List of evergreen skills that should serve as a fair assessment of software developers / engineers; as opposed to framework trends
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Evergreen Skills for Software Developers

This repository includes a list of "evergreen skills" that should serve as a fair assessment of skilled software developers / engineers.

The purpose of this work is to serve as an alternative resource for conducting hiring interviews of software developers / engineers. This document focuses on software development best practices, cross-framework principles and other portable skills; instead of the usual focus on trends and/or specific knowledge of short-lived frameworks, which tend to quickly become outdated and often don't reflect the real value software developers / engineers bring to the organization.

This repository is a derivative work of the following article: "What Makes a Great Software Engineer".

This is a work in progress. Important knowledge might be missing, existing bullets can probably be improved and better grouping strategies could be found. For those reasons, any contributions (i.e. PRs) are welcome. Please feel free to propose changes following the contributing guideline.

Table of contents

Core Skills (aka "soft" skills)



  • Keep low egos
  • Be an active listener
  • Be a good mentor
  • Share knowledge
  • Engage in constructive decisions

Technical collaboration

Innovation & (self-)management skills

Development process

  • Comfortable with iterative and incremental development
  • Self-organizing capability
  • Avoid creating false expectations
  • Focus on priorities and business value

Problem solving skills


  • Don't fear change
  • Dare to fail
  • Be a life-long learner
  • Be rational: question decisions, "let the facts do the talking"

Technical skills

General technical knowledge


  • Basic control structures and Boolean algebra
  • OOP
  • Functional programming (pure functions, recursion,...)
  • Declarative vs Imperative programming (see differences)

Data structures

  • Basic structures (basic types, array, matrix, object...)
  • Caching / memoization
  • Hash codes, tokens, encodings (e.g. Base64)

Clean code

  • Self-explanatory code
  • Use good naming (for files, variables, classes, functions...)
  • Avoid long functions and classes
  • Extract complex boolean conditions into functions
  • Use lightweight documentation instead of inline-comments
  • Semantic versioning

Collaboration and SCM

  • CVS / SCM knowledge
  • Understand why versioning is important
  • Commit best practices (micro commits / atomic commits, good descriptions...)
  • Feature branches / feature toggles
  • Trunk-based development
  • Dependency management

"DevOps" practices

  • Build automation
  • Write automated tests
  • Differences between unit, integration and system tests
  • Test pyramid
  • Continuous Integration
  • Continuous Delivery vs Deployment

Field-specific technical knowledge

Front-end development

  • DOM (definition, understanding, virtual DOM...)
  • Responsive design (purpose, advantages, progressive enhancement...)
  • API standards: REST / SOAP
  • State management (associated problems, stateless approach...)
  • MVC and derivatives
  • WebSockets

Back-end development

  • Relational databases (how they work, basic concepts...)
  • Batch processes / Cron Jobs
  • Database design
  • ORM
  • Session handling
  • Error Handling, Auditing and Logging

Architecture & infrastructure

  • Externalized Configuration
  • Infrastructure as code
  • Microservices
  • Virtual machines vs Containers
  • Master-slave pattern
  • Client-server pattern


  • Public-key cryptosystems (e.g. RSA)
  • Principle of least privilege
  • DoS / DDoS
  • SQL injection
  • Man-in-the-middle attack
  • XSS and CSRF

Scaling & optimization

  • Load balancing
  • Redundancy
  • Latency
  • Lazy loading


  • Race condition
  • Deadlock
  • Mutual exclusion

This work is released under the terms specified in this license file, based on MIT License.