What defines a professional software engineer?

There isn’t a simple answer to that question, but after reading several books on the subject I identified some tips that I have found useful.

Which ones do you like? Which ones don’t you like? What do you think is still missing in this list?


  • Ability to estimate and manage project timelines and deliverables.
  • Understanding of project management methodologies such as Agile, Scrum, or Waterfall.
  • Effective communication skills to ensure all stakeholders are aware of project status and any potential delays.
  • Prioritization skills to manage competing deadlines and tasks effectively.
  • Ability to identify and mitigate project risks to ensure successful delivery.


  • Strong technical skills and ability to write clean, maintainable code.
  • Effective use of productivity tools such as IDEs, version control systems, and automated testing frameworks.
  • Ability to work efficiently and effectively both independently and as part of a team.
  • Willingness to learn and adapt to new technologies and approaches.
  • Ability to identify and eliminate time-wasting activities and distractions.

Professional Development

  • Commitment to ongoing learning and skill development to keep up with industry trends and advancements.
  • Active participation in professional development opportunities such as conferences, workshops, and online courses.
  • Willingness to seek out and receive constructive feedback to continuously improve.
  • Openness to mentorship and guidance from more experienced professionals.
  • Strong networking skills to build relationships and learn from other professionals in the industry.


  • Ability to approach problems methodically and systematically to identify the root cause.
  • Strong analytical skills to diagnose and resolve technical issues effectively.
  • Familiarity with debugging tools and techniques to pinpoint issues.
  • Effective communication skills to explain technical issues to non-technical stakeholders.
  • Ability to work collaboratively with other team members to resolve complex technical issues.

The books