I’ve been trying to figure out what it takes to be a good developer.
What skills should I be learning? How much time do I have to spend learning them? What should I do with my career?
After a lot of reflection, I have decided that it isn’t a specific set of actions that make a good developer..
It’s all about The Attitude.
It’s hard to quantify it, but we can all recognise people who have the right attitude.
It’s the passion for what you do that makes you want to read other people’s blog posts like this.
It’s the thing that makes you stay a little later to finish something at work. Not because your boss tells you to, but because you don’t want to go home without figuring it out.
I believe that having The Attitude is worth more than anything else in our industry.
When I look at the best developers I know, they all have a passion for their job. When you have a conversation with them, the excitement for what they do is evident immediately. These people won’t become obsolete once the knowledge they hold does; their interest will mean they are always learning and are always current.
Instead of trying to emulate people we admire by learning their skills, perhaps we should be trying to learn their attitude.
The fact that you are reading the blog of a developer from somewhere in England that nobody has heard of, means that you probably have the right attitude already. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t have to work at it.
I want us all to try something new for a while and see how we get on..
Instead of thinking ‘what do I need to learn’, think ‘what will make me more excited about being a developer’.
That’s it. That’s the only change I think we need to make.
It’s my theory that this will have a number of benefits:
Firstly, we will gravitate towards learning the things we enjoy most. That is going to shape our careers in the direction that interests us, rather than blindly following everybody else in the industry into the next big thing.
Secondly, it will make us more passionate about what we do, which means we will naturally want to be better at it without feeling like it’s work.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, it will be infectious. Passionate people naturally influence others to feel the same. If you are cultivating the attitude of excitement and passion about what you do in yourself, it will rub off onto those you interact with.
Stop trying to figure out what you need to learn to get that next pay rise, or what technology is going to help your career move forward.
Concentrate on each decision at a time and, for each one, ask ‘will this make me enjoy being a developer more‘.. then let me know how you get on.