How to Succeed as a Programmer - Part 1

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Over the next few weeks, we are going to take you on a journey. This blog series, in tandem with an e-book, is for programmers who are looking to expand their knowledge and seize opportunity in their field.

Written by 3 developers with a combined 50 years of experience in the industry, 5 Secrets to a Programmer’s DREAM Career, will help you on your career as a programmer whether you are just starting out, or are mid-way through. This is the guide they wished they had when they were starting out. Learn from their mistakes. Benefit from wisdom gained through much trial and error.

To DREAM big is a matter of choice. To reach that DREAM is a matter of discipline. If you want to make sure you aren’t making the same mistakes they did as programmers, if you want to steer your career on the track to success, come along on this journey with us.

The series will be presented in the following parts:

DISCOVER – who you are, your values, goals, personality traits and tendencies.
REFINE – your focus, what areas of software tech should you learn or work in?
ESTABLISH – building your personal brand.
ADVANCE – your career to the next level.
MASTER – the skill of learning and staying relevant.

PART 1: DISCOVER YOURSELF

“This above all: to thine own self be true” – Polonius, from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Shakespeare gives good advice, but how can you be true to yourself if you don’t know yourself?

Being introspective it not everyone’s thing. Some people love it and are very reflective, while others would rather never be left alone with themselves.

You would think it would be easy to know ourselves; after all, we are around ourselves all the time. Yet paradoxically, nothing is more difficult. We are too close to ourselves to see objectively.

Fortunately, we can get help in discovering who we are, our strengths and weaknesses, our talents and tendencies. We can look to our own experiences first, then to various inventories and tests, and finally to what others have told us about ourselves (good and bad). These three directions of input will help us know ourselves better.

LOOK AT YOURSELF

Look back at your life from childhood to now. Have you been someone who others are naturally attracted to? Did you always rise to be the team captain or leader? Did you enjoy doing that? Did you prefer to be left alone and do your own thing? Are you the life of the party or someone who only feels comfortable with people you know really well? Can you learn quickly and solve problems without much difficulty, or do you have to methodically plod along exploring different routes until you understand the concepts?

It is important to do some introspection to think about the big arcs in your personality. Some foundational part of you is baked into your genetic code and soul, but you have built upon that foundation in unique ways based on your environment and free will.

When looking inward, other things to think about are what are your core values and your life priorities? Think through some of these values and notate which ring true to you: creativity, honesty, simplicity, respectfulness, transparency, humility, excellence, communication skills, proactive tendencies, humor, and leadership qualities.

When you dream of your future, where do your priorities lie? What do you see? A life with money, a life where you make a difference, a life where you are challenged every day and solve interesting problems, a life where you are famous or well known, or a life where you are free to do as you please? What do you want your life to be?

TAKE A TEST

Sometimes, it is really hard just looking back on your experiences to determine what your tendencies are. There are a lot of personality tests out there. Take a few. See which one rings true to you!

DSIC – https://discpersonalitytesting.com/
Myer-Briggs – https://www.16personalities.com/
Strength Finder – https://www.gallupstrengthscenter.com/home/en-us/strengthsfinder
Temperament – https://openpsychometrics.org/tests/O4TS/https://www.truity.com/

ASK OTHERS

What have others said about you in the past? Have they complimented you on something or given you a critique? Compile a list of things you’ve heard over your life and see which ones hit a note with you.

No test or inventory can tell you everything about yourself. These ideas merely help you take the first step toward self-discovery. We are complex creatures full of contradictions, facets, and hidden aspects. Similarly, while others may have valuable insights about you to share, they cannot get inside your heart and truly know what makes you tick. So, use all three strategies and triangulate to find the true center point within yourself.

Want to read more? Download the full book

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