Day of the Programmer: market seeks professional who understands their business

By Tarcísio Mello, Research and Development Manager at Hexagon Agriculture

20 September 2019

Agile methodologies are currently very much in vogue in the area of software development. They require teams of programmers to be very dynamic in order to deliver customer value more frequently. This trend requires a developer profile that goes beyond the professional who "just" knows how to program. It is clear that technicalities are important, even more so taking into account the speed of technological changes, but the new market reality is seeking professionals who also understand the processes that are part of the business for which they are programming.

Why is this knowledge so important? Because being connected to the customer's business speeds up deliveries, corroborating what has been required of developer teams through methodologies such as DevOps. As a manager of a team of developers, I wouldn't be able to be efficient if I had to go into the smallest details when presenting the requirements of a customer demand to the development team. I would spend a lot of time on this and, as a result, it would take longer to make the delivery and generate value. If the team were already familiar, their agility would be much greater.

And it's not just the speed that counts in this journey. When the team understands the customer's processes, the chance to deliver a higher quality product is infinitely higher. Over more than 20 years working as a developer, I have several experiences that show how a professional aligned with the market reduces the rate of customer dissatisfaction and, consequently, reworking on solutions. Having to do it again wastes time (and competitiveness) on both sides. I learned that we can't treat our internal development team as if it were just a software factory.

We are specialized. Therefore, whenever I present the demands and requirements for the team of developers, I have sought to spend more time contextualizing the work from the point of view of the business for which it is intended. My expectation is for the programmers to learn about the processes of the agricultural sector, the focus of our company, and to create a culture of information and interest. I want them to bear in mind not only the mission of creating a button on a screen, but that they know how that button fits into the customer's process and what benefit that will bring to the customer.

This immersion in the customer's world is an even more indispensable condition for those professionals who have the ambition to occupy management positions. After all, the least one can expect from a development manager is that they understand what the customer is trying to say and what problem they are trying to solve. I've already received praise from a customer because unlike other suppliers, I could understand what they were asking me for. Finally, there is nothing more rewarding for a professional than knowing that their work was useful to someone else. In conversation with a user of a solution developed by our team, I had the privilege of hearing: "What you did changed my life."

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