More valueable to your company that is. It may seem like that the guy who knows EMACS like a wizard is one of your company’s strongest programmers, but at the end of the day, the company doesn’t give two hoots about how well configured your text editor is. Instead, its the guy still developing via click and point GUI editors, but is the only one who really understands the widget toolkit that all of your company’s programs develops on and often times has bugs. HE is the guy who your company won’t want to lose.

Here are some tips about becoming that kind of developer.

1) Stop reading and start doing

Are your continuous integration tests failing for some reason after you changed a dependency? Look at the error messages in the logs and start trying fixes! You don’t have to read about on how Travis CI works to get an idea of where it failed.

The great thing about being a software developer is that our mistakes are pretty well managed by version control like git. So it’s usually much more efficient to try a bunch of potential fixes to a bug, rather than reading a whole lot about the library the bug occured in and not trying anything until much later.

2) Work on something people don’t want to work on

UNLESS YOU WILL BE MISERABLE DOING IT. This refers more to aspects of software that might scare normal developers, for example with what happens with the code after they write it and before the user installs it – the deployment process. These necessary parts of the process need to be understood by someone, and often that person is considered valueable by the company.

3) Dig into the details of a problem (go beyond the quick fix)

Sure, you can look at a Stack Overflow answer to an error you were having, but if you come across it again, will you know what to do? By spending the time to really get familiar with a small part of the project – say an error thrown by some 3rd party library, you become the resident expert on it. And the moment you get the chance to actually explain it to someone when they come across it, you appear all the more knowledgeable in general.

4) Talk to coworkers with more experience than you

This is good for multiple reasons. First, you learn what they like doing and what they don’t like doing. Maybe you hear about opportunities of something they might need help on.

Second, people start to learn more about what YOU are doing. If you are asking a lot of questions to your company’s resident ‘Qt’ expert. They might mention your name the next time someone comes to them about ‘Qt’