Top 10 tips for contractors

Here are my top 10 tips for contractors. I’ve been lucky enough to be contracting now for over 10 years, working with a number of great clients. Over that time I have learnt that there are a couple of tips that I feel contractors should know. They are:

1. Have good interpersonal skills – no matter what tech stack you work with or the type of companies you work with. One thing that you will always work with is other people. You may think that you can just sit at your computer and write the best code ever without being disturbed, but that won’t happen. You need to work with others, discuss ideas with others, listen and maybe advise on how to solve problems at work, maybe help developers who are just starting in their career. You will need to be able to speak to stakeholders and project managers, explaining what it is you are doing, and the most important reason you need to have good interpersonal skills is you need to come across well in the interview. Usually the interview stage can be a one step process so you have that one chance to convince the client that not only can you help them but you will fit within their team.

2. Be good at communicating – this is related to the first tip, showing how important I feel it is, but being good at communicating is essential. You need to be able to speak to all the members of the team you’ve joined, explaining how you are going to solve their problems. You need to show that you are engaged and enthusiastic about the project and the work and this is done through how you communicate with the team. Engaging in meetings, being happy to talk to non-technical team members all help show that you are a real part of the team, even though this maybe be for a short while. I’ve found that contractors who are good at communicating usually get their contracts renewed and other members of the team enjoy working with.

3. Always be learning and willing to learn – while soft skills are extremely important the technical skills you have are as important. If you can’t do the job you’ll soon be found out and the contract will end. A big part of contracting is keeping your skills up to speed, meaning you know about the latest techniques, you have the skills you say you have (there is nothing worse than a contractor who has lied on a CV and can clearly not do what they said). You also need to be willing to learn from others while working on a contract, don’t expect to expect your ‘way’ of doing things (how you build an Angular app for example) be the only way things should be done, yes you have been brought in to help the client but this may be on an existing project and you need to learn and adapt to how things are done. You can’t rewrite everything just because it’s done differently.

4. Be flexible in your approach to work – this, again, is related to the previous point. As a contractor you are basically brought into a project to provide skills that a team currently doesn’t have or augment a team working on a project. If you are there to provide skills that a team doesn’t have chances are you will be working on the part of the tech stack no one else is working on. So you can then approach the work the best way as you see it, that’s why you are there. If you join a team to augment it then you need to be flexible in your approach to work to fit with the team as they are now.

5. Treat contracting as a business – while contracting can lead to working with a client for months at a time, you aren’t a full-time member of staff and you need to treat your contracting as a business. That means you need to keep on top of invoices, submit timesheets on time, email recruitment agencies, keep your accounts up to date, and pay your taxes on time. You also need to work on promoting your business, making sure that your staff (which is you) is paid on time. There is a lot more to contracting than just the coding so see it as a business that you are the owner, the CEO and a member of the staff.

6. Work with agencies, but don’t be completely reliant on them – working with recruitment agencies is a big part of contracting. It will be, at the start, the only way you get work. There are a lot of negative things said about recruiters, but as long as you realise that they are trying to make money for themselves as part of their business and that it is just a business then you shouldn’t have any problems with them. All they want is to see if you have the skills and experience to fit the job spec they have, if you don’t or the client thinks you don’t then they will move onto the next application. Communication is usually one way, you send your CV and wait. If you hear nothing, don’t wait before moving on to the next application. Unfortunately applying for contracts is a numbers game you need to keep applying and if you do fit a role the recruiter will work with you. This doesn’t mean that recruiters are the only way to find work, staying in contact with old clients helps (again these communication and interpersonal skills come in handy) being part of freelancing and the wider tech community can lead to work. Also open source development can lead to work, but this is a long process. So while at first recruiters are the main way of getting work, as a business owner you need to work on the longer game and how you can get work via other methods.

7. Use downtime to learn and develop your skills and business – there will be time when you finish one contract and there isn’t a new one ready to go. This happens, but this time can be used productively. Obviously you will be looking for the next role, but you can also start learning something new, something you’ve seen that you’d like to know more about, something that may eventually lead to a new tech stack to contract in. Or spend the time writing blog posts or eBooks if that’s something you’ve ever wanted to do. Take the time to get organised ready for the next contract, get all your paperwork in order, emails sent, things you planned to do around the house or conference talks you always planned to watch. Anything that helps grow your skills and your business so you are ready to go when the next contract comes around.

