Are we getting the wrong career advises?

I just watched an awesome lecture about how to have a five-digit salary in Brazil by Bruno Ticami (Python Brazil 2013). Here are some questions and advises that he talked about:

  • Do you worth a five-digit salary TODAY? Why do you have your current salary instead?
  • What do you do to actually worth a five-digit salary?
  • Speak fluent/advanced English (for non-English countries like Brazil :D )
  • Ambition and desire to achieve this salary/position
  • Patience → you should study hard and for a long time
  • You should have some of Brazilian qualities → creativity, flexibility, good relationship with other people and culture…
  • Don’t think less of yourself →value yourself and your work
  • Learn how to talk with your equals and superiors
  • You have to invest (in hardware, software, books, courses…)
  • Manage your time (to study hard…)
  • No-one will pay a high value to work with basic stuff…

When I finished the lecture, I was very excited and I agreed with most of the things he said. But something was bothering me. As I am a new-born developer, I am trying to read articles about what should I learn, how should I learn, etc. But every time I find a big article about career advises, I find lots of them throwing personal advises. This lecture, for instance, talked 90% of the time about how you should be, instead of what should you learn. And it was in a technical conference, I suppose.

So I started questioning myself: am I getting the wrong career advice? Or am I getting a wrong message about these advises?

My intuition is to learn the technologies companies want. This way, I will fulfill some position I want in the future. But there are a lot of possibilities, areas and branches of expertise. So, naturally, I think I should choose a desired expertise. Maybe a “trend” one. But, what if, I should not just learn the technology, but learn how to learn the technology?

Let me try to explain…

If technologies change all the time, there are several trends and most of the career advice talk about how should I be… should I just learn how to absorb new technologies? I mean… is it more important for the companies to have a person that knows how to grow inside it then one that is a know-it-all?

If that one is the case, why isn’t anyone talking about this? Or are the companies looking for strong-will persons without telling them how they will check this? Ok, some of them actually said they want this… but how important is this compared to everything else?

Let’s assume this is the case, for a newbie like me… should I learn one technology or try to know a little bit about more things? Should I focus in one technology deep down? Will my personality count just as bad as my curriculum and experience? An experience in a technology event is more important than to invest the same amount of time in a home study?

I don’t have the experience and surely don’t know the answers. Luckily, I was born weird enough to bother anyone I know to try figuring this out. If you got this far on the text and have an opinion about this, feel free to share it with me :D

PS: Just a little thing… I am a newbie, so I really don’t expect a five-digit salary and I do know I will have to study a lot and for a long time. If you thought otherwise, you just didn’t get the point! Sorry!