The Best Thing About Coding
…is that anyone can learn how to do it.
You don’t need a lot of money, a degree, or a team of people. All you need is a computer and the desire to learn.
The internet makes is very easy to share things with others, get feedback and improve. Every iteration takes your product and your skills to the next level.
In addition, it’s very easy to see if the feature you are working on is functioning properly. If you are working on a web app, sometimes all you need to do is reload the page (or better yet, automate it by writing a test).
Learning programming (and many other things) has never been easier. If you have never done it before, try it, even if you don’t plan on doing it professionally.
And if you are an experienced programmer, spend some time teaching others or building something cool just for fun.
Years of Experience
Years of development experience isn’t a good indicator of knowledge. Some jobs teach you more than others, and some people learn a lot in a short period of time doing side projects in addition to their full time work.
Don’t get discouraged if a job posting requires more years of experience than what you have. If you have the skills, are a quick learner, have a continuous track record of exceptional performance, or all of the above, you may be just the person they are looking for.
If not, the good news is that it’s never been easier to learn programming and build something worth showing your potential employers.
It doesn’t matter where you work from… as long as you get things done. If you are productive and accessible, why would you need to come to the office? Why would your job determine where you can live? And at the same time, why would a hiring manager limit the talent pool she can choose from?
The communication is not a problem anymore. Technology has made it possible to make video calls, conference calls and share your screen.
The question “How do I know if a remote employee is actually working?” is a sign of a much bigger problem. How do you know if the people in the office are actually working? Presence does not equal productivity. It’s a false sense of security.
People who don’t trust each other (regardless of whether the perception of untrustworthiness is real or not) won’t achieve extraordinary results no matter the environment.
The best communicator isn’t the one who speaks the best. It is the one who is willing to listen.
A conversation turning into a monologue usually leads to a tangent story. Giving a speech or sending an email without knowing the audience/recipient is a shot in the dark.
A few right sentences might answer more questions than 10 meetings. To be able to reduce the noise, you must be willing to listen.
Becoming a Team Lead
If your goal is getting promoted, doing your job well might not be enough.
Being a great programmer does not necessarily mean you’ll make a great team lead. Working with people is not the same as working with computers. Computers are predictable and reliable (for the most part), and people, on the other hand, are flexible, creative and unique, at their best, and deceiving, disengaged and resentful when their needs aren’t met.
Managing a team is completely different from managing a cluster of servers. There’s no documentation. There’s no restart, reinstall or undo.
How much you know will always be important. But how much you care is what will determine your ability to lead.
Head in the Sand
Should you care about the things happening around you?
You may have three bugs to fix and a big feature to develop, and a tight deadline. It’s really tempting to get “wired in” and ignore everything around you.
You push hard and you get everything done. You feel amazing.
The problem? There is another set of bugs and features coming your way.
Before you know it, you’re a hamster in a wheel, where you never get to see the big picture or get involved in decisions. And if anyone should be involved, it should be you, because you know the system better than everybody else.
Rethink the wheel.
Are You a Boiling Frog?
If you drop a frog into hot water, the frog will get burned and jump out.
But if you put the frog into cold water, and then increase the temperature gradually, it will get cooked to death.
Beware of the small changes happening around you. Most people react to sudden changes, even if they don’t carry much importance in the long term. The sympathetic nervous system perceives the shock as a potential danger, and triggers the fight or flight response.
The slow sinking ship may be just as dangerous. Draw the line in advance, not when it’s too late.
Time Will Pass Anyway
It takes time to create something remarkable. It takes years to achieve excellence. The success does not happen over night.
When the media starts talking about a cool new startup, most people don’t see all the time and effort that went into it. Some people may start analyzing what the company did right, and how and why it succeeded.
You can always find an explanation. All the decisions the company made make sense now, because now you can clearly link them to their success. But did they make sense then, when the prize wasn’t guaranteed?
Making a difference takes guts. It is easy to find an excuse to quit before you even start. It’s easy to start thinking about years of work that you need to put in before you start seeing results.
The time is going to pass anyway. The question is, when it does, will you have anything to show?
Every day is a chance to make a difference. To do things right.
Don’t let your past drag you down. See the world as it is, right now.
Your entire life consists of days like this. If you’re able to make today amazing, you’ll be well on your way to make your life amazing as well.
We live in a world surrounded with possibilities, connections and entertainment. There is so much to do, but so little time.
We are more connected than ever. We chase shiny new objects. We try to make most of every day.
We crave new experiences. Eating great food, playing realistic video games, seeing new places. Everything is so amazing that we often sacrifice sleep to get to do as much as possible.
But no matter how much you do, there will always be something you will miss out on. And you need to be OK with that.
Learn to be present, and enjoy the moment.