10 Essential Skills for Self-Taught Developers

Alex Maher
17 min readJun 3

I’d like to take you on a journey back in time, precisely 15 years ago, when my journey into software development began. As a younger me, armed with nothing but curiosity, I was introduced to the html and css.

In the beginning, it was all about figuring out the basics. HTML websites were my training ground. Then came PHP, followed by JavaScript. Every new language was like a puzzle. This wasn’t a walk in the park — every line of code, every bug was a battle fought and won.

What made this journey bearable, and indeed enjoyable, were the fellow travellers I met along the way — the coding community. I became a frequent visitor to coding forums, a place teeming with others who shared my passion and were always ready to lend a helping hand.

The thrill of it all was in the exploration. Each day brought a new challenge, a new piece of code to try, or an innovative idea that sprang up overnight. I remember particularly enjoying creating game bots when I learned C#.

But remember, it wasn’t just about hard work and perseverance. Fun was an integral part of the journey. After all, when you enjoy what you do, learning becomes not a chore, but a pleasure. So here I am, ready to share the essential skills I’ve picked up along my 15-year journey as a self-taught developer.

Skill 1: Self-Discipline and Motivation

The first skill I’d like to talk about might not sound particularly technical or flashy, but trust me, it’s the bedrock upon which all other skills rest — Self-Discipline and Motivation.

Let’s face it; the path of a self-taught developer is not easy. There are no teachers to guide you, no deadlines to adhere to, and no grades to measure your progress. Your progress is in your own hands, determined solely by the amount of time and effort you’re willing to put in. That’s where self-discipline steps in.

Self-discipline is the ability to buckle down and stay focused on your goal, even when distractions are aplenty, and progress seems slow. It’s about setting a schedule for yourself, sticking to it, and continually pushing yourself to learn and improve, even when things get tough.

Alex Maher

.NET C# dev with 10+ yrs exp, self-taught & passionate web developer. Sharing tips & experiences in C# and web dev.