8. Help other contractors, they may help you – as you go through your contracting career you will work with other contractors, and it’s always important to stay in contact with them (LinkedIn is ideal for this). If you are contacted about a role that you might not be suitable for but you know someone else who might be. Then put them in contact with the recruiter, it may work out or not, but helping others means that if they see a role you are suitable for they will think of you. This can lead to another way of getting contracts. While contractors are independent doesn’t mean we can’t work together and help one another.

9. Get an accountant – seriously, get an accountant. You might be the best developer or project manager in the land, but when it comes to the finances of your business you need an accountant to guide you through the complex landscape of tax. It’s too much to know all about the things you do, stay on top of the business side of things and be able to do the work an accountant can do for you so you need one. If however you feel the accountant isn’t providing the advice you need, especially at the start of your contracting career, make sure you have one that does even if this means changing accountant. Remember they work for you, you are paying them, so they need to help you, answer your questions, explain things to you to keep everything on track financially as you will have to pay taxes.

10. Eventually focus on one area to specialise in – as time goes by in your contracting career you will need to think about specialising in a certain area. For example, I work with Angular and other developers work with React or Vue. You need to have a skillset that you are known for, so when someone is looking for a contractor to fill a need they have then your name is top of the list. This specialism also means that you can focus on that, learn more about that than other technologies, you can be an expert in everything. Specialising allows you to market yourself around it, for example you can say ‘I am a Go developer’ or a ‘AWS developer’ this can then lead to specialising further to ‘I am an AWS developer working in the communication sector’ or ‘I am a Go developer specialising in API development for large enterprises companies’ or ‘I am an Angular developer who help companies upgrade their projects and architecture allowing new features to be easily developed ‘. Specialising isn’t something you can start with if you are new in your career as a developer, but if you have been a developer for a while and have experience in the area you are going to specialise in, if you start contracting then you can set yourself up as a specialist from the start. This can lead to people being able to find you, know what you offer and know that you are right for their project.

So this is a top 10 list of things I think you need as a contractor. There probably are more I could come up with and more I could go into depth on these, but if you are thinking about contracting then these are somethings I think you should consider.

  1. Have good interpersonal skills
  2. Be good at communicating
  3. Always be learning and willing to learn
  4. Be flexible in your approach  to work
  5. Treat contracting as a business
  6. Work with agencies but don’t be completely reliant on them 
  7. Use downtime to learn and develop your skills and business 
  8. Help other contractors, they may help you
  9. Get an accountant
  10. Eventually focus on one area to specialise in
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Contractor Chronicles 2

This week, carried on with existing client work. Fixing bugs on a complex Angular application that has been worked on by a number of others developers over the years. So it’s always interesting to take something written by someone else, work out how it works and then fix issues without making more bugs. This is a whole topic on its own, which I might write about

Also spent time looking into TypeScript libraries with the aim to work on some open-source development as a way to improve my TypeScript. I’ve been looking at TypeScript-ESlint, the linting library for TypeScript, a great project run by Josh Goldberg Its aim is to add support for ESLint to your TypeScript code. It will check your code for issues and bad practices and warn you of these issues.

Another thing that happen was there was a new budget in the UK, nothing really helpful for small business owners like myself just more ways of taxing people and trying to encourage people who have retired back to work (if I had retired and was playing golf every day I don’t think I’d be keen to go back to work).

The plan for next week is, to continue exploring open-source TypeScript development, working on client work and preparing for the next tax year.

The Being Freelance podcast

A few years ago, after working for myself for a couple of years I found these vlogs by a freelancer called Steve Folland. These vlogs showed his life as a freelancer, and the hard work it involved, not only doing the day-to-day work of his business but also managing his business along with managing his family life. It was a great insight into what life really is like for a single-person business owner.

Along with these vlogs, Steve also has a podcast, the Being Freelance podcast, in which he interviews a different freelancer each week to see what it’s like for them to be freelance. He’s nearly (at the time of writing this) at 300 episodes. There are episodes with copywriters, designers, sound engineers, web developers, and all sorts of jobs, but everyone is a freelancer, someone working hard to make a go at running their own business.

In each episode, Steve discusses with the guest how they got started working for themselves, what it’s been like since they started, how they go about finding work and how they balance the amount of work needed to run their own business with having a life. Each episode is full of fantastic advice and helpful tips from each guest. No matter what they do, even if it’s not what you do, you can still get a piece of helpful advice from each episode.

