Code Isn't the Only Solution; and 8 Other Dev Lessons, 7 Years Later

Code Isn't the Only Solution; and 8 Other Dev Lessons, 7 Years Later

I'm working as a software developer for 7 years. You can read my background and how I got into the industry here. There are a few things I wish I learned earlier. Knowing these in advance would have made my job a lot easier. Some of this might sound pretty obvious, but not for me. If you're in the early stages of your career, doing a few of this will make you stand out.

I'm working as a software developer for 7 years. You can read my background and how I got into the industry here. There are a few things I wish I learned earlier. Knowing these in advance would have made my job a lot easier. Some of this might sound pretty obvious, but not for me. If you're in the early stages of your career, doing a few of this will make you stand out.

1. We need to find the right place to work for

The company and the people you work for makes a huge impact on whether you love or hate your job. Not all companies are created and working equally. What worked for someone else might become your nightmare. How to find the right place for you? Experiment.

Switch between different places and switch early. Don't wait until the ship sinks and you might end up in worse conditions.

In most places, the only way to get a raise or a promotion you deserve is to switch to a different company. Hiring managers are saying that too many switches make your resume look bad. In my not so humble opinion, this is a bullshit metric. Entry-level employees are often treated poorly. It is hard to stay in one place for a long time. Stability matters if you're hiring for senior or leadership roles. But please stop looking for stability in entry-level applicants. Start treating them better and they won't have to switch a lot.

In my first 4 years, I switched 3 companies. The current place I work for is my 4th one and I am here for 3 years. Start experimenting early in your career. Ask around about the place you're considering to join. Take interviews with different companies and select the right one for you. Ageism plays a big role in our industry. As you get older the places you can even get an interview will reduce. Take your chances when you're in the early stage.

2. Tech skills are only part of the equation

I thought being technically competent and doing the hard work will make me shine. I was wrong. Tech skills are only part of the equation. It doesn't matter how great an engineer you're. If you're one of the types that do the work heads-down, You'll have a hard time getting the things you deserve.

You need some showmanship to get better results from tech skills. You can practice and improve showmanship by doing these,

  1. Talk to people in different teams/projects and help them.
  2. Be curious to learn how the business works and how all the teams work together to produce something.
  3. Write blog posts and share them with peers in your organization.
  4. Become the goto person for help on a particular technology
  5. Contribute to open source and share it among your peers
  6. Attend/Speak at conferences.

Doing the above will increase your visibility in an organization. Being visible matters a lot.

careers software-development programming self-improvement engineering-management coding tech-jobs networking

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