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What's the best career advice you can give in ten words or less?

Ben Halpern
A Canadian software developer who thinks he’s funny. He/Him.
・1 min read

Discussion (151)

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Ben Halpern Author

Sleep and tackle the problem tomorrow with fresh eyes.

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edA‑qa mort‑ora‑y

A colleague's eyes are always fresher than your own.

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AlysCole

Too many times has a colleague been able to immediately pin down a problem I'd been pouring HOURS into.

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Thomas H Jones II

(More junior) teammates often wonder why I'm so verbose with my status-reporting. I can't count the number of times where I've sent out a "I've been banging my head on , here's everything I've done - did I miss something trivial" only to have a reply, a few minutes/hours later, saying something as simple as "line 24 of your problem-description".

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Brian Hanna

Doing this one right now. Completely borked the local database for one my apps today. Shut down my machine and went home. Going to play some video games and deal with it in the morning

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Thomas H Jones II

That's why I love doing infrastructure automation: something's gone completely sideways with a system or an entire architecture? Punch a button to deploy a new, functional copy in a few (or few tens of) minutes.

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Brian Hanna

I would love to but we're in feature factory mode so not a ton of time for that level of automation 🙁

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Thomas H Jones II

Yeah. Automating deployments is definitely a time-suck, but it's a time-suck that, once done, quickly pays for itself by freeing you up to do other thing more quickly and easily. Unfortunately, many organizations that love to say "we want to do devops" or "we want to do infrastructure automation" don't seem to understand that you have to allocate considerable time to getting there. That it's an investment to reach the point where you replace broken systems – or even just do regular patching – with "lemme launch a new copy". Then again, there's a lot of shops that think that re-hosting into a CSP and/or switching to containers magically impart capabilities they never designed into their solutions.

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Periklis Gkolias

Second that

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Damien Cosset • Edited

Don't worry, nobody knows what they are doing.

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Ben Halpern Author

Can confirm. Don’t know what I’m doing.

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Thomas H Jones II

Always amazes me when I run into people that claim to know, with absolute certitude, that what they're doing is the correct, best way to do a given thing.

Usually, such certitude does not bear up under even the most casual of scrutiny.

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Avalander

How comes you can only like a comment once?

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edA‑qa mort‑ora‑y

Some people do, learn from them.

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Sinuhe Jaime Valencia

I know what I'm doing: trying to figure out what I'm supposed to do

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Nadine M. Thêry

If you are not happy, do something. Life is short.

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Ben Halpern Author

That’s how I felt after I got my first job my degree trained me for.

I sort of knew how to code and that looked like a lot more fun so I quit and figured out my happy path.

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Rizwan⚡️

+1 Yes, life is too short to be in a crappy job. You can be a team of one but be realistic as well and explore your options. There comes a time when all your pleading and convincing will go to waste if the executives/management don't value your opinion. You deserve to be happy! :)

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Russell Ormes

Maybe life is too long to be unhappy.

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Gift Egwuenu

Never stop learning.

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𝐍𝐚𝐭𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐞 𝐝𝐞 𝐖𝐞𝐞𝐫𝐝

Just ask the bloody question!

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Jaimie Carter

Haha .. yes! Just ask, already!!!!

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Ben Halpern Author

Good one

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Scott Yeatts • Edited

Don't be afraid to admit when you're wrong.

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C.S. Rhymes

Drink less coffee, drink more water

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Ben Halpern Author

I really want to give up my coffee dependency

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Sam Ringleman

I don't.

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Avalander

Heresy!

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Ken Bellows

😱

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Luke Westby

Technology is ephemeral; people are not

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edA‑qa mort‑ora‑y

I have a bad feeling some COBOL code is going to outlive us all.

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Ben Halpern Author

Love that

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Cécile Lebleu

Don’t go to bed if you haven’t learned something new today [repeat every day]

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Alexey Golub

Depending on what you consider as "learning something new", you may ruin your sleep really badly :D

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Cécile Lebleu

"Get enough sleep" would be my no. 2 advice!

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gabriel-viviani

while(isAlive())

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Cécile Lebleu

That's why programming is so great. Two paragraphs of explanation condensed in one function! Awesome! Thanks 😄

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Ben Halpern Author

Any tips on keeping up this discipline?

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Cécile Lebleu

One and only, IMO: Link this question to an action you do every evening!

For example, washing your teeth, changing clothes, taking a shower, or when pulling the covers on to sleep. Select one action you do religiously every evening, and whenever you do this action, ask yourself the question, "have I learned something new today?". If you can honestly say "yes, I learned something useful today", then sleep sound, you earned it! But if not, then get up and do something, or read something useful on your phone using the DEV app :), etc.

