🔐 How to Unlock Your Full Potential as a Developer

5 Must-Have Skills for Modern Day Coding Pros

🔐 How to Unlock Your Full Potential as a Developer

From the very start of my career as a developer, I have often doubted myself, and I’m sure many developers can say the same about themselves.

Dealing with imposter syndrome can be like fighting a battle with a monster that has endless lives. Every time you think you’ve conquered it 🗡, it respawns and attacks again!

As a new dev, there are many things you worry about that can make you doubt your abilities, such as:

  • Am I learning fast enough?

  • How do I solve that problem?

  • What if I make a mistake?

I used to worry about these things all the time to the point where I began to feel overwhelmed. Not to mention the fact that technology is always evolving, so there was the added pressure of feeling like I had to constantly stay up-to-date with the latest tools and trends.

Until one day I was speaking to a coworker (who had been a dev for many more years than myself) and shared my concerns with him. He told me that even with over 15 years of experience, he still feels like he is behind the times and doesn’t know everything.
Yet at work, he never came across like this. He was always confident and forth-coming with great new ideas. Even when solving problems he never showed any doubt that he wouldn’t find a solution.

And that’s when it clicked for me.

It wasn’t his development skills alone that made him a great developer, it was his attitude.

Instead of saying:

“this problem is too hard, I don’t know how I’m going to solve it”,

he would say:

“let’s try a few things, and if that doesn’t work we can try something else”.

This made me think about how I could change my own attitude towards being a developer, and unlock my full potential outside of just improving my coding skills.

After observing my colleagues some more and trying a few things out myself, I identified some ways to feel more confident in meeting the demands of modern-day development.

In this article I’ll explore 5 of these skills, and provide tips on how you can cultivate and master them:

#1 - Learn how to think critically 💭

As a developer, you'll be faced with a wide variety of challenges, and the ability to think critically and come up with creative solutions will be key to your success. A big part of this is learning how to approach problems from different perspectives.

Imagine you're troubleshooting an issue with your code, instead of getting frustrated because you can’t figure it out, you try to think critically, you dig deeper and you look for the root cause of the problem.

Try taking a step back from the problem.

Then review the code again. Next, research similar issues, and experiment with different solutions. By taking a critical thinking approach, you'll be able to come up with a more effective solution and resolve the issue more efficiently.

#2 - Embrace a growth mindset 🌻

Instead of seeing challenges as obstacles, view them as opportunities to grow and improve as a developer. Embrace learning from your mistakes and always be open to feedback and constructive criticism.

Some tips:

  • Seek out feedback and constructive criticism. This will help you to identify areas where you need to improve and give you a different perspective on your work. Act on the feedback you receive, and take it as a learning opportunity to improve your skills.

  • Learn from your mistakes. Instead of dwelling on them, take them as an opportunity to learn and grow. Reflect on what went wrong and what you could do differently next time.

  • Surround yourself with people who have a growth mindset. Spend time with other developers who are passionate about learning and growing, this can help you to adopt a similar mindset and will give you access to new ideas and perspectives.

  • Stay positive. A positive attitude and staying open to new ideas and opportunities to learn and grow are key to embracing a growth mindset.

#3 - Develop and build your soft skills 🗣

Soft skills such as leadership, negotiation, and emotional intelligence can be just as important as technical skills. As a developer, you may be called on to lead a team, negotiate with clients, or work with a diverse group of people.

Practice by taking on more leadership roles in projects, volunteering to lead meetings, or even role-playing different scenarios to improve your communication skills.

Developing better soft skills will help you to work more effectively with others, build better relationships and ultimately make you feel more confident amongst your peers.

#4 - Understand the business side of things 📊

Most developers just want to turn up and code, but having a deep understanding of the business or company you work for will help you to build better products.

Pay attention to the following:

  • The industry you work in

  • The target market of your product or service

  • Your company’s competitors

  • The benefits to the customer your product or service provides

When you understand the business side of things, you’ll be able to effectively communicate with non-technical stakeholders. This will enable you to have better and more collaborative conversations during the development process and provide better context to what you are building.

You’ll feel part of the whole process, rather than just a cog in the wheel.

#5 - Learn how to leverage automation 🔁

There will be many ways to automate tasks that you’ll come across as a developer. A lot of these will be part of your everyday workflow such as:

  • Automated testing

  • Automated deployment (CICD)

  • Automated data processing

  • Automated backups

By getting to know these processes quickly within your team and leveraging them within your work, you’ll find that you’ll feel like a much more accomplished developer.

Examples of what happens when you leverage automation well:

  • Automated testing → improves the quality of code and reduces the risk of bugs

  • Automated deployment → reduces the risk of errors and improves the speed of delivery

  • Automated data-processing → process large amounts of data quickly

  • Automated backups → protect systems against data loss, that can be recovered quickly

As you can see, being a modern-day developer doesn’t always have to be a constant battle with imposter syndrome.

Embrace these skills and you’ll be able to unlock your full potential.

A simple change in your mindset and how you approach problems, interact with people and adopt real-world skills is enough to make you look (and feel) confident as a new developer.


  1. Learn how to think critically 💭

  2. Embrace a growth mindset 🌻

  3. Develop and build your soft skills 🗣

  4. Understand the business side of things 📊

  5. Learn how to leverage automation 🔁

I hope this helps you slay that monster 🐉

All the best from your fellow ever-growing dev,

Cherlock Code

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