Development Skillset

JackyD's picture
Rank: Senior Monkey | 79

I am currently in my second year as a development associate at a 65 year development investment firm. I came from a capital markets internship and gained very strong financial modeling skills but I quickly learned there is a lot more to this business than modeling. I was hoping to get some input from senior developers on skill sets to focus on to become an effective investor/developer. I have learned that this profession requires proficiency in finance, law, concstruction, architecture, etc. The managing procipal has taken me under his wing and is grooming me to move into a development manager role. My goal is to move into this role and have the skill set to negotiate getting part of the promote. Can any senior guys speak to which skill sets need less knowledge and which need strong knowledge? I know this is a jack of all trades profession but some skills must be more imperative, correct?

Comments (5)

Feb 27, 2019


Feb 27, 2019

Im far from a seasoned and successful developer...but I think you are much further along than you are crediting yourself for. Having a mentor that is a strong leader and values teaching is invaluable...please take advantage of that if indeed this is your situation. Regarding skill sets, the modelling is really a means to an end. I dont know a single high level development director who does all the modelling himself. Sure hell know how to read the numbers and even manipulate them...but he likely has an associate and analyst who takes care of that. Meaning, when you are making "the big bucks" arent expected to do any modelling, which goes to show you what the money is being spent on at that level -- relationships and experience. You are being compensated to be an excellent manager, and as you said jack of all trades. Sure every developer brings his personal touch to the deal, and you can bet that aspect will no doubt be vetted at an above average level...whether it be the financing, architecture, muni process, etc... But the key things I've noticed in successful developers is they are very effective at managing the project...knowing when to push and pull and how hard. Relationships is also a very big part of the game, let's face it...and arguable that is a strong reason while real estate will ever be an industry where true arbitrage can exist.

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Feb 28, 2019

Most important skill is organization. Obviously it's great if you know a lot about all the fields which you'll be dealing with, but at the end of the day your job is to effectively drive the flow of information from engineers, architects, reviewing agencies, contractors, etc to the appropriate parties.

Other people will always know their fields better than you; it's why you hire them in the first place. Focus on building relationships that will help you drive processes along. Maybe that means being friendly with your MEP engineer so that you can get them to prioritize your project in a pinch. Maybe it means knowing folks at the relevant housing/building agency so you can ask them to intervene when a plan reviewer is nitpicking the shit out of your plans. I think #1 is organizational and time management skills, #2 is building relationships, and everything else runs a distant (though not unimportant) third.

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Mar 1, 2019

I think having great balance of interpersonal skills along with the quantitative skills .. The "sharpest" guys do not have as much upside when compared to a guy who can build real relationships. The next would be your ability to know your strengths and get creative in ways to compensate for your weaknesses to get things accomplished. Lastly, simplify everything you can..

Most Helpful
Mar 1, 2019
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