I’ve been recently pushing myself to improve certain knowledge gaps. Whilst thinking about how to tackle the problem I ended up posing myself a question:
When have I made the biggest learning improvements in the past? How did I do it? And can I repeat that process?
The answer took me back to when I was a student …it was when I read non-fiction. a lot.
For developers, portfolios have become more commonplace. Which in itself is a wonderful thing. It’s a great tool to showcase your work and your passion. I even believe it’s one of the best investments you can make as a developer. Especially if you’re starting out. But, I made a mistake when I created mine years ago. I wish I could go back and do things again. Because there is something that I’d change.
If you want to step up your developer career you might be considering creating a portfolio. If you are, bravo! Having a portfolio immediately puts you ahead of the curve. So, you sit down with a coffee in hand and debate the best ways to create your website and a thought crosses your mind:
Do I create my portfolio in code, or do I use a template?
This question came up recently on a front end developer forum. The answers that emerged were short and shallow. Did they answer the question? Yes. Will they help the developer get hired? I’m not so sure.
The rules are changing. Especially for knowledge workers like software developers. It’s impacting how we should craft our careers. The opportunities and the tools we have are different to the years before. Writing platforms are one of these big shifts. We have the ability to share our ideas with large audiences. It’s simpler than ever. Mainstream media influence is yielding to the power of individual influencers. Only a handful of developers will identify this opportunity. Even less act on it.
If you insist on playing todays games by yesterdays rules, you’re stuck – Seth Godin, Tribes.
A water-tight career strategy for your personal brand is your most important asset. Having one will:
Guide your decision making
Lead you closer to fulfilment
Create more purpose in your work
It also puts the power back in your hands. You can write blogs, speak at talks, read books – these are all activities well within your power. With so much choice, how you spend your time has never been more important.
I’d always hated the idea of “selling” myself. The thought of interviews made me sick. It felt so egotistical. I even asked my father to fill out the about me section of my CV. I couldn’t bring myself to do it.
“They’re the scariest man at AND Digital” !
Exclaimed a developer to me about a colleague. I burst out laughing. Not at the developer, but at his choice of words. The developer isn’t native English. This made his choice of wording rather amusing. I knew exactly what he meant; scary was not the word he was looking for!
As software developers, we’re always teaching each other. It’s a core part of what we do. Yet, most developers get little formal training in areas outside of software developing. Most developers wouldn’t think to read a book on teaching to improve their career. But, doing just that could make some profound changes to your career and your team.
For some reason most people don’t take this topic very serious: Touch Typing. But it adds up into hundreds of hours of wasted time single every year.