re: Got Any Advice for Early-Career Programmers? VIEW POST

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The most important thing you can do is invest in cultivating social skills. People who can write code (well or not so well) are not rare. We (devs) tend to think mostly about tech skills and many feel social skills don't matter or are, at best, a necessary evil. But they are very effective in terms of both advancing your career and also just generally enjoying it. (FWIW, I write here and elsewhere on this topic..)

Building a brand is important, too, but you gotta be able to back up the marketing with reality. The trick is to not just assume that because you're good, people will notice or care. We (devs) like to belittle and devalue marketing, but it's an important part of successful business, and that includes your career.

My take on certs is that they're mostly helpful before you get more experience. And they're more helpful in consulting than full-time employee type situations. YMMV.

The most important things I look for in devs are how well they can play with others and how passionate they are about what they do. Specific techs come and go, wax and wane, and a good dev can learn as needed. Your involvement in the community, OSS, etc. are publicly available indicators of your passion, so they are helpful in that way. Getting involved also helps you gain broader perspective, learn from more people, get to know more people/network, so it's all good and helpful, above and beyond just honing skills.

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