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Not all programmers are same, they have a wide range of skill sets, might hail from various parts of the world and cultures, and can have differing backgrounds and experiences. Hence, making the right choice in hiring a developer could be a tough task for Human Resource management team. What if you hire the wrong person for the job? Here are 5 essential characteristics that the HR manager or you should look out for in order to find an eligible candidate.

Characteristics That Define The Right Programmer

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Trait #1. Curiosity

A great programmer never stops learning. The first trait that defines a great programmer is that they never accept things ‘as is’; they need to poke deep inside the code, even when it appears to be working just fine, to be assured that it is infact working fine and give their approval. This is how such a trait in a programmer usually solves the problem before they become a problem, and it’s the quickest way to fix acute issues. Without this mentality, the programmer ends up with the lack of knowledge and is unable to find the issues. Unless the candidates are very shy during the interview, their curiosity, if they have it, will show up strongly during interviews.

Trait #2. Logical Reasoning

People who can add ‘2’ and ‘2’ to get ‘4’ are common these days, but people who can take ‘2+x = 4’ and figure out ‘x’ are hard to find. It may sound obvious that ‘x’ is ‘ 2’, but how to reach the conclusion strategically demonstrates the strong logic. Programming is an exercise in logic. This is why it matters to hire a candidate with strong math background or high scores in science because it generally indicates good logic skills. A good practice while interviewing a candidate is to leave blanks in sentences and let the candidate fill them in. In addition, if your company does a formal testing, that’s a good time to test logic skills.

Trait #3. Attention To Details

A significant portion of the programmer’s day is spent while reading, either it be someone else’s code or other websites for reference, documentation and project specs. Programmers who read slowly, or worse, don’t understand what they are reading, will be inefficient at best, and dangerous at worst. You don’t want a person on staff who misreads the spec and spends three weeks doing the wrong thing, and later you are left with no answer as to why the project was delayed. To gauge this quality, we strongly recommend that you use essay writing or passage reading test.

Attention is a close cousin of curiosity. A programmer who keenly observes things and pays attention to detail is more likely to be productive than the one who doesn’t. To gauge this quality, you need to start performing formal tests that include spot the difference and other aptitude tests.

Trait #4. Quick Learner Outside Of Programming

Just like a teacher needs working knowledge of the field she’s teaching, good programmers need to understand about the environment their softwares will work within. Unless your company is working to develop programming tools like compilers and IDEs, your programmers are working outside the realm of programming. Hence, it is essential that programmers know and understand they are gonna work in. Of course, you do not require a CPA with computer science degree to work on your accounting software projects, but a programmer who does not gets the basic idea of math and other rules of business involved, is going to be a liability.

If you are seriously considering a candidate for hiring, then take them on a tour of the facility and provide a brief about how various departments function and other jargon-free overviews of how the company works. Candidates who ask pointed questions that show their understanding of what is talked about, then you must come to a decision to hire them.

Trait #5. Self-learning Skills

Nowadays companies are finding it hard to put aside some budget to train their employees with any new technology changes that occur in the industry. This is unfortunate, but this is today’s business reality. The result is that most programmers, who love to code and their job, self-teach their skill sets. Programmers who are good at self-learning are going to be better at programming.

During the interview process, we like you to ask questions like: “How did you learn to do that?” when the candidate talks about something unique about coding, or, “How do you update your skills?” and “Do you read any programming-related magazines, articles, blogs ,books, etc?”. Candidates who demonstrate eagerness to learn new skills are the ones you are looking to have on your staff than those who don’t like to learn outside a formal training session.


Pushpendra ShuklaPushpendra is a highly innovative and passionate marketer working in the field of Digital Marketing for over 10 years now. He has been a witness to the evolution of SEO and Internet Marketing practices and has adapted his strengths to provide the best solutions to his clients.

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