Not only does Steve run his own business and a podcast, but he also runs the Being Freelance Facebook group, where freelancers can get together to talk about freelancing, ask questions, help one another and occasionally arrange meet-ups with one another. He also runs another podcast called the Doing it for the Kids podcast where he, along with his co-host Frankie, talks about running your own business when you have young children and how to balance the two.

I’ve learnt many things from listening to the podcast, from the importance of being consistent with the message you put out there, to making use of sites like LinkedIn and Twitter to promote yourself and your business. How important it is to connect with others and be as helpful as you can, as you never know what effect that can have in the future. Many times a freelancer has helped on a project, which has led to other work opportunities.

So if you are thinking of working for yourself, going freelance, or just started, or have been freelance for a while I highly recommend the Being Freelance podcast, it’s full of great insight and stories from people who may have just started or been working as a freelance for years. It’s all great advice, as Steve says, it’s not about what they do it’s all about being freelance.

(As a bit of side note I was lucky enough to be a recent guest on the podcast, so if you want to hear me um and ah and learn about how I went freelance, then you can.)

IR35 and it’s possible effect

IR35 is looming over all contractors in the uk, it could be in place in April 2020, and there no doubt if it does come into full effect, then it will change how contractors operate.

For those who don’t know about IR35 then it is new legislation where the uk government is trying to stop those contractors who have been working as full time employees but still being paid on a contractor rate.

The idea is that if you have a contract where you are employed to work for a firm in a role where a full time employee could actually do the role, the. You as the contractor needs to prove that your contract is actually outside the IR35 guidelines. If it falls within. The IR35 rules then you will have to pay the same level as tax that a permanent employee pays.

This is a high level overview of IR35 it is worth really looking into the official government websites in order to find out more about IR35.

How IR35 could change how I work

For me if the IR35 rules do become law then it will change how I currently work. I would have to only take on contracts where it is clearly set out what the project is be working on and when it is expected to finish, to show that I am only employed to work on that project. Another way to show that the contract is outside IR35 I’d need to show that I’m not needed to work onsite, instead I’ve been employed to work as a consultant on a single project, and it’s up to me on how and where I work on this project. So if I want I could say that I work only from my home office or a specific work space. I’ll also need to show that I’m using my own equipment to work on this project, though I could see this being an issue for some large organisations where for security reasons they want people working on their projects to use equipment the company provides.

These changes, aren’t to much of a change for how I currently work, I think it makes me work in more of a freelance working model than a contractors who just works as a extra resource for a company who comes into the office day to day and just works on the same project.

How will this be effecting recruitment agencies

If IR35 does come in it could have some serious changes to how recruitment agencies work. They will have to now find developers who can work on a project instead of getting in an extra resource for a company. It will be interesting to see how they will be changing or will they leave the contractor market altogether and just concentrate on sourcing full time employees?

The contracting market is going to be interesting in the coming months, does this mean I’m looking to go permanent? Well, no. I enjoy working for myself and if the IR35 rules are changing to me needed to work more as a project specialist then that suits me.

I enjoy working on Angular and Angular based project, so if you are looking for an Angular specialist to work on your next web application project, feel free to contact me.

Writing a book is hard, but worth it

For the last 6 months, I’ve been working with Packt publishing writing a book on Angular. This is the first time I’ve ever written a book and it has been a big old slog of work, but it has been worth putting in the work.

We all see these ‘famous’ developers who have written books, attend all the conferences and even find time to work on open source projects and while it’s not a good idea to compare yourself to others, sometimes you can’t help yourself. So for the last year, I’ve had an idea of writing a book, but never actually started. Then I was contacted by Packt asking if I’d be interested in writing for them. I think they had read some of my blog posts and were interested.

This was the push I needed, and so I quickly replied to them and said yes, my life as an author has started. But if you’ve never written a book you can be completely unprepared for what you need to do. I wish I had either asked someone about what is involved in writing a book before I started, it may have put me off.

