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Take Advantage of What You Already Have

Published 3/30/2020

The difference between speed and acceleration is vast. When driving at a consistent speed, you often don't notice how quickly you're going, but when you accelerate, you feel it immediately.

In today's episode, we're talking about the feeling of falling behind when you stop accelerating or learning as quickly as a developer and start to steadily travel down your career. We'll talk about specific scenarios to help focus your growth using the strengths that you've already established when you feel like you're starting to stall out.

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🙏 Today's Episode is Brought To you by: ProdPerfect

Fix high-priority bugs earlier, faster, and cheaper by running, with every build, E2E tests built from ProdPerfect’s analysis of how your users use your application. To learn more, visit prodperfect.com/tea.

Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
Basically every developer I know at some point in their career has felt like they're behind. Like the knowledge they have is inadequate or the newer Developer That are joining their company are somehow better than them. They know more about a particular new technology. And this is true regardless of the seniority of the developer in question. We've talked about this problem before when we talked about imposter syndrome and specifically imposter syndrome as it relates to the idea of acceleration versus speed. What often happens to developers who are striking out to do something new, whether that's changing jobs or learning a new language, perhaps trying to seek a new role, maybe going from individual contributor to a management role, is that those developers ignore what they already have. We're going to dive in and talk a little bit more about what that means in today's episode. My name is Jonathan Cutrell listening to Developer Tea and my goal on this show is to help driven developers like you find clarity, perspective and purpose in their careers. A quick recap on the idea of speed versus acceleration. We can feel this difference when we sit in a car and we go from 0 to 60 in just a few seconds. We feel pinned back in the seat. But if we're on the highway and we've set cruise control to 80 miles an hour, we don't feel much of anything. We don't feel pinned in the seat and we don't feel our stomach's dropping. There's not really much change because there's no acceleration. Our relative change from one moment to the next is minimal. And this happens to senior developers all the time. Senior developers maintain a particular speed in their careers, often not needing to learn a drastic amount to be able to be productive as necessary in their roles. The younger Developer Tend to have much more acceleration. And you probably remember this from the early days as an engineer as your learning code for the first time you're going from 0 to 60. And the acceleration is a good feeling. It tells you that you're progressing. But once you stop accelerating, once you've met a particular threshold, and if you're like most people, you don't continue trying to kind of challenge yourself to the same degree, you're not going to learn at the same rate as you did previously. Yet you are actually productive, you're actually putting out work. Well, you're not going to feel the change. And today's episode is kind of building off of this idea that even though you may be traveling down that highway, the career highway, at 80 miles an hour, you may feel like you're not going anywhere. But you're not taking stock of your momentum. You're not taking advantage of what you already have. So when does this come into play? We'll talk about specific scenarios that you can think more about what you already have, whether that's knowledge or relationships or something else. Right after we talk about today's sponsor, Pride Perfect. Pride Perfect is the only automated testing solution that uses live application behavior traffic to automatically build and maintain browser level regression test suites. This removes the burden of end-to-end testing from developers for good and allows them to focus on much more important things like building your application. Pride Perfect learns the usage of your application and then Pride Perfect's technology develops, automates, and maintains your end-to-end regression test suites for you. This lets your team sleep better at night knowing that Pride Perfect is catching your high priority bugs before they hit production. You can spend your time, talent, and creativity on building a better product. So find out why Pride Perfect has been featured on Wall Street Journal, Fortune, TechCrunch, Business Insider, VentureBeat, and SD Times. And failure is not an option that pride perfect be your QA mission control. Check them out today at prideperfect.com slash T. It's prideperfect.com slash T-E-A. Thanks again to Pride Perfect for sponsoring today's episode of Developer Tea. If you had to sit down and list out all of your accomplishments, you're likely to miss a lot. Whether it's just because you've forgotten them or maybe you discount their importance, it's likely that your list is not going to match up with someone's list that is looking on from the outside. So this episode is kind of a coaching episode to remind you that your experiences are perhaps more valuable than you think they are. And you can take advantage of what you already have more effectively. For example, let's say that you are striking out to find a new job. Maybe you are a brand new programmer, you haven't worked in the industry yet, and you have no idea where to go first. But you know that networking is an important part of this job. And so you imagine that you are this kind of single node. If you're thinking about a graph structure that you're this single node and you have to go and try to build out your web, build out all of your connections. So on LinkedIn, you might go and try to add a bunch of people. Here's the reality. You already have a network. Now, who is in that network is different for every person. But you already have a network. That's the first thing to recognize. The second thing to recognize is that the way networking tends to happen is through your existing network, getting connected to second level connections. In other words, getting some kind of referred relationship. And so it makes much more sense to try to take advantage of your existing network that it does to try to build a new network. How can this apply in code? Well, you might think that reusing code requires you to abstract that code. But there are very simple ways to apply the same concept of reusing what you already have or taking advantage of what you already have. Even if that means copying and pasting old code, this is an effective strategy to transferring the value of previous work to new work. And we try not to be too prescriptive on this show about specific code management techniques. There are some heuristics that I recommend, for example, keeping things small and not trying to write code until you need it. And reusing what you already have is a good heuristic as well. And here's why. When you try to reuse what you already have, you can quickly start to define the shared concepts in your application. So if you can easily see that there is a new concept that is emerging that is similar to another concept, then it's possible that you're starting to identify a pattern that might be worth abstracting somewhere down the road