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Development is More than Just Coding! Pamela Delaney Technical Staff Attributes of Influential Software Developers 1.

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Presentation on theme: "Development is More than Just Coding! Pamela Delaney Technical Staff Attributes of Influential Software Developers 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 Development is More than Just Coding! Pamela Delaney Technical Staff Attributes of Influential Software Developers 1

2 Key Questions Why do some technically skilled people have tremendous organizational influence? Why are they the go-to people in crunch situations when others with equal (or better) technical skills have little or no influence and are passed over? 2 MINK October 2013

3 University Defined Skills for Success … Typical CS/CE Undergraduate Degree –60% technology, engineering –30% math, physics, humanities, social science –10% communication, speech, language Typically Freshman level general education courses Universities curricula place little or no emphasis on teamwork, writing, presentation and social skills. These are not important. 3 MINK October 2013

4 Is this a problem for a technical career? Definitions for nerd and geek include … –socially impaired –socially awkward –have non-mainstream activities, which are generally highly technical The implication is that highly technical people are smart but that, as a group, they are thought to have poor social / communication skills. 4 MINK October 2013

5 Assertion … The difference between the technical experts with influence and those without is their –Leadership skills –People skills –Communication skills What is it that influential people do that is so special? 5 MINK October 2013

6 1. They Treat Everyone As A Customer Focus –Listen & ask questions Authority –Take ownership –No drama –Customer is assured that a solution will be found Communicate –Share knowledge –Mentor colleagues and customers –Excellent written and oral communication skills –Keep team members informed –Communicate effectively with technical and non- technical audiences 6 MINK October 2013

7 2. They are Team Players Flexible –Take on problems outside their expertise and grow skills as needed for the sake of the team Respectful –Attend on-time and engage in meetings –Relaxed body language –Inclusive oral language –Work with anyone! –Courteous Conflict Resolution Specialists –Open to new approaches –Accept different viewpoints –Re-evaluate decisions when new data are available –Can compromise 7 MINK October 2013

8 3. They Push the Envelope Strategic Thinkers Technically current! –Understand the business –Understand upcoming products and propose changes for better quality or maintenance or for future feature support Drive change –Different kernel, compiler, source archival tool, other ideas, … Go beyond their job –Develop tools / processes that benefit in-house needs –Specialized tools for debug, visualization of configuration, etc. Unsatisfied with the status quo, they learn to work the system to drive improvement 8 MINK October 2013

9 Influence / Leadership Detractors Poor communication skills –Cannot work with customers Poor people skills –Why work with someone who is difficult? –Why work with his or her company? Individualistic, not aTeam Contributor –Negatively affects team dynamics Non-Leader by Choice –Do not want the responsibility –Wont assume risk 9 NetApp Confidential - Internal Use Only

10 Assertion … People skills and leadership skills are the difference between those with influence and those without, given equal technical abilities. Building influence requires that you …. 10 MINK October 2013

11 Stay Technically Current Technical expertise is necessary –Learn your business and your product(s) External - customer perspective Internal – code, builds, distribution, …. –Find out what is important to your company Read promotion announcements –drive for results, executes without drama and builds a terrific team …. Understand company goals/mission Make continual learning part of your daily routine! 11 MINK October 2013

12 Build Social / Teamwork Skills Treat the social aspect of your job as seriously as you treat the technical aspect. –Read –Take leadership courses –Take classes on conflict resolution –Build a network Get to know your colleagues Be a Mentor / Get a Mentor –Ask for feedback –Say Yes! when someone needs help. 12 MINK October 2013

13 Ashton Kutchers comments to a group of teenage girls…(Aug, 2013) is a perfect business motto: Be Smart, be Thoughtful & be Generous 13 MINK October 2013

14 The Bs (Julie Parrish, CMO NetApp) Be Nice Echoed by Sandberg in Lean In. Be Flexible Try new things, step out of your comfort zone, trust your abilities. Be Good at your Job Be a technical expert! Forward thinker! Understand your business. Be Present Dont just show up, engage! Participate & prepare for meetings, be on time, bring ideas to the table, make opportunities. (See Lean In) Be Good at Conflict Resolution Its all about teamwork. Learn to manage conflict to get the best from the team. Be Relaxed with Organizational Change Change happens. Be supportive, look for the silver lining. Be Helpful Re: Kutcher, Re: Sandberg. Success is a team effort 14 NetApp Confidential - Internal Use Only

15 Summary Technical skills alone will be enough to land a job and to start climbing a technical ladder, but they are not enough to develop influence and may not be enough to keep a job. –Work as hard on your communication / people skills as you do on your technical skills. –Work hard on your technical skills to grow expertise and remain current –Have confidence in your abilities to do the unknown. 15 MINK October 2013

16 16 MINK October 2013

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