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If you had a time machine, what would you tell your younger self?

In many ways, I love the path I've taken in the tech industry. It wasn't a straight line but it worked for me. And the place I ended up was beautiful. But if I had the option I'd go back and tell myself a few things. What advice do you wish you'd had earlier?

Top comments (42)

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scroung720 profile image
scroung720

Three things:
a)Don't be like the rabbit from The Rabbit & The Turtle - moral story. If you are good at something, that doesn't mean that you should work little, on the contrary, you should work harder than anyone. Discipline beats talent. Just because right now the people in your environment are not competition for you. It doesn't mean that there is no one better than you.
b)Never tell lies.
c)Always listen to everyone like they know something you don't.

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rad_val_ profile image
Valentin Radu • Edited
  1. Discipline weights more than smarts in the equation of success.
  2. Rewards come in steps: sometimes you have to work really hard while making no apparent progress for a long time. Don't give up.
  3. Unfortunately, school is full of it. Your teachers/educators are more ignorant and insignificant than you think. Focus on learning, read more, ignore everything else.
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Ben Halpern

I'd tell me older self that I can program for fun and it's not that big a deal if there are things I don't understand. I don't need to get discouraged if I'm struggling with something, there's plenty more out there!

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thtmnisamnstr profile image
Gavin

I would tell young me that the business minor that I got would be really important, and I should do more work in those classes. Also, more importantly, I’d tell myself that my opinions are valid and to express them more. It took me a long time to figure that out, but, once I did, I started liking work more and my career improved.

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern

I definitely undervalued how important my education was at the time in certain classes.

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stereoplegic profile image
Mike Bybee • Edited

Conversely, I overvalued mine. I've used maybe 2% of what I learned in my two degree programs (first IT/SysAdmin, second Software Dev), and have applied far more of what I learned as a barista, waiter, and retail/service industry manager to my career in tech. I'd like to have those several years and tens of $1000s in tuition back for self-teaching and FOSS project/portfolio building.

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bradtaniguchi profile image
Brad

"Buy a bunch of bitcoin"! haha

Besides that, I'd tell my younger self "to not worry about it, everything will be ok".

I'll probably say the same thing if my future self came to me right now. :)

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juanfrank77 profile image
Juan F Gonzalez

This is one of those posts that triggers me to go on a massive diatribe of all the things I found were wrong, several mistakes I made and all the ways that my younger self (or anyone in that situation) could use to avoid the pitfalls and save himself years on his journey.

But on one comment it wouldn't be worth the time. I'd rather pack it all up and turn it into something that can be more accessible to a wider range of people.

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Sattwik Sahu

I'd tell my past self to take a break from coding and not miss out on some of the happiest moments in life. Sure, you'll learn lots of things in the future but everything will come to you at the right time...

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stereoplegic profile image
Mike Bybee • Edited
  1. A degree isn't a silver bullet. You will always need to self teach.
  2. NEVER give out your references before the offer stage of the hiring process.
  3. If a recruiter can't be bothered to give you all of the critical details about a role via email (salary/rate range, location or remote, job description with at least approximate tech stack, end client name if working with a staffing agency), don't give them the satisfaction of a 20+ minute intro call in the middle of your work day. Don't reward gatekeeping.
    • Re: client name - if they worry about you applying directly, they should realize that they haven't made the case for you letting them do it for you.
  4. The impression a potential employer makes during the hiring process is likely the best you're going to see from them. If they have you jumping through pointless hoops already, move on.
  5. Pay vs. culture is a false dichotomy. How they value you is a reflection of their culture. Know your worth.
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andrewbaisden profile image
Andrew Baisden • Edited

I would tell my younger self that he should start learning programming ASAP to get ahead of everyone else. Then I would give him a path to follow and the languages and frameworks to learn as soon as they become available.

Then I would give him some winning lottery ticket numbers for the next 10 years and tell him to read and learn everything he can so that he will become Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos combined 😎

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mr13 profile image
Mr.13 • Edited

I would have tell my younger version:

  1. Don't run from life, It will happen sooner or later.
  2. Follow your dreams, don't quit them. (although I started following my dreams again but kinda wasted 3 years).
  3. Don't sell those 100 Bitcoins you have.
  4. Don't mess with your laptop hardware (it will cost you 2 peak years of your life)
  5. Love Yourself.
  6. Share your knowledge and create awareness, don't be stubborn.
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pika1998 profile image
Prafulla Raichurkar

I'd tell myself that it's ok to say "No", it's okay to take time and decide what you want, there is no rush or a race to knock every opportunity you can find and also take time to understand what I really want.

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mwlang profile image
Michael Lang
  1. Vet your would-be employers better. Learn about their team building, growth potential within the company, and funding/financial health especially if they're luring you with lower salary offers, but lots of stock options.
  2. Start a blog sooner. Learn to discuss ideas with other developers. Learn to present as you learn. In short, learn to communicate on all levels what you're doing, why you're doing, and how others can do it. The better you are at articulation, the better designs you choose. If you can't hide it, you gotta shine it.
  3. Ignore the tech wars. vi vs emacs is still waging. Choose your tools and keep evolving them to bring you the most personal joy and delight. Let others choose their tools in peace.
  4. Leave reactionary companies with regular death marches sooner! Join companies with proactive, considered growth models.
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titanhero profile image
Lex

Keep away from coding, study for be lawyer, keep away from the bad friends and the bad girls, don't be discourage, smile, keep trying, Never give up, have faith someday you will be happy.

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eliowar28 profile image
Eliomar Garzon

I don't get it, No coding ?

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titanhero profile image
Lex • Edited

Yeah, no coding, I like coding but some persons of this community, have been doing my life a hell, mostly opsec community 😉😁👍✌️, thech isn't place for a hippie.

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n8chz profile image
Lorraine Lee

The practice of law, I take it, is?

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titanhero profile image
Lex

Yeah law, lawyer 😉😁👍

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phantas0s profile image
Matthieu Cneude

I would tell to myself:

Don't worry. It will be fine. You'll enjoy the ride!

I need my future self to tell my present self exactly that sometimes, too.

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pentacular profile image
pentacular

Just remember, this too shall pass. :)

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olivierjm profile image
Olivier JM Maniraho

Same here

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pethron profile image
Nicolò Marchesi

I’d tell myself to study software engineering AND work. Realized this only during master degree and felt like I threw away 4 years of opportunities to understand better and faster the skills that i would need in the future.

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