10 Skills Every SharePoint Developer Needs
This blog post guides you through the essential skills for a successful SharePoint developer. Great SharePoint developers know how to use scripting, design, and drafting tools. They have knowledge of out of the box features that don’t necessarily need customization. This list includes the addition of a few personal attributes too.
1. Know the Out of the Box Tools Available to a SharePoint Developer
This is the skill required above all else. You can be interviewing an amazing .NET developer who really knows their stuff, but never worked specifically in SharePoint. Unfortunately hiring him would be a huge fail on your part. SharePoint development is an odd beast and even someone who has top notch skills in all of the below mentioned areas, but no real understanding of SharePoint will fall on their face when attempting to tackle your project.
Find someone who can talk SharePoint with you and prove experience using the following Windows-specific tools:
- Out of the box features for creating webpages, forms, workflows and more are a must. Developers need to be able to work with Business Connectivity Services, Master Pages, Apps, Page Layouts, User Store, Web Parts, Windows Workflow Foundation, SharePoint Ribbon, etc.
- SharePoint Object Model (OM)
- SharePoint Designer
- Visual Studio
I just said a great .NET developer without SharePoint knowledge is a waste of an interview, but that doesn’t mean your SharePoint developer shouldn’t know .NET. This is the basis of SharePoint and any custom development that needs to be done in this environment requires knowledge of the .NET syntax to make it work.
You will need knowledge of this programming language in addition to your ASP.NET skills in order to understand and ultimately build great SharePoint solutions.
4. REST API and jQuery
Windows offers a wide variety of apps that can be leveraged for your needs. You can use InfoPath for basic forms (very basic forms). However, if you need or just want something a bit more advanced or customized, then you will need to apply your skills with the REST API and jQuery to get the job done.
For your webpages and the compatibility that now comes with IE10, HTML5 knowledge will be a must for a SharePoint developere.
If you want the capabilities of giving your SharePoint site a face-lift, than you will need to look for a SharePoint developer with some awesome CSS skills that can override the out of the box styles SharePoint gives you.
8. Understand the End User’s Experience
This is really true for any developer, but especially true for a SharePoint developer. The SharePoint architecture is really geared towards developing solutions not necessarily just building features. This is why there are so many out of the box elements to support end user document management, sharing, etc.
SharePoint developers need to have an ear for diagnosing end user’s problems, the ability to prescribe the right solution and then ultimately determine the right combination of methods using the skills mentioned above to deliver the right features.
9. Be Able to Train Users and Document Process
Again you diagnosed the problems, now you have to convince your end user to follow your prescription. Provide clear documentation and training to support your end user in tackling the new processes you created and be there to support and remind them that this is a fix to the problems they experience.
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As you have probably come to find out, SharePoint is unique in terms of development. It tries to provide all the solutions you need through its out of the box features and there’s very little “build from the ground up” development necessary. Additionally, the places where custom code is needed requires you to alter your techniques to fit the SharePoint framework.
All this means is that as a developer (especially if your not actively developing in SharePoint already) you need to leave your typical coding mindset at the door and try to play by the SharePoint rules which requires a ton of patience on your part. Be prepared to get frustrated, to curse and to just walk away from your computer at least a few times as you navigate the environment known as SharePoint.