Golang, DevOps, AI, Data Engineering, and more. What’s in it for you? High-paying remote software jobs with top US, UK & EU projects.