When your goal is to hire an outstanding developer, it’s relatively easy to pinpoint the needed technical skills. But what sets A-level talent apart is the perfect balance of high-tech and high-touch. In other words, strong interpersonal skills are just as critical in the individual who will successfully bring your ideas to life without wasting your time or money.

Here are six key attributes to look for in your next great developer:


Your developer is not just another hired hand. Ideally, they become your partner as they bring skills to the table that turn your vision into distinct reality. If your gut says you can’t trust them, this simply won’t happen.

  • You shouldn’t feel as though you’re second guessing your developer’s motivations or decisions. Such a lack of trust will seriously impede progress, devastate morale and slow momentum.


To be a great developer, a person must want to develop software. Those who are passionate about their work often are palpably excited and positive – and their enthusiasm is contagious.

  • The best developers have a commitment to lifelong learning. This encompasses a willingness to self-develop and adapt to new environments. They embrace learning and continually challenge themselves to master new skills.
  • It’s like being a musician and loving your instrument. A great guitarist doesn’t need to be told to practice. They simply want to. Similarly, great developers can’t wait to explore their next coding challenge.

Analytical Skill

It seems obvious, but it must be included: Your developer must have superlative abilities in software design, analysis, coding and debugging. Look for:

  • Excellent problem-solving skills.
  • The ability to “look into the future” when predicting the next step in software design and programming.
  • An innate capability to see software as a whole, not just the small piece that they are currently developing.

Business Orientation

A great developer understands the business impact of their work. Developed with a skilled understanding of both business and technical issues, an application can be a powerful competitive advantage. Your developer’s skills include the capability to:

  • Understand software from a business perspective.
  • Appreciate client needs.
  • Convert business problems into technical solutions.
  • Collaborate with persons from non-technical arenas.

Previous Successful Client Experience

A developer may consistently produce high-quality work, but simply not be good at working with clients. They must be “people” people.

  • Previous client experience means your developer has existing processes and workflow systems in place. This creates a much smoother experience for you and helps prevent common problems that would otherwise arise during your project.
  • Ask for references. Look for prior experience involving differing situations, systems, architectures, technologies and environments. The more, the better.

Communication Skills

A developer who is a strong communicator will ensure that you always have a clear view of your projects and their status. This includes the ability to explain everything in layman’s terms versus confusing technical jargon.

  • Developers increasingly must communicate across larger sections of your organization. Clients are focused on business processes and great developers need to communicate on this level as well.

Consider partnering with a recruitment firm that specializes in the IT industry as you develop a successful strategy for attracting, hiring and retaining software developers. Contact Magellan Search & Staffing to learn more.