Things I’ve Learned After I Left My First Developer Job

Because life is too short to play small with your talent.

Ann Adaya
Ann Adaya
May 22 · 8 min read
Photo credit to DISRUPTIVO of Unsplash

“‘The renowned financier made more money in a day than our earnings in a lifetime’, said Vonnegut, Heller replied, I’ve got something he can never have, ‘What on earth could that be?’ said Vonnegut, and Heller’s reply was priceless: ‘The knowledge that I’ve got enough.’”

After years of working, I’ve decided to leave my first developer job for good. I’ve been working 2 full-time jobs for the past 9months, and I must say there really is a huge difference between the 2, and only if I have known I should have left long ago, I once read a book not so long ago, brought me this idea that the perspective we have at the moment isn’t our reality, it is just a perspective in that certain moment, and once you push yourself to move forward you will see more, you will open new doors, and that you realize that the world is way bigger than we thought it is.

Loyalty is royalty, it is a luxury nowadays, but on the other side of the coin, it is expensive if it is not used properly, it could cost you years of your life chasing the wrong things.

Getting that first job was just a tip of the iceberg, the biggest challenge, especially as a self-taught developer, is knowing when to step up to the next level, having the courage to know that you are better than you were a year ago or years ago, the confidence to realize that you probably outgrow the once you called dream job, and the strength to take the risk and take the step, whether it is too steep or just enough, you will never really know unless you take the leap.

That’s the thing about trying to achieve your highest self, there will always be new challenges awaits, and the moment when you thought you have arrived is just another discovery that you’ll realize that there are far bigger mountains to climb, so many wonders and curiosity in the beauty that lies beyond those highest peaks, do you have what it takes to get back on your feet and take that first step to the next adventure, to the next big thing or stay and wonder what if. Do you have what it takes to arrive at your highest self?

Life isn’t just about work and money

You gotta make time for the things that matter most, things that spark your soul, and mostly they are the simplest of things.

I’ve been working 2 full-time jobs for almost a year, and it was exhausting, not until recently, I have finally come to my senses and ended it, I am now working on one job and I’ve never felt this free because sometimes you don’t realize the weight of something you’ve been carrying until you decide to call it a quit.

As a self-taught developer, I’ve had this mindset that to learn things, you gotta exposed yourself to the real world, to real jobs, and learn as much as you can to the people that are doing it, living it, breathing it, and have been in the field for years, and that’s what I’ve been doing for almost 4 years.

Little that I know that no matter how disciplined, focus, and ambitious you are, it isn’t sustainable in the long run if all you do is work, work, work, I was happy doing the job that I love, however, things will change, and our priorities change along the way, and the more we learn about life the more we understand and cherish the simple things in life, as they said, enjoy your bread.

Health is wealth, and let’s not wait before its too late to realize it, health is the crown to the healthy people only sick people can see, we tend to ignore the fact that we should be living in the present and enjoy the fruits of our labor, there is so much to more to do other than our careers, so whatever you do, don’t confuse success with money, it is just a tool, aim freedom and happiness that you would give up all the money you have just to have that cup of coffee in the morning with the love of your life.

Keep working towards your dreams and goals, but you also need to prioritize your happiness and health, because when we are happy and inspired is where we can create magic.

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” — Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Your first developer job in most cases will be just a stepping stone

You will outgrow people, dream, life and it’s okay.

Your current perception isn’t your reality, it just happens to be the lens you are currently looking at. You will realize that the once called dream job will just be a stepping stone for better opportunities.

My first developer job was a little challenging than I expected, it was a Web Developer job but after a few months we were given the task to build a Mobile Application, it was shocking at first but I was up for the challenge, and besides I didn’t have a choice, so even having a few months experience in Web Development and as a Self-taught Developer I wanted to point out that it was so difficult phase, all those sleepless nights, weekend study, my work has become my life, I lose count on how many times I wanted to quit.

Thankfully I survived and now I had able to acquire many other skills, I couldn’t believe I could succeed in becoming a Self-taught Web Developer, nor plan to be a Self-taught Mobile Developer and now I am working as a React/Native Developer, life is full of surprises, you will never know where it could take you, just always be open especially when it comes to challenges that you know could potentially change your life, don’t get too attached too much on things, because everything is just temporary, think long term and think which would help you grow and become a better version of yourself, and whenever you find yourself in doubt, again, just keep on winging it, no one knows what they are doing either.

Have the courage to dream bigger

The highest version of ourselves exists, just outside our comfort zone.

The more you chase for what’s unfamiliar, the more you kick out that scary cat side of you, the more you feed your aspiring ambitious kid inside of you the more you can see your potential and the more opportunities will come, you’ll be surprised of how capable you are.

Have you heard that saying, if everything is under control means you are not going fast enough? If your dream doesn’t scare the heck out of you if your dreams don’t make you jump up your bed in the morning, then you better take some time and reevaluate things.

Sometimes, we are our limitations, we become what we think, so you need to fix your thinking first, who you are inside is what you will be on the outside, you will never really achieve anything if you won’t believe in yourself, you need to be aware of when you are acting like a victim, and change it, it will take some practice and it will take time, what we think we become so focus on your dreams, there is no such thing as impossible.

I couldn’t even imagine becoming a developer on my own, I am still so amazed at how I nailed that first developer job, but it wasn’t just luck, I’ve sacrificed a lot more than I thought, but that’s what we do when we want something, we gotta do what we gotta do for that dream, right?

Changing my mindset, my perspective, my lenses, means reprogramming everything I used to believe in, the old program my parents and my society planted within me was the hardest challenge of all, but once you can change it, to question it, trust me, you’d become unstoppable.

“Mastery demands all of a person.” — Albert Einstein

Choose your stack and master your skills

It will be your ticket for more opportunities.

The better you become the more doors of opportunities will open, and as time passes by, the more experiences you have, you will no longer need to look for jobs, jobs will be looking for you.

When I was just starting out, I’ve been sending my resume to every job opportunity I can find, interviews after interviews, exam after exam, I have failed several times on the final interview, but four years fast forward, I’ve been receiving 80+ job invitations every month on my LinkedIn alone, I’ve received several calls from agencies, and with this, I realized that we can’t catch a dog by chasing them, instead look for dog food and they will surely come to you, and in our case, focus on mastering your craft, skills and yourself, and eventually, they will come to you, it is just a matter of perspective.

Focus on the certain stack, master it, be so good at it, learn other languages, third-party tools, and framework as needed, when a project needed it, stay focus and committed to being the best on that stack because it will be your leverage wherever you go, having that skills will probably ensure that you will never be jobless ever again, this may not work 100% but most of the time it does.

The secret to getting anything you want is building the right habit

Training the best parts of you, focus on your strength.

The things that we do today will be the building blocks of our tomorrow, we really can’t achieve big things if we don’t break them into pieces and win every small step daily.

So create a plan, do all the necessary things to make sure that you will stay on the right path, win small victories and you’ll be surprised how far it could take you because here’s a little secret, the only difference between us and Elon Musk is the set of skills, skills that can be learned, and when you understand this, your life will never be the same.

The right habit will be our strength in pursuing our dreams, start by removing the things and activities that will distract you from working on your goals, some of these unproductive activities are watching television, playing games, drinking regularly, or chatting on your phone, spending too much time on social media, they are not helping you to be productive instead they are eating up your time and energy, becoming a good developer needs a lot of practice, spend your time well, and be mindful always.

Thank you for reading! Follow me for more Self-Taught Developer articles.

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