These are the top three personal characteristics I would recommend:
1) The ability to learn: Technology changes so fast that you will always be in learning mode. If you are not, you will be left behind. Expect to have to learn on your own time, in your own way, at your own direction. But don't chase everything. Pick a few areas and focus on those (also don't pick just one).
2) Communication: It used to be said that people that went into IT where not good with other people. In today's world, you have to be able to connect with your customers. You need to be able to understand the people that you serve so that you can deliver what they need. You also have to be able to communicate complex ideas to non-technical partners. Additionally, you need to be able to share ideas among technical peers. All of this depends on your ability to form an idea and express yourself. Don't worry if this seems more challenging than the technical side. There are plenty of resources out there and realizing this is important puts you much further down the road to success than you think.
3) Integrity and the Golden Rule: I would put this on any list. The personal quality to do the right thing, regardless of whether someone is watching, or if there is a reward. The right thing to do is not always easy to determine when it comes to technology, however being honest, transparent, owning your actions, and supporting your teammates is always straight forward. This won't be taught to you in school, and society will show you many examples of just the opposite, but success will always be there for you by some measure if you can follow this advise.
Glenn recommends the following next steps:
- Pick three technology areas and research to understand that space in order to chose a focus (cloud computing, machine learning, API patterns, UI/UX development, etc.). Don't worry, you can change them later if you find it doesn't fit you long term.
- Start reading about positive company cultures. They almost all are predicated on open and positive communication habits.