Listening as a Development Differentiator

Developer Support

This post is by Application Development Manager, Katie Konow, who highlights that when it comes to productive teams, key contributors, and personal growth– listening can be a differentiator.


What does listening have to do with technology?

Listen in while I run through how being a great listener can help you progress in your career. Even if your career goal is to stay technical or always be a developer, excelling in your chosen career will require you to differentiate yourself from the group. For some, this may mean being the go-to expert for regular expressions, COBOL, or that one piece of code that is 12 years old and impossible to read. For others and for those new to the profession, one of the best ways to stand out is to listen. As a developer, why should you improve on your listening skills?

  • Listening to the advice your managers, colleagues and friends give can make you a better teammate and stronger person in general. Jason Bock tells a story about how listening has affected and improved his twenty year career on his blog here.
  • By listening to your project’s stakeholders, owners, end users and consumers you can spot opportunities that others might not. Whether this means you jump on to a new project that skyrockets you to a new level of your career or point out a hole in the project plan – you will prove your commitment to the team, your project and your role. Being dependable is of great value to your team.
  • If you are actively developing, underestimating the importance of talking out a problem with a teammate can cost valuable time. Your teammate may not even know the language you are writing in – but the exercise of explaining how you are stuck and listening to their troubleshooting process can help you find your way out of the problem. Vice versa, being the ears to hear about your teammates stalemate could help you learn a new debugging technique or illuminate a bigger problem with the project. A great perspective on when and how to ask for help and participate can be found here. In other words, be the duck.

All three of these were integral to my career.  I would not be a part of the Premier Developer team if I hadn’t listened. I listened at my first development job when they hinted that they needed developers to learn and evaluate a new Microsoft product, SharePoint. I was one of two volunteers and as it turned out, becoming a SharePoint developer has defined my career. I listened to my coworkers, development and infrastructure, and grew as a developer at the same time that I was building a network of trusted advisors. I listened to those advisors when they told me to apply for a role where I didn’t meet every job requirement. I trusted that they knew how my strengths would benefit the role.

These are just three of the reasons that listening has helped my career move forward. Tell us why listening has been a boon to your career, or tell us why you agree with Ross Williamson that the best developers don’t ask for help.

Premier Support for Developers provides strategic technology guidance, critical support coverage, and a range of essential services to help teams optimize development lifecycles and improve software quality.  Contact your Application Development Manager (ADM) or email us to learn more about what we can do for you.


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