So what you need to know before writing a book is, first, no matter how much time you think it’ll take it will take longer. I originally thought that I’d find enough time in the day to write and then be able to make good progress on the book. You see I work for myself as a contractor, so if I don’t work I don’t get paid. I needed to carry on working as I write the book. I did think that it’ll be easy to work all day and then write for a couple of hours in the evening. Unfortunately, this did not happen every day, first of all, you finish a days work and your brain doesn’t have the capacity to then switch from coding all day to writing. It’s hard to concentrate, what you write makes no sense and you just can’t think about coding after spending all day working as well.
So I thought I’d spend more time at the weekends writing, but soon life gets in the way. You need to spend time with your family or there are things to do around the house. Your plan of spending all day Saturday and Sunday may soon turn into an hour on Saturday and a couple of hours on Sunday. (Thankfully my wonderful wife is very supportive of me and was happy for me to work on the book when possible).

I soon found that getting up early and spending a couple of hours in the morning helped. I was getting up at 6am and writing before work started. I had a contract where I could work from home, that helped a lot.

The second thing you need to know about writing a book is that you need to be consistent. Writing every day if you can, even if it’s just an hour helps so much. Getting that daily writing means that you can carry on from where you were in the previous day far easier. You can get ‘into’ writing quickly, ideas for what you are going to say come to you easier because you’ve got ideas flowing from you. It’s like pushing a large ball up a hill, the more momentum you get the easier it is. Momentum is key in writing a book.

You’ll also have to be comfortable with feedback on your work. As I submit chapters to the publishers they are reading and reviewing them. Which means I get feedback on what I’ve written, now if I’ve written a section or a sentence that I think is fine, but the publisher thinks it’s confusing or needs some more work, you have to be comfortable with this feedback and respect the experience they have. I may know about Angular, but they know about books.

Not only do you need to be consistent and declined you also need to have a detailed plan of what you’re going to write. Before I started I need to provide an outline of the book, what the chapters are, what the reader will learn in each chapter and how many pages you’ll have in each chapter. In hindsight, I wish I had spent a little more time on this plan than I did. I guessed the number of pages for some chapters and you will have to fill those pages. So if you think you can write 40 pages on Unit Testing, you may find this hard, think about it that’s about 12,000 words!!!

Now, not only do you have to write the text for the book you need to find the time to write the supporting code for the book too. This can take a large amount of time as well and needs to be something to consider if you’re planning on starting a book

Now, while I found writing a book hard I do think to go through the process I’ve learnt so much about Angular, the topic of the book. Having to explain concepts to someone is the best way to learn and to find out what you do know about a topic and what you don’t know. You really have to research and understand a topic before you can write about it. Gaps in your knowledge will be filled in through this research.

So would I go through this again? I think I would, but maybe on a smaller scale or through self-publishing. I have been thinking about writing a smaller book on a topic within Angular, something on NgRx maybe.

Writing is hard, it takes planning, time and dedication, but the learning you’ll do through writing is a great benefit.

My book isn’t out yet, hopefully soon, just going through the last reviews and amends now, but when it’s out I’m going to let as many people as possible know, and hopefully, someone will even buy it.

Contracting – Keeping your skills sharp

Being a contracting web developer, you need to keep on top of your skillset, they are what you use to keep employed. So ‘practising’ your skillset is part of the job, which you need to do regularly in order to keep these skills sharp.

But what does this mean to have your skills up to speed? Well, the web industry is so fast, it changes so quickly. New frameworks keep being released, new build tools are appearing all the time. GitHub has revolutionised the way people develop for the web, how they work together and how companies now work.

So if you want to make a decent career as a web developer it is important that one, you know about what is happening in the industry, what new technologies are being used, which ones are sticking around (remember Flex?) and two, you are proficient in your chosen skill set. What you say you know about you know about. The number of times I’ve seen highly paid contractors on a project who don’t really know what it takes to be a solid web application is frightening.

But how do you go about keeping your skills sharp? Well, there are a number of ways, first, if you’re a front-end developer, you can use your own website as a testbed for new ways of building sites. There is nothing wrong with rebuilding your own site over and over. Making it a case study for how you used this new tech. You can also make ‘fake’ example site, make a site for a fictional shop or business. Use sites like CodePen to create examples of how you would use a new technology or way of creating something in HTML/CSS.

If your thing is application development, things are a little trickier. You can’t build a full web application for yourself (unless you want to make a business form it) and host it somewhere as an example app. But thanks to the wonderful Github web app developers now have a place where we can send potential clients or recruiters to somewhere where they can view the quality of the code you write as a web app developer. This has made such a big difference to the web industry.

