This week, I published Anand Safi's #DevJourney story on my eponym Podcast: Software developer's Journey. Among many other things, here are my main personal takeaways:
- Anand decided early in his life that he wanted to go toward Maths and logic, so he chose an engineering curriculum. During his first year, he found that "information technology" (instead of computer science) was the best match for his interests. When he made that choice, he had a very narrow view of the whole industry; he didn't realize how many career paths there were. One can, after all, become something else than "just a developer." But the curriculum he followed didn't teach much of the "other" skills one needs to become a well-rounded software engineer.
- At the end of his studies, Anand felt he wanted to see the bigger picture. That's why he decided to enroll in a Masters's degree in the USA. He got more pieces of the puzzle but looked for more. So following his master's degree, Anand started working for eBay as a QA Engineer and got to observe the software engineering world from the "poking holes at it perspective."
- When Anand became a software engineer, he kept this analytical mindset of breaking things first. Always trying to find the flow, break down tests, find the happy path and the things that can trip the users, the edge cases, etc.
- Anand described the purpose of an internship as getting someone a taste of what our industry has to offer. I like to see it framed this way. Way too often, interns are seen as cheap labor to feed the mechanical Turk. Anand's first internship was precisely like that. There was a lot of shadowing other employees and presentations from him to explain his learnings. When Anand onboards people nowadays, the first question he asks himself is: "did I set up this person for success? did I have the meaningful conversations to put them on the best track in their new role?"
- The first step toward engineering management is to show some leadership. Everyone can do that. Anand started owning the whole development process, making it easy for his managers to lead him. But Anand reminds us that engineering management is not a promotion; it is a different career path, a new role, and a bag of responsibilities. With it came a whole new definition of "success," which has to do with making others rock!
- There are a few topics that Anand tries to bring across in his mentorship, among which: "Listening and asking the right questions" or "Not spreading yourself too thin."
- "To find a mentor, leverage your networks and find someone who is in the role you want to have in a few years"
- "The way teams work is by using the collective strengths"
- "Management and leadership start at any level of your journey"
- "There is more than coding to software engineering"
- "Mentoring is about developing the mindset and how to approach any given situation"
Thanks, Anand, for sharing your story with us!
Did you listen to his story?
- What did you learn?
- What are your takeaways?
- What did you find particularly interesting?