How to Hire Great Software Engineers:
Top 10 Skills to Assess

By ensuring that prospective engineering candidates instill the most critical skills, your organization will be better equipped to build and maintain software that stands out from the rest. So, what separates an engineer that can write 100 lines of code in one day to an engineer that writes “spaghetti code” (which is definitely not as tasty as it sounds)?
Let’s find out!

1.) Communication

While communication seems like the most obvious skill for any role, it’s even more imperative in engineering as they will often interact with co-workers and customers. One of the most important characteristics of a good engineer is the ability to explain something technical or complex to a layperson. You don’t want someone who says “I fixed the problem. Don’t ask me how I did it”. You want someone who can clearly articulate what they did, which is especially important when a customer has a problem with your software.

2.) Time Management

Having a good work ethic and being punctual is important, but beyond that, engineers also need to be able to predict how long things will take. They need to clearly set expectations with their manager or the client they’re working with and know how to hold themselves accountable.

3.) Analytical Skills

Being an engineer demands a diverse range of perspectives. They have to understand and meet the expectations of clients and users, which requires them to look at the solution through multiple lenses. Analytical skills also help engineers determine the best tools and technologies to be used in products in order to attain optimal performance and efficiency.

4.) Attention to Detail

Engineers are expected to be precise and meticulous, with a high level of attention to detail applied to everything, from coding to testing to documenting projects. A candidate who can demonstrate their ability to not overlook small but important details is imperative.

5.) Technical Knowledge

Technology is vast, and there are so many tools and platforms coming out in the market. Whether you’re looking for a more senior engineer or someone fresh out of school, any developer should have knowledge on how to integrate modern technologies to make a good product or software. It’s imperative that you know what technical skills are required before assessing candidates. This includes anything from programming languages (Java, Python, C#, etc.) to operating systems (Linux, iOS, Windows, etc.). Greatness doesn’t come from technical skills alone, however, as you can’t expect exceptional results from someone who doesn’t have the right skills for the job.

6.) Patience

The software development process can be long and complex, so it’s necessary for engineers to practice patience. Patience can help engineers maintain their levels of productivity and continue to produce quality work. When working with other members of their team, engineers also need to practice patience when training new team members or when describing how specific software functionality works.

7.) Teamwork

Engineers typically work as part of a team, and creating or maintaining great software programs requires the input and expertise of a great number of people. Successful engineers must understand how to compromise, how to motivate others to deliver the best work they’re capable of, and how to take and learn from criticism. As they always say, there’s no “i” in “team”!

8.) Problem Solving

One of the most crucial skills an engineer can possess is strong problem solving abilities. A large part of an engineer’s job is assessing a situation, identifying problems, and then finding solutions. In fact, engineers spend a high percentage of their time debugging rather than writing code. Therefore, it’s important to determine if a candidate is capable of handling obstacles in their daily work.

9.) Adaptability

The IT world is changing rapidly, and a good engineer needs to stay adaptable. It’s a safe bet to hire engineers who are always on the lookout for new tools and ways of doing things. The more they know, even if it’s outside your company’s preferred technology, the more of an asset they are. This is because mature technologies are more stable and cannot keep up, so it’s best to look for someone who follows industry news and simply cares about the craft of engineering.

10.) Creativity

When we think of creativity, we typically think of marketers or salespeople, however, creativity is important for engineers as well. Designing new capabilities in software and devising new features is a task that engineers will perform repeatedly in their roles.