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Dan Goslen
Dan Goslen

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I'll Admit It. I'm a Jealous Developer.

I have recently been trying to get back on Twitter after a long hiatus. I had gotten bored with the platform but recently heard that there was a thriving developer community on Twitter. I wanted to check it out.

And wow! There are a lot of people with a lot of good thoughts about development on the Twitterverse.

And I’ll admit it. I’m jealous of many of them.

Many of them have a huge following. Several have created their own business where they teach code online or offer freelance software services. Others have written books and have contributed immensely to the developer community.

But I’m not so much jealous of their success — which is impressive! — as much as I’m envious of how they got there. And rather than just leave it jealousy, which is rooted in fear, I want to move towards a place of inspiration. To be inspired by their success and skills as motivation rather than feeling intimated.

Here are three of the things I have come to feel inspired by the people I’ve seen in the development online community.

Their Candor and Courage

Many developers I see as being successful have a knack for being honest about their struggles. They can articulate with both courage and humility the fears that many other developers feel.
For instance, I’m sure every developer has made at least one of the mistakes listed by Catalin below:

I’m sure that many of us have had a similar thought at one point or another. But why didn’t you share it? For me, it was I was both afraid and figured that no one would listen.

The takeaway? Many people feel like an imposter in the development world all the time — even skilled senior engineers. Instead of thinking that you will look dumb or that no one wants to hear your experience, try to learn how to share it with humility. People will listen.

Their Communication Skills

Many of these developers have a particular skill that I am both envious of and lack: they are great communicators.
They have built their success by teaching, explaining, and all together helping other developers learn development. They have the ability to take a technical topic — say a language — and teach it to others effectively.

As David Thomas and Andy Hunt discuss in their seminal book The Pragmatic Programmer

Having the best ideas, the finest code, or the most pragmatic thinking is ultimately sterile unless you can communicate it with other people

Developers need to communicate with others more than we might initially think. Even our code is really communicating with other people. Sure we are instructing a computer to do perform specific actions with our code, but we are also telling our fellow teammates as well. Programming languages are languages after all.

Their Consistency

The top developers in this space are also consistent. They have new courses, blogs, and tweets to keep their audience engaged. They stream themselves coding at the same time each week without fail. Their consistency has truly become a habit rather than a struggle to “get things done.”

Even in the world of coding only (i.e. ignoring the blogging, tweeting, etc.), being able to show up and write great code consistently is essential. Even if you are working on a project you don’t love at work. Even if you “don’t feel like it.” Writers have to practice writing every day regardless of if they are inspired. Writing code is writing, after all.

Before going on, I am not saying just to grin and bear it. If you have been trying to solve a problem and not getting anywhere, go home, get some sleep, do a little exercise, and show up the next day to try again. Likewise, if you are working on a project you don’t love, tell your manager! Just don’t use your lack of enthusiasm as an excuse not to give it your best.

I write this in hopes that we can all move from envy to inspiration. From feeling jealousy and being defeated to a desire to improve. Whether this feeling arises from your craft or social media content, we can always strive to grow and be inspired by others.

Maybe someone wants to hear your unique thought or perspective. Maybe your team is looking for you to lead on the next project through your skill. Or perhaps you just need to practice learning a new skill for yourself and for yourself only.

Whatever the case, we can all grow and we don’t have to feel jealous. We can learn to be inspired instead.

Happy coding!

Originally posted on Medium

Discussion (6)

leob profile image
leob • Edited

"I'll Admit It. I'm a Jealous Developer" - I say, don't be ...

Many ways lead to Rome, there is no "one way" that's better than others.

Define your goals, then work toward it - learn from others (how else could we improve, we're only standing on the shoulders of giants, so modesty is good), but don't get obsessed with the idea of "someone else is better than me".

Value the skills that you have, then improve. And keep learning, of course. But my point is, don't go overboard "comparing".

dangoslen profile image
Dan Goslen Author

Hi leob! Thanks for reading and responding.

Great points. Comparing ourselves to others indeed is a bad road. Unfortunately, I can't always control when I have thoughts of comparison.

What I hoped to accomplish in writing this was really what to do with that feeling when you have it. Instead of stewing and feeding it, maybe we can see a skill or a trait that is valuable and be inspired to go back and improve our own.

leob profile image
leob • Edited

I respect that, and I see what you're getting at.

However, I want to point out one thing which I think is important to realize - these things are often a result not just of talent but also of chance and of opportunities that presented themselves (or not) - things that people have stumbled upon or came across, chance encounters, and so on - there are ways you can "increase your luck surface" but you can't control everything in life.

But, I totally agree that it's important to be ambitious and above all to follow your passion. Most important is that what you're doing feels "right" to you (which is different for every individual).

obsinqsob01 profile image
Luis Fernando Contreras Guerra

This post has come to me when I needed, thank you :)

dangoslen profile image
Dan Goslen Author

Glad it helped!