Whether a business is developing a customer-facing application or software to be used internally, finding a talented programmer can be challenging. It's important to bring on a developer who has the technical skills you need, but those aren't the only important skills.

An ideal developer is one who helps you meet deadlines and makes the workplace a pleasant one. Here are five personality traits you'll find in a top developer.

Language-Specific Skills

A specific type of application requires specific coding skills. First, you'll need to identify the language your software will require and learn as much as possible about it. A website developer will have different skills than someone building custom software for your team. If you aren't sure the exact skills that will be necessary for your project, ask a trusted friend in the business.

However, it's also important to note that languages can be learned. Look for candidates who have the ability and willingness to learn new languages as the need arises and invest in training if necessary to get new hires up to speed.

Passion for Coding

Some of the best programmers live and breathe IT. They may even build apps and websites in their free time. As you're searching for a developer, look for skills, hobbies, and memberships that indicate a level of passion for technology. That passion will easily translate to your own projects.

In addition to an interest in technology, it can also be beneficial for the chosen developer to have a passion for the type of work you do. For instance, a developer with no interest whatsoever in healthcare might find it grueling to spend long hours hammering away at an application to help doctors' offices. While a passion for the subject matter isn't required, it does help a developer grasp the big picture related to the work he's doing.

Problem-Solving Ability

This can be one of the most difficult skill areas to ascertain during an interview or phone consultation. Yet despite this difficulty, it's very difficult to determine a person's problem-solving ability during the interview process. You could ask trivia questions, but this just turns up the heat in a situation that's already uncomfortable.

Services like Toptal screen candidates for their problem-solving ability prior to referring them to you. Through this process, they isolate the top percentage of all candidates to make sure businesses get only the best.


Communication goes beyond simply being able to speak well. Today's professionals must be able to create professional-quality emails and updates, as well as present ideas in front of a group. If your developers will be interacting with your clients, it's especially important to identify those candidates that can communicate well.

Developers can spend a great deal of time seated in front of a computer, analyzing and creating code. However, the ability to interact with team members and communicate with supervisors is essential to ensuring your projects progress smoothly. We ran into this early with our company Due. In the beginning days we had outsourced developers that didn't communicate well with our internal full time programmers. This didn't last long and we soon had to let them go. Communication is key to making this work.


Like everyone who does work for your organization, your developers must be reliable. This means showing up on time for work and meetings, as well as meeting work deadlines without making excuses. One of the best ways to determine a person's dependability is to look at his work history. You'll also want to discuss his past performance with his previous supervisors.

Final Thoughts

Instead of hiring a full-time developer, you may want to work on a contract basis, bringing someone on for one project to see how he works out. If you opt to go with a full timer, make sure you have them on probationary status for the earliest months to give yourself the option of dismissing the employee if they are unreliable.

When you need a developer, it's important to consider all of the skills you need in a new employee. These include hard skills like programming language experience as well as soft skills like communication skills, reliability, and teamwork. With the right vetting process, you'll build a team that will finish winning applications well ahead of deadlines.