Back when I was around 10 years old, I heard somewhere that the Japanese did this every night. I thought it was SO cool I decided to make that a part of my life. I don't even know if it's true from the Japanese! Also, I thank to my dad, who I saw learning and working really hard every day and night from home, to build his own thing. I learned that, even if all goes south, I can still learn something new every day, and what I learn, I can use to improve my life.

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Ben Halpern Author

Nice!

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Molly Struve (she/her)

Ask the question, someone else is probably wondering it too.

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Ben Halpern Author

Definitely!

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Abraham Williams

Surround yourself with nice people.

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Jaimie Carter

You can't be more right! Good one.

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Jason Steinhauser

Failing is better than not trying.

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Ben Sinclair

You've never tested bulletproof vests for a living.

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Fernando Zablah

Don't forget to commit

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Michael Hadley

Don't commit directly to master until you're absolutely sure!

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Sean G. Wright

Work hard.
Build relationships.
Find opportunities.
Take chances.
Be kind.

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Nick Taylor (he/him)
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Darkø Tasevski

Experience is overrated over knowledge, and knowledge over motivation to learn.

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Kasey Speakman • Edited

When challenged, try to understand the other person's perspective.

Challenged in this sense doesn't just mean direct conflict, but also when a customer request completely breaks your notions of how the software you wrote is supposed to behave.

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Lautaro Lobo

Totally!

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Stefan Dorresteijn • Edited

The best worst advice I can give is "Don't work on other people's dreams, work on your own"

I truly believe in that line, but it's not viable for most people so it's terrible advice.

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Wilfredo Pérez

Mistakes are the best thing that can happen to you.

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Ben Halpern Author

I motivate myself through mistakes by thinking about how much I’ll learn by working through the pain and consequences.

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Stacy Cashmore

Keep experimenting. Technically, your way of working and communication.

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Fernando B 🚀

Don't stop learning, take breaks, learn from mistakes.

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Tomas Forsman

Work is part of life, so make work worth living.

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Dillon Greek

Sometimes helps to close your mouth and open your ears.

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Thomas H Jones II

"Find a job where you can get regular wins."

The most soul-crushing part of a job is when you just continually pile frustration upon frustration without ever getting the "high" of achieving a success.

One of the best parts of my prior life as a short-term consultant was that I got that success-high at frequent intervals. It could be as frequent as every couple days but never longer than a month or so. Compare that to long-term consulting... You can go quarters to years with no wins to offset stresses/frustrations. And, yeah, the constant travel sucked (I'd achieved lifetime double-platinum with Marriott after three years of racking up 170+ nights/year with them), but never underestimate how stress relieving regular wins can be.

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Sinuhe Jaime Valencia

"It's not THAT important, life matters more"

I think/feel like you should care more about you and less about the work

Some people will disagree but I have found that being more focused on me have helped me on being a better developer.

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Tom VanAntwerp

Your relationships are everything--cultivate them wisely.

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Tomas Forsman

Connect with people

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Kevin

Know your worth.

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Amruta Ranade

Be kind to yourself and others.

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Neesha Desai

Sometimes you just have to suck it up.

(This is also when you should probably start searching for something new...)

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Ben Prax

"He whose life has a why can bear almost any how."
-Friedrich Nietzsche

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Simon Vrachliotis 🏄🏀💻😍

Don't wait to be an expert - put yourself out there.

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Jorge

Ask the questions.. share the answers

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Oleg Aleksandrov

If you dislike your job - start looking for a new job.

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jess unrein

I’m cheating with two separate pieces of short advice.

  1. Software is for people, not machines
  2. Learn and engage with things other than software.
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Ben Halpern Author

Good ones

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Yaser Al-Najjar

Results matter, do yourself a favor and focus on them.

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Minh Trinh • Edited

Protect your eyes. You need them.

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Sandor Dargo

Be proactive, curious and finish what you started.

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Vuild

You are probably wrong. Review.
They are probably wrong. Review.

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Marco Fiset

Money isn't everything.

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Jaimie Carter

Be careful what you wish for.

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Sasa Blagojevic

Never stop being curious.

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Jean-Christophe Helary

Enjoy it, or quit !

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Charlie Triplett

"Go where you can do the most good."

— A former mentor of mine who had been a manufacturing engineer and art teacher.

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Joseph Jude

Reality is negotiable

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Maciek Chmura

Don't overthink, and just build what you like.

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Vincent Grovestine
  1. Listen first.
  2. You can have it cheap, fast or good. Pick two!
  3. Learn to say "no".
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Anthony Bouvier

Check your privilege.
Be humble.
Keep learning.
Practice self-care.

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rhymes
  1. Most of us are not saving lives
  2. Go on a holiday
  3. Don't just work
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George Lampadaridis

Keep calm, find ways to be happy with your job.