Top 20 Software Developer SMART Goals Examples

Vladislav Gavriluk

Vladislav Gavriluk

CEO & Founder at Arounda

You have surely wondered how to retain a sense of direction, clarify motivation, and set priorities for thousand of tiny and bigger goals. A software developer's clear focus on their tasks is crucial as the digital industry is evolving fast, and the competition is tremendous. 

Arounda team of developers, designers, and managers has tested several options to organize our work, set milestones, and achieve results. In five years, we have completed more than 130 projects for startups, and SMEs client and SMART goals are among our favorite management instruments. 

In this article, we recall what a SMART goal is and give 20 long-term and short-term SMARTsoftware developer goals examples.

Table of Contents

What Are SMART Goals?

SMART is an acronym that helps clarify and memorize five criteria of a realistic and accessible goal. The SMART goal has to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. 

Each aspect helps you concentrate your efforts effectively and increases the possibility of reaching SMART goals for a software developer.

  • Specific. The difference between a goal and a dream is that the goal is precise. If you say, ‘I want to launch a unicorn startup,` this may never lead to any consequence. But if you are exact and say, `I want to build a safe dating service for local users,` the goal is more a plan than a fairy tale.

  • Measurable. How will you know that you got there with no criteria for your success? Your goal might be to gain 20 K subscribers per month, to learn ten new foreign words per week, to become a team leader, or any other quantitative or subjective horizon you want to reach. 

  • Attainable. If the goal is fantastic and doesn’t take into account current circumstances, it’s unlikely that you will ever achieve it. So it’s reasonable to stay pragmatic and close to the ground.    

  • Relevant. The goal should be meaningful for you and pertinent for people. For example, if you are creating a new web builder, it’s wise to investigate the market and ascertain that the world needs another one.

  • Timebound. The goal must have a deadline where you judge whether you have coped with it or not. Otherwise, it turns into an ongoing process. 

Why Are SMART Goals Important for Software Developers?

The SMART goal technique is universal. Software developers can use it for any management task they encounter. It could be personal, like taking a Udemy course on Machine Learning (ML), or cooperative such as delivering code on time or building better communication with front-end engineers.

SMART goals are also short-term or long-term.

  • A long-term goal. For example, you want to improve your English to C1 throughout the year. This implies several smaller steps like booking time in the schedule, joining a group, and finding a teacher or an online platform.

  • A short-term goal is to read the materials for the next end-of-week meeting on Friday and come up with a proposal to optimize the debugging algorithm.  

In the next paragraph, you will see senior software developer SMART goals examples as well as regular beginners' tasks and routine cases.  


If your goal is to build a mobile or web application?Let`s have a talk.

20 SMART Goals Examples for Software Developers 

Setting SMART goals is a matter of practice. The more you try, the better you formulate assertions.               

A literally SMART goal

The trick of a SMART goal instrument is to implement all five criteria info the wording of your aim. Let's write down how all five letters of the acronym establish a comprehensive goal.

 1. Meet the project deadline

"My goal is to complete the project on time. The deadline is 98 days from now. I have to work at least 10 hours daily to have one-third of the project done every month. Eight extra days will serve as a backup."

Specific: There are exact dates, and monthly and daily working norms that will secure the goal if you follow them.  

Measurable: It`s easy to check whether you have been working eight hours today and what part of the project is finished by the 30-day milestone. 

Achievable: Working eight hours per day is a usual practice for a software developer. So if there are new technologies you have to master for the project, the speed is enough to meet the deadline. 

Relevant: The deadline is an objective reality of the project where the software developer is employed.  

Time-bound: Completing a certain percentage of the project every month is a time frame in this case. 

We can conventionally split the next SMART goals for application developers into four groups by their purpose. 

  • Professional goals

  • Self-management goals

  • Career goals

  • Self-development goals

Professional Goals

Here are the most common developer smart goals examples.

2. Coding

‘I want to complete the current project with no major bugs found in the QA stage. This way I supply more quality products and improve my professionalism.’

3. Testing

`My goal is to test 80% of memory security issues by the end of the quarter. I want to start with the most frequent failures and move to more specific ones. I`ll cover at least 20% of failures each month.`  

4. Debugging

`My goal is to finish a bug report within two days. It takes half an hour to describe each bug, so I`ll need a total of 12 hours and 6 hours a day to do this`.

