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Anand Safi
Anand Safi

Posted on • Updated on • Originally published at Medium

Spreading too thin — 5 things I wish I knew as a Software Engineer (Part 1/5)

All the 5 key traits can be found here in this article.
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The first key item in the list is Spreading too thin
I attribute this trait to our wandering minds. ‘The grass is always greener on the other side’ notion seems apt for this.
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• When I started doing Frontend web development, I felt I should also learn Backend Technologies (Java for ex.) since that might be more valuable.
• Next, when I started doing a little more full-stack development, I really felt I should level up my DevOps skills and get familiar with AWS/ Azure/ Google Cloud, Deploying code, Bundling code, Package Management etc.
• Next, when I started focusing on these aspects, I felt I need to establish my presence in the open source community i.e. do some side projects, contribute to existing projects, speak at meetups, conferences and so on.
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The list almost seemed never ending as I tried to jump from one thing to the next to get more skills under my belt. This is exactly what I believe led me to spread too thin for a brief period of time. I was scratching the surface on a variety of things but not really solid or expert with any.
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It was during my 1:1 meetings with my then manager that we realized I might be trying to excel at too many things at once. It is great to have a growth-oriented mindset of continuous learning but it has to be meaningful, phased out and planned carefully. One must pick their battles in order for quality development and skill building.
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I would suggest each of you to reflect on the same i.e. list down what are your areas of focus for growth. If the list seems too big, then you are in the spreading too thin bucket and need to downsize it to the top 1-3 items depending on time and resources at your disposal. If there is not a concrete list that you can come up with, that is an indicator as well. You need to ideally come up with the list on your own or work with your manager/ mentor on one.
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I would be more than happy to chat and help with your growth goals. Let me know your thoughts or current focus areas in the comments.
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On to the next Key Trait #2 — Focused on Implementation only…

Discussion (2)

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hardcodeai profile image
Arnab ganguly

I am a beginning software engineer who is excruciatingly close behind in your exact footsteps, I've jumped from front-end to back-end and now am knocking on the door of devops with me getting some responsibilities as well for the latter at my workplace, how do you stop this train wreck then, should I just settle into the rhythm and be a back-end engineer and just be happy with that, cuz I explored front-end and didn't get a feel for it how do I know if there is some thing else that would possibly make me feel more at home than back-end and i end up not exploring it

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anandsafi profile image
Anand Safi Author

Hello Arnab - first off you should feel proud of what you have accomplished in your recent engineering career i.e. experiencing all the different aspects of product development. Most people spend years doing a specific thing out of those and never realize that they truly enjoy something else.

To be honest, I sense that you did find that motivation and enthusiasm with backend dev over other areas. I would say you could make that your primary focus area along with opportunities to do some full-stack and system architecture work involvement in your 20% time.

I would love to stay in touch of your journey and help in any way I can. Feel free to connect on LinkedIn at: linkedin.com/in/anandsafi