It’s 20 years old, but Microsoft’s .NET software development framework seems to be growing and improving with age. Read our guide to the knowledge and skills that separate the best .NET developers from the rest.

It’s been 20 years since Microsoft rolled out .NET, first as proprietary software and later as a free and open-source framework for Windows, Linux and macOS. With its vast library of tested, reusable code, .NET can be used to build everything from simple web apps to enterprise resource planning systems.

The framework continues to flourish, and .NET developers are highly sought after. A recent survey by developer tools company Infragistics found that 48% of managers were looking to recruit .NET developers.

So, if you’re a .NET developer looking to advance your career, now’s your chance to shine. Here are the technical and soft skills you should focus on.

what every senior .NET developer should know

You’ll be developing applications using one or more of the framework’s supported languages, such as C#, Visual Basic, Iron Ruby and Iron Python. But your reputation as a .NET developer will depend less on your proficiency in these and other languages and more on the degree to which your applications adhere to the five design principles of the .NET framework: These are as follows:

  • Interoperability: Applications built on, say, .NET 3.5 should still work on, say, .NET 4.7.
  • Portability: The most valuable .NET applications work not only on any Windows platform but also on operating systems like macOS and Linux.
  • Security: Senior .NET developers must be familiar with the framework’s in-built security mechanisms.
  • Memory management: Fixing memory leaks and optimizing features like the garbage collector are among the skills that separate the best .NET developers from the rest.
  • Simplified deployment: Developers working on enterprise applications must understand features like controlled code sharing, side-by-side versioning and on-the-fly updates

what is a .NET full-stack developer?

.NET full-stack developers are particularly sought after since they can work on both the front end and the back end elements of a web application. To excel in this role, you must have a firm grasp of ASP.NET, which extends the .NET platform with tools and libraries specifically designed for building web apps. A .NET full-stack developer should also be proficient in the following:

  • client-side technologies like JavaScript, HTML, Bootstrap and CSS
  • C# (the core language of NET.ASP development)
  • database configuration (including SQL-based databases)
  • the Microsoft Azure cloud computing service

essential soft skills for .NET developers

To become a standout .NET developer, you need to be good with humans as well as machines. Building on foundational soft skills like clear communication and calmness under pressure, the most successful .NET developers also possess the following:

  • A sense for which parts of the code to test at any given time. While this is partly a technical skill, it also depends on your ability to set priorities and not get bogged down in petty issues.
  • The smarts to leverage pre-existing code, so you’re not reinventing the wheel. The best software developers put the needs of the project above any desire to put their personal stamp on it.
  • A lifelong learning mindset. .NET is evolving at a fast clip, and developers need to keep up with the latest tips, tricks and best practices.

Think you have the technical aptitude and positive attitude to take your .NET career to the next level? Start a new job hunt today by browsing our job boards for remote and local .NET developer opportunities.