4 Key Skills You’ll Develop Working in a Technical Team

Consider all the different types of software you use in everyday life: Facebook to see what your friends are up to, Google Chrome to browse the internet, Skype to contact friends and family, and Spotify to listen to music. Despite serving wildly different purposes, what do all these pieces of software have in common? The answer is that they are all written by a technical team working together to build the best program possible.

If you want to help build best-in-class software for everyone to use, one of the most critical things to master is how to become a productive member of a technical team. When starting a career as a web developer, you will be thrown into a team of other developers, both junior and senior, and expected to be able to add value from day one.

Skill 1: Learn to Initiate GitHub Pull Requests & Code Reviews

When working by yourself, you alone are responsible for the quality of the code. That means if you take sloppy short-cuts or write poor quality code you will be the only person that has to pay the price. When working as part of a technical team, it is the whole team’s responsibility to make sure that only high-quality, well tested, and bug-free code is accepted into the project.

Skill 2: Learn to Break Large Problems into Smaller Ones

Each team member works as a multiplier on the amount of code the team can produce. In order to reap the rewards of having many people contributing to the same project, large tasks need to be broken into small tasks that can be worked on in parallel.

Skill 3: Implement Test-Driven Development for Future Success

Having a robust test suite is more important when working on a team rather than if you’re a cowboy coder or coding all by yourself. This is because projects can amass a lot of code, think 10,000 lines or more, and can quickly get very complicated. With that much code, someone who hasn’t worked directly with a particular section of the application before cannot be expected to know every nuance of how the application works.

Skill 4: Navigate Merge Conflicts and Improve Communication

Merge conflicts happen when two team members attempt to make contradictory, or conflicting, changes. Good communication as a team can help prevent avoidable conflicts, but sometimes they just happen as a result of building software as part of a technical team.

Here’s a scenario that could potentially cause a merge conflict: