MY OWN PERSONAL DEFINITIVE GUIDE
How to Progress at Your IT Career
This is how I made a progress in my IT career (+10 years SD Web UI DEV)
Hello all, today I’ll give you guys some tips that helped me to make some good progress in my career (as a web UI developer) and how I learned those tips (Good & Bad experiences). But, first, let me introduce myself.
Who I am?
I’m an SD (Software Designer) web UI developer with more than 10 years in the business, I’m not the best developer but I’m not the worst, so, if we want to measure it in a range from 1 to 10, I think I’m a 7 (Yeah, 7, there is a lot of things I need to learn), so, in this 10 years working in different companies and with a lot of clients, I learned (or I think I did) how to escalate positions faster than when I started, and this post is not just about to positions, is about knowledge.
1) Being competitive! (the wrong way)
In my first years as a developer, and at my first job, all of I wanted to do was ‘being competitive and show results asap’.
Being competitive (for me) meant to do it faster than the rest of the devs at my positions, be the first, shows the result no matter how, and without testing the rest of the functionalities. I was so focused to do that specific task that I didn’t try to understand what the code was going to do to the rest of the application. Also, I was in such a hurry that I forgot to remove the comments that came in the code that I borrowed from the internet! So, the big NO here was the fact that for me was just about time and not about learning. I spend a lot of time looking and trying to do minimal modification to the code I got from the internet that I didn’t care about learning what that code does and why, also, I saw new functions and I never tried to check the documentation for that specific function… this kind of practice lead me in a very long learning curve. This last (The learning thing) moves us to the next experience.
2) Learning is about read, understand, and code!
3) Documentations (The good parts!)
I used to spend a lot of time asking google on how to solve my problem, learning nothing, and being able to perform zero modifications. So, I forget about StackOverflow (I love it, but is like a toxic love we have) and started to look at the official documentation! I.E: If I needed to loop through an array and get some value, I’m going to the official array documentation to understand first, what is an array, how I feed it, and how to loop over it. StackOverflow is amazing, there we can find a lot of devs asking the same thing we were going to ask, but, whit the solution at the top of the comments and highlighted!! (Shut up and take my money!!)
4) Go Beyond (Push yourself)
Some day, an experienced co-worker asked me…
‘why are you limiting your imagination?’
That day, I went to the office, with a good coffee in my hand, and thinking how StackOverflow will save my day, as usual. But, that question just changed my entire world. I was working with a framework (Zend — PHP), facing an issue about re-ordering a list of videos, and that fateful question made me see things from other points of view. I stopped using Google to solve my issues (also StackOverflow), then, I grabbed paper and pen and that was my very first draw, 6 rectangular boxes, a number beside each of them, and imagined how to do the re-order. After that, I proposed to the client to add a ‘like’ system, he loved the idea and I started working on that, then, another idea came to me, I moved it to the client…… (infinite loop here). I become in a parter of my client, I was looking for ways to improve the app (from a dev perspective). This is so important, help your client (or your company client) to grow! They have a commercial idea, with a Business Analyst, a Product Owner, and a lot of people shaping the app, but your point of view is important too! You can see things that they don’t. By doing this, the client will give your manager better feedback, and you know, that is very important nowadays.
5) Expand your team (Look for opportunities)!
Sometimes, the clients are trying to save some money, by having a reduced team of developers / QA, but, is your mission to expand your team or create some other teams for a different task (QualityCode team / Automation team / Performance team / Ethical Hacking team…). With this, both are going to win something, look it from the client perspective, they are going to spend more money for a ‘Performance team’, but they are going to win more visits because their site is loading faster than ever and if they have some ads the revenue is being increased. And you, my friend, will be the hero that day! Also, adding an Ethical Hacking team will save money to the client by fixing that security breach that allows hackers to encrypt some important data. Again, hero!
6) Have your leader closer (24/7)!
Your leader is the right person to have it closer. He has a lot of knowledge, and I’m not just talking about technical skills, he also has tons of soft skills, those soft skills are related to ‘client communication’, ‘sense of urgency’, ‘team collaboration’… you must learn all of those soft skills! they are going to make you a better professional, someone who they wanted to work again in other projects, and that move you into a position where you can start demanding things, like a better salary or a promotion.
7) Empathize with the client (Give them some flowers)!
For the client, you are just a number, someone behind a computer, writing some code, and making things works. They request something and 1 week later that thing is ‘materialized’ (virtually), so, is your duty to break with that, ask about their last weekend, how was the lunch, if they have kids, last vacation, and the most important (is my favorite) ask about their birthdays (yeah! you know why), give them a birthday present, if they are not in your country, try to google some gifts companies in their country and ensure they receive something (don’t care if it is expensive or cheap, is the fact that you have given them a present). This kind of thinks makes you great, and the company (the client company :P ) will start talking about you, which has a positive impact on your career!
That is all folks!
So, I think these are some of the most important things you need to start working on to improve your skills as a developer and grow in your career and to your company!
Hope It Helps!