This or that, which opportunity should I take?
Sharing something very personal today. I had started at very low, bare minimum just to pay my food and mega sharing shelter dorm. Note that, I liked my work and absolutely loved my mentors in team who were always encouraging however there was something missing
One — First needs, to be able to eat better
Two — Eat better only when I get to do impactful and growing work.
I started applying at jobs — Hardly a 2 years experienced me, having developed cool standalone applications in Java, found that they were not cool enough to get me a decent job outside because the industry had already been shifted to Spring, Hibernate and Micro-services. Even the places I got selected, they offered me very low — not meeting my financial goal.
In some of the HR words “you can’t ask this hike” They forgot to look at my tiny number and just were looking at the percentage of hike. I could have also stayed at my then job, made impact and grew as well however that needs another article of my learnings from some mistakes, let’s go with the main flow for now -
I was sad but determined and kept learning, and cracked this time perfect opportunities but I needed to choose between
- Remain in Core app development
- Dive into the world of Automation
It was a career shift, I took advice from multiple people — my seniors, manager, my idols and family. Everyone recommended highly to stick with option 1 because they felt it’s safe and growing. My logical insider, made me decide to experiment more on both the fronts and then find where my heart actually was.
I started working double (I was relatively very young, and could literally put my 24 hours to work on my dreams without any external interruptions)
I listened to everyone carefully and did what exactly was right for me. Yes no more suspense! I chose the option two.
Some of my mentors who loved me a lot for my work, they genuinely felt I was making a wrong move and they were hurt but I knew, I would change their perspective by my way of doing and won’t let their worry become mine ( honestly somewhere I had some fear too, but I used that fear to do better)
Entered into the world of automation, where I may not have created customer facing apps but got to work on more impactful and exciting things, got to work on almost all the technologies on which, my different development teams were/are working on, some of those we have open sourced (can take a glance on on some of them here) and in the process I got to meet and exchange ideas with some amazing developers across the world (I probably need to write another post on that)
Now, as I observe or talk to some of those friends who remained in core development thinking it was safe, they are not any much happier, a few have excelled but some whom I find more capable are even more sad because of being stuck with proprietary technologies which no one else use than their current company where they are not even growing enough because of the strict hierarchy policies and can’t leave because they are not equipped with the technologies in demand, worst that they can’t devote time learning new because you get to understand “time is constraint” very clearly as you grow older.
And when I reflect on my own journey, I feel humble to share that I already lived one of my dream job, currently living another dream. While I have huge empathy for those talented friends but over the period I understood that it’s the way we all make our decisions with different techniques, a thoughtful mentor can help understand those techniques, implementation is all upto the individual.
I wouldn’t say, they did wrong or my mentors who were trying to stop me were wrong, they were absolutely right at their place. All I mean is — we all have our own journeys and no-one else can foresee or create it for you. Yes, the guidance matters a lot, but everyone talks from what and how they have seen specially when they have not been there and remember! finding a great mentor who can rationalise your thoughts and their own thoughts and then let’s you take the right decision — is the real deal of life. If you find one, don’t leave their hands (even if you get into fight with them, I meant it)
If you are a good developer but stuck with the dilemma of choosing between “Safe” and “Experimental”, I would highly recommend to “experiment”
You have nothing to loose because remember “You are a good developer” and can go back to your old style work any day. Also not to offend but from my years of experience now, the people who just stick in their same work specially tech which may die soon (without learning and growing everyday) to save/not ready to change their designation, are more likely to fall than the one who take risks or learn new or master the existing.
Either master what you do or take risk and find what your inner soul really desires and deserves
Make your own choice and most importantly, even when you don’t meet the exact criteria for the job to be done, Richard Branson wisely said:
“If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you’re not your can do it, say yes — then learn how to do it later”
Not because, reading this inspirational quote excites us but because, someone is offering you a job i.e. they are also putting themselves in that risk with a logical analysis that you will catch up quick and will really nail it and they genuinely want to work with exciting people who can learn, evolve and make an impact and grow along with. It’s a win-win both the sides.
PS: I have written this
- Seeing enough examples of how good talent is misguided by their friends/relatives/bosses/peers, not intentionally because anyone else talks from their own perspective. They had not walked the road you were asking to give review for or had not walked the way you will. (Worst is to blindly obey X who never ever been in your industry)
- Also, if someone tells you “this is only amount you can earn”, remember! “no one can define how much you can earn”, that’s only you who can define or even better change the definition 🤘
- With all due respect, stating a fact - On the name of development “how many of us, the developers are building mission critical softwares or building a multi millionaire company”? Then why fool ourselves with the fake designations working on maintenance/not_working_what_excite us everyday that too for years? Oh yeah! because what will your relatives say if you are famous as “Test Engineer” instead of “Developer”, huh?
If you are working on massive scale, building algorithms which can go in text books to be followed by generations or a full stack dev in real sense, stick to it and solve those challenges, nothing can be more rewarding than that else don’t just live with the fake designations or get into trap of false promises of a company where people are just thought as resources.