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

Ben Halpern on June 09, 2019

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Sleep and tackle the problem tomorrow with fresh eyes.


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

(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".


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


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.

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

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.


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


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.


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


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.


+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! :)


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


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


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


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.


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


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


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.


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.


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


Sometimes helps to close your mouth and open your ears.


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


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


Mistakes are the best thing that can happen to you.


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


Be proactive, curious and finish what you started.


"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.


Sometimes you just have to suck it up.

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


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


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


"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.


Your relationships are everything--cultivate them wisely.


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.

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


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


Learn to speak up. Ask questions when you are stuck.

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

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


Authenticity + Skill + Diligence + Wisdom + Patience = Career Success


Don't worry if you don't have all the listed requirements


Be humble when someone asks you "obvious" questions.

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

"Go where you can do the most good."

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


from an ex-manager: work hard and don't be an asshole


Don’t trust that others know better. Speak up. Ask questions.


Accept that you’ll always be learning. But question things if you never return to those skills and use them.


Believe and keep investing in yourself. Period


Be honest, work hard, communicate thoughtfully. You should be valued.


Don't work the weekend because you're worried about deadlines.


Nice person with average knowledge > Bad person with high knowledge


If you found yourself in a rabit hole, stop digging 🤷‍♂️


Every new challenge teaches us something great. Be ready to face any challenge and keep learning from them. This will prepare us to face next bigger challenges.


Knowledge is Life. It increases when you spend it.


Break your problem into small chunks, It will get easier.


Learn what your gut feels like when it’s really excited.


If you have the opportunity to challenge yourself, go for it!

(11 words, but it is within the margin of error)


Your word is your reputation and your reputation is your word.

-This is not as trite as it first appears-


Don't go back to school unless you absolutely must.


If you have a dream, chase it. fail, it's okay, try again, spend your failed quota until finally your dream comes true


Fake it until you make it (within reason)


Recursion recursion recursion recursion recursion recursion recursion recursion recursion recursion


Push yourself to beyond your perceived station; accept failure is natural.


When you encounter the genuine article, learn all they teach.


"Success" is the marriage between competence and opportunity.


What's it you do that you're the best in the world at?


Two bits of advice I would give:

  1. Learn something new every day, knowledge is never wasted.

  2. Always surround yourself with people smarter/more knowledgeable than you.


Keep learning, dare, be kind, communicate and report efficiently.


Be always ethical and expect the same from others


There's a rewarding life outside academia- maybe try software development?


What difference does your position make if you dislike it yourself?

~ Seneca

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