Being good at coding lets you envisage a successful career in the future, but have you ever thought whether that makes you successful as a developer?
Commit to a Culture of Hard Work
Reading programming books and practicing coding is not the easiest or most interesting of tasks. To become a successful developer, you need to commit to the process. Laziness might want to get the better of you, but you have to come up with your own strategies for defeating it.
Look at the complete picture of the project you want to accomplish, and then fragment it into smaller, manageable steps. Set targets for yourself and work with timelines. Developers don’t have anyone to push them. They motivate themselves to complete tasks in time. Therefore, you have to learn how to be answerable to yourself.
Personal Branding and Marketing
You might be the best developer on the planet, but if no one knows about you, you probably lose on the possibility of getting hired. Learn how to brand yourself online, so those who need your services will find you. The internet has made marketing easy. Start a blog and post articles regularly. Research thoroughly, so you are sure to give people value and lure them in with your posts.
Make it easy for the online community to find your blog, so take the time to learn at least the basics of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and let your blog achieve a better rating in online searches. Use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social networks to drive traffic to your blog, as well as spread word about your work. Position yourself as an expert, and let employers follow you!
Go Open Source
Do not trust that open-source software development is the way to go as a developer. Companies such as Microsoft may sense the need for a project like Typescript and announce it, but be careful to ensure the version of code they release to the public reflects the kind of job they want to accomplish. The developers who get to work on it could end up directing it the way the owners never want.
Staying in one job for 5, 10 years might show you are a loyal employee, but it does not work for you as a developer. You do not have to change jobs every six months, but you definitely need exposure, and working with different organizations will let you accumulate the sort of experience you need to become an all-round developer.
Working for Microsoft for decades means you only know how Microsoft does it, and the software they use. You have not proved your worth elsewhere. Make it a point to change jobs once you have mastered how things are done at your current company. This will challenge you to keep learning new things, thus expanding your area of expertise.
Keep Your Eyes on New Stuff but Your Hands on the Practical
Technology is ever developing and new programming languages often make their way into the market. Don’t be rigid about the language you love, but look out for new programming languages that enter the market. Don’t fix your mind that unless it is programmed using Java, you will not have a go at it. Familiarize yourself with different programming languages and keep abreast with what is becoming popular.
Freelancer.com is one of the best places to register as a developer, to get all kinds of projects to work on and improve your skills.
Write Your Own Documentation
You are a programmer, but other people you work with are not. Master the art of writing documents that are easily understood by a layman, and you will endear yourself to employers. Always have documents you can share in meetings with the team. Ensure they are easy for all to understand, even if they know nothing about programming.
Brevity: Learn to Summarize
It is a general belief that people who don’t know what they are talking about, use long and complicated descriptions as a way of keeping everyone in the dark. They hype up things and use tech jargon, only to end up speaking to themselves and losing everyone else.
A knowledgeable person does not need to hype things, or to lose people. Carry the details with you, but learn how to summarize and express yourself clearly. Whether your documents are in words or are basically numbers, ensure they are clear, concise, and easy to understand. Simplify the numbers by using charts and other illustrations.
Speak to the Hearts of the Crowd
A programmer needs to be a good public speaker. Invest in developing public speaking skills. Research your topic thoroughly; make it informative, and entertaining. Facts can bore people if they are not told in an entertaining manner. Practice your public speaking skills, beginning with small audiences in your department and grow gradually.
Few employers want a developer who is an expert at a specific coding language. You might be an expert in Python, but you still need to learn at least some basics of other programming languages. It is not necessary to become an expert in all coding languages out there, but it is important to be competent in a few and at least be familiar with few others.
Master the Hard Stuff
Work up the ladder and change your identity as an average developer. Master the things everyone uses, but also learn some things that positions you in a different league. Invest in management and leadership skills on top of programming. This will set you apart from the average developer and attract a higher salary.
To learn what has the highest demand, one can register to work at freelancer.com.
Don’t Let Success Go to Your Head
Success can go to your head, but you must not let it. If you allow yourself to feel you have ‘made it’, you might relax and get left behind. With programming, you never quite arrive since technology is constantly changing, and there are always new things to learn.
Success could bag you supervisory roles, and even though that is a promotion, it could keep you busy doing things that are not in line with your programming career. Doing so can distract you from keeping up to date with programming.
You might find yourself unable to cope should you land a programming job after having held a job that kept you focused on unrelated roles and responsibilities.
How can you tell that you are the developer every business wants?
Success is difficult to hide, so you will realize when you rise above the average developer. You will have more and more people trying to hire you, even offering to double the pay you get at your current job. Employers will give you supervisory roles, and you will be in charge of other developers, or head and supervise the entire department.
People will feel proud to be associated with you. Your online profiles will have thousands of fans or followers, and you will get people who are new to the field reaching out for mentorship.
Your responsibilities at your place of work will spread as your opinion is sought by key departments beyond your field, such as the sales and marketing department. You might receive an invitation to give talks.
Right now, developers are in high demand, but it will not always be that way. As more and more people enter the field, it will become crowded and some will seek developer jobs and not get them. Prepare for such a time by rising above average, becoming valuable and also packaging and marketing yourself.
What has worked for you in your career as a programmer? We'd love to hear from you. Share your story here!