Concerned that maybe your programmer is losing his spark? Maybe you write code and want to know how you can reach the next level? Or maybe you read the article on the 5 year plateau. Here are a few ways to tell if a programmer still has the passion to make great things:

The programmer…

  1. Isn’t afraid to try new technologies, but knows when not to:

New technologies for programmers are emerging all the time. Excellent programmers spend time to research and try out these new technologies and keep the best ones in their toolbelt. That doesn’t mean that they will use a crucial project to experiment with something they know nothing about.

  1. Has no fear to ask for help, and is also willing to assist:

A good clue is, when searching for help on Stack Overflow, the programmer answers questions he or she comes across.

  1. Doesn’t just fix THE problem, but also fixes the larger problem:

The mark of an excellent programmer is the solution they come up with that is not only an excellent fit for the problem, but can also be reused by other programmers when they have similar issues. One provision to note (and this can also be a bad sign) if the solution has already been accomplished and is readily available. A good programmer will check for existing solutions first, and code second.

  1. Contributes and listens to fellows and the community:

The first three signs are symptoms of this larger point. If the programmer is adding back to the community, that means that they can get feedback about their code and potentially learn from the masses as a whole. Making code available on a package manager requires that the coder follow higher standards, like good comments and documentation, because if it isn’t done, no one will benefit from it.

  1. Has personal programming projects outside of work:

Home is an excellent testing ground that doesn’t have the same stressful constraints as work. There the programmer can work freely on something that might turn out to be very helpful back at work.

  1. Has an obsession with documentation and testing:

Documentation has a way of clarifying what has been done and what still remains. If properly obsessed, a programmer assesses how well they are doing by writing and reading their own docs.

A good programmer will measure his or her own performance with tests. If tests are constantly going, not only can he or she be confident in their code, but also realize mistakes and fix them.

  1. Is consistently reading articles about programming:

If for nothing else, there are security blog posts that we all should know about. Programmers need to be on top of this so that they can protect their sites and packages. Articles are a great way to know what’s new and worthy to try.