What Are The Most Important Programming Skills?

The most important programming skills are the so-called “meta-skills”.

Programming is often not about the coding itself, but instead:

  • The ability to build a mental model of the core problem.
  • Understanding business requirements.
  • Mapping the known components into a chain of events or a story that works together.
  • Receiving all requirements and dependencies early on before hitting a blocker.
  • The skill of debugging all sorts of problems (from an analytical and technical standpoint).
  • The process of learning new skills, technologies, libraries, frameworks, patterns.

Beginner programmers often get stuck on specific problems and tasks. They look for a solution to a very limited problem that cannot be easily applied to other tasks and bug requests.

This leads to an endless learning cycle.

The better alternative is extrapolating that to a higher level – thus learning the core idea of a solution, platform, framework, module, and solving the problem once the “bigger picture” is clear.

This is why the “hacks” that most senior developers use are related to those “meta-skills” and not actually coding faster or formatting code better or other programming skills.