Of course, there is the whole Open Source movement that has sprung up over the last few years. This is a fantastic thing for new web developers. When I started there was nothing like GitHub, all we did was build small websites and send a list of URLs to recruiters as examples of work. Now developers are finding work through more direct routes, by people finding their open source work.

As a contracting web developer GitHub and open source give you a place where you can put your example web apps for others to look at when they want to check that you have the level of skills they require.

But along with all these new opportunities to show they work you can do and ways that you can practice your skills, there is still a need for focus.

With all the new technologies coming out there is fear of missing out that contracting web developers can get. When your livelihood is so closely tied to the skillset you have when a new technology is release or starts to get popular. There is a fear that this new tech will become more popular than the one you currently specialise in. For example, I work with Angular, which has been around now for a few years (if you include AngularJS). But now React is looking a very popular choice for front-end development. Does this mean as a contractor I should stop using Angular and move to using React? Well not necessarily, while React looks great, Angular for me is still a valid choice. Maybe not all the modern startups are using Angular, but more enterprise companies are. As long as there are support and development of the framework from Google I think it is still worth specialising in the one approach to web app development.

So as a contractor how can we both keep our skills up to date and at the same time make sure we know a technology well enough to be a good level contractor, who is going to build good software for their clients? Well, I think that by taking this focussed approach is the answer. There has been a lot of talk about having a niche as a freelancer. It’s spoken about in many freelancing books and podcasts. As contractors, I think we can also benefit from niching down into a certain skillset. If you can demonstrate that you know your chosen skillset well (though example works on GitHub or contributing to open source projects). You can keep your skill set sharp and relevant, but don’t forget to keep an eye on the industry because it can change fast. All it takes is a letter from a famous leader of a tech company and your chosen technology is killed off (remember Flex? I loved Flex)

Why Contracting?
I was asked the other day ‘why I was a contractor’. For me contracting is perfect in many ways. It gives me a good income, as the main earner of a family, this is really important. I also get to work with a variety of clients including football clubs, startups and councils.
I started contracting in 2012, so next year will be my 6th year. This is my longest job to date and I can’t see myself going back to permanent employment (unless come calling).
Getting started as a contractor is relatively easy. All you need is a Limited Company (though you could be a Sole Trader, a Ltd company is better). An accountant or some type of online accounting software and a job.
Well, this sounds simple, but it’s not.
When I started getting my Limited company involved completing an online form, making a small payment and that was it.
One of the things I did need to consider was a company name. You need something that matches with the services you’re providing, with some flexibility in case you try something new. You don’t want to be called WideWeb Solutions if after a year or two you just make iOS apps.
I wanted something that covered me for web development, but I have always been interested in mobile development. So I went for something that had the word software (either web or mobile) plus the initials of my wife and children. That’s how I came up with CGCSoftware.
So I had my company name and limited company setup, next getting some work.
The reason that I started contracting, I was working for a startup in London as a Flash developer (good times). It was all going well then the company decided to move to America, and get a new development manager. So we had this new manager and half the team went to America, but still, the work was ok.
But soon the new development manager started letting people go, and get in new people that he wanted. Well, eventually it came to my time to go for a quick chat at lunchtime.
So that was the end of that, can’t say I was too bothered as I wasn’t getting on too well with the new members of staff. It did remind me that I don’t want to work for someone ever again. (If you work for yourself, it’s hard to fire yourself).
This is why I started contracting. I wanted to be in charge of my career, and have that flexibility of working on different projects with the technologies I wanted.
Keeping your skill set up to date

As part of life as a contractor one of the most important things it managing to keep your skillset up to date. This was fine when all you had to worry about was just HTML, CSS and maybe jQuery, but now with the explosion of JavaScript frameworks keeping your skill set up to speed is getting harder and harder.

When you look at a job description you usually see a whole list of ‘technologies’ that are required for the role. Angular, Node, React, Sass, CSS, UX/UI skills and maybe ‘if you also know PHP, that’ll be an advantage’. But keeping up to date with all these different technologies is nearly impossible. Two of these are entire platforms and not just frameworks.

So how is a lonely developer supposed to know all these frameworks, platforms and technologies inside and out, as well as work fulltime?

Well one way, and what a lot of freelancers are doing now, is niching down to a certain skill set or role. For example, is being known for creating offline first apps using Angular or creating Progressive Web Apps using Node or front-end development using HTML and Sass. These are all examples of how a freelancer/contractor can narrow down what they do in order to really understand well the technology they use.