5. Productivity

`I want to master the shortcuts of my current programming software within the next month. It will save hours and improve my productivity. I think I can ask Tony, search for free tutorials, or complete the paid course. I can spend 40 minutes each day for research and study.’  

Self-management Goals

Software developers who deliver quality results on time are precious team members and the best hiring choice for employers. The following SMART goals for software developers examples help develop the skill of getting things done. 

6. Weekly Planning

`My goal is to spend one hour at the end of the week to plan the tasks for the next one. I want to do this on Sunday afternoon before the Monday madness begins.` 

7. Ensure Precise Project Requirements 

`My goal is to clarify project requirements beforehand. I’ll question the client and the boss about their expectations and vocalize all the uncertain points of the technical specification’.  

8. Improve team communication

`I want to streamline communication with my teammates to be more effective as a professional and contribute better to the common goal. I will contact the team when I have a problem myself and when they need my assistance. 

9. Hold a session 

`My goal is to moderate one daily meeting and keep improving this skill when there is a need.`

10. Built a habit

`I want to become a more active team player. I will contribute to every meeting agenda beforehand and come prepared for every meeting this year.`

Career Goals

Software developers face many challenges on their career path. SMART goals make you resist and progress better. Let's go through a typical example SMART goals for software developer.  

11. Networking

`My goal is to build connections both with colleagues and recruiters in the IT sector. I will refine my LinkedIn profile and make at least one post every week.` 

12. Leadership

`I will propose mentorship to a younger developer in the team and devote two hours per week to tutoring sessions.` 

13. Teamwork 

`My goal is to implement Ghannt charts into the company collaboration software. This will improve the communication and efficiency inside the team.`

14. Responsibility 

`I want to lead one new project and deliver it on time with noticeable results. This way, I will grow my management skills and grow professionally.` 

15. Money

`My goal is to earn $3K per month. I will ask HR and the team lead about the promotion options or additional projects. I will complete a training course if they recommend doing so.` 

Self-development Goals

Life-long learning and development are a must for a software engineer. The trick is to take small but continuous smart steps to upgrade yourself. Do you recognize your own tasks in the following software developer SMART goals examples? 

16. Learning

`My goal is to take one online course for a new or familiar programming language a year. I will google Coursera and Udemy platforms to select the first one.`  

17. Presentation skills

`My goal is to use Prezi in my next presentation to liven it up. I will need two hours to get acquainted with the tool and do a test run.` 

18. Freelance 

`My goal is to take a freelance project to develop communication skills, widen my experience, and earn extra money. I’m going to update my UpWorks profile within a week and search for a suitable proposition daily.` 

19. Language 

`My goal is to learn five new foreign words a week. For this purpose, I will register on Quizlet, create card sets and repeat them during each coffee break.` 

20. Inspiration

`My goal is to visit one software development conference yearly to investigate the trends and get inspiration from speakers.`  

All-purpose SMART Goals For A Software Developer

Being a software developer is a race with daily intellectual and individual barriers that stand in the way. However, the SMART goal-setting method can help overcome obstacles with elegance and self-control as it fits equally well for professional, career, self-management, and self-development goals.  

In the Arounda team, we practice SMART goals while building web and mobile applications, creating UI/UX design, or carrying out business analyses for our clients. This method helps us evolve and achieve. Otherwise, Clutch wouldn’t have ranked Arounda as one of the 2022 leading agencies for Ukraine’s UX design industry.

If your next SMART goal lies in product development and you are looking for a reliable partner, we are here for you

Vladislav Gavriluk
Vladislav Gavriluk
CEO & Founder at Arounda
I make sure our clients get the high-quality result from the beginning stage of the idea discovery & strategy to the final digital product.

Frequently asked questions

  • What are SMART goals in software development?

    The SMART goal-setting method is multi-purpose. Software developers can use it to manage their tasks in coding, testing, debugging, team communication, learning, and building career.

  • What are short-term and long-term programmer goals?

    Let’s examine the difference between the long-term and the short-term goals in examples. If you have a long-term career goal to create a personal brand as a top software developer, it will consist of smaller short-term goals. They might be to make a hallmark website, work on a LinkedIn profile, write and share articles in your area of expertise, etc.

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