Last Friday a couple of students of Dockyard Academy were invited to participate in their roundtable, in which some Dockyard-ers get together and chat about what's cooking in their projects.
There was some element of awe at the contemplation of high-level developers at the top of their game. It was something similar to stepping into a conservatory or an art class as a aspirant. It is easy to develop metaphorical neck injuries after looking up to these guys.
I asked the room: "what do you see when you see us newbies? what advice would you have or give your past selves?". Paul jumped in and did an
IO.puts(@lessons_learnt_from_experience) |> Deliver.NoSugarCoating()
Here are the bullet-points:
You cannot avoid burnout - Recognize the early signs of burnout, take corrective action, slay the dragon, and we'll see each other on the other side. This is bound to happen once per year or couple of years.
Make "free time" useful for yourself: a bit of a "duh" but not so much when we look at our lives and realize that many of us use free time to add screen time, study time, personal projects time... Paul pointed towards a healthy combination of progressing your own interests, which is how you craft your niche and reputation, as well as unrelated activities that are there to nurture other areas of your life. In my case: writing, music, cooking, meditating, spending time in nature... Yours?
In everything you do, try and find the lessons and stepping stones that will take you further. For example, you may not particularly enjoy being a maintenance developer, but you can approach the job as becoming really good at refactoring, or git, or project management. Collect bricks to build your castle, so to speak. Everything can be used to further your development and skillset.
Brian (none other than the founder of Dockyard) chimed in and told us that today is simpler than tomorrow. This year, the world of tech is simpler than it will be five or ten years from now. Complexity is growing and will keep on growing, so there is no way to "get ready" for the industry in the way it was ten or twenty years ago. The way to navigate this is to carve a niche where you are the business. Do not get distracted by the newness and the spectacular new things that are released every 15 minutes, but follow the whispers of your true interests and curiosity and conquer that niche. Build a skillset and portfolio that gives you a reputation and offer true value to the industry.
There was more said, but these are my main takeaways. Check the Elixir Dockyard Roundtable podcast to listen to that intervention and extrack the wisdom of those who are established in the industry. Generous souls, for sure, and experienced in coding as well as in life.
My main lesson learnt is to keep pursuing my genuine insterests, and to allow plenty of space and time to nurture other areas of my life that provide a buffer for the high-intensity, anxiety-prone environment of this craft.
...so stay tuned for my Elixir-based custom meditation app :D
git add .
git commit -m "This is for warriors"