Of course, the first thing that goes through peoples mind when thinking of narrowing down their skill set, what we use as contractors to get work, is the fear of missing out on work. If I don’t have the skill set for a certain job, then I can’t go for so many roles, I’ll miss out on work. But if you do a quick search on Google for ‘niching down + freelance’ one of the first articles you’ll find is ‘Overcoming the Fear of “Choosing a Niche”‘ by Brennan Dunn.

In the article he shows why having a niche or being a specialist is actually a good thing for your business/career:

When you go from being a generalist — that is, a provider of some commodity service, like web design — to being a specialist, who solves a specific type of problem for a specific kind of client, three things almost always happen:

  1. You’re able to charge more.
  2. Your clients give you more creative latitude and freedom, and a lot more respect.
  3. It’s easier to close deals.

In the rest of the article, Brennan goes through all the different issues with niching down, about the fear people have of doing this, the fear of picking the wrong niche to work in, dealing with the boredom that might come with only working with one technology.

If you want to read about how other people have found their niche and what it has done for them, this article Top 16 Freelancers Tell You How They Found Their Niche gives some interesting insight.

There are also some great books on this:


So in order to keep your skill set up to speed in today’s ever-changing web industry, instead of trying to be a master of everything and ending up a master of none, it might be work just narrowing your focus a little. Finding out what you enjoy working with, what projects you have enjoyed working on and becoming a specialist in those types of projects, using that type of technology in order to really learn and know that skill set.

It something I’m going to focus on doing over the next few weeks months.


Finding Your Passion

I recently watched a video by Sean McCabe about finding your passion (seanwes tv: How to Find Your Passion). In the video Sean says ‘we shouldn’t think of trying to find what you passion is as going off in another direction from what you are currently doing, but instead think of it as a starting line where exploring each idea is like moving forward from that starting line’.

He continues to say by moving forward off this starting line and exploring an idea that you feel might be what you are passionate about, you are discovering what really is your ‘passion’. You may find that after a while this new thing isn’t what you are passionate about, you may not like it, but at least you’ve explored the idea.

This idea really resonated with me because for the last few months I’ve been trying to decide whether to stick with the ‘technology stack’ I’ve been using for the last few years (Angular, Ionic and general front-end development) or explore the world of NodeJS, but the thing that has been holding me back is if I starting getting into a new stack, it might mean that the work opportunities open to me suffer.

As a contractor the amount of experience you have in a technology helps. When clients are looking for someone with x amount of experience and you don’t have that many years it does mean that you can’t be put forward for the role, the recruitment agency won’t put you forward for the role as they see you don’t have the require amount of experience. Even though you maybe the most knowledgeable developer on a new stack that you have only been using for the last year. CVs get scanned through every quickly and if you only have a few months experience you could find your application doesn’t go any further.

But I am really fascinated with NodeJS, I think the types of projects you can do with Node is amazing, (web, mobile, desktop, server side, even robots). The NodeJS community looks amazing, so helpful and welcoming to new Node developers.

Anyway after watching Sean’s video it made me think that by learning Node I’m not going off in another direction from what I’ve normally been doing, what I’ve been making my living off. Instead I learning, I’m moving forward.

I may find I don’t like building sites/apps with Node, I may also find that it makes me a better developer, it gives me more opportunities and more experience. Experience I can bring back into the mainstay of my career.

So if you have something you want to try, but you feel it is moving away in another direction from what you normally do, remember it really is just moving forward.

Creating a Definition of Done

Today in our project planning sessions we discussed the idea of a Definition of Done. Now this is the first agile project I’ve worked on where we’ve actually defined what we, as a team, think a definition of done is.

As a developer I can really see the benefit that having a DoD set out from the beginning has. It gives us a checklist to go through when we have finished a task so we know that we can ‘officially’ say it’s done.

I think for 2 main reasons why the DoD is important for a developer, one that I can be happy to say that I have done/finished a tasks when I have met all the criteria that the DoD has set out. The second reason I think having a DoD is important for developers is that the quality of the project stays at a higher level as the project goes along.

If your Definition of Done says that a task can only be finish if it has 100% code coverage and has been checked over by a designer to make sure the work matches what they have designed. Then the quality of the project remains at a consistant high level, because you can’t say something is finished until all the quality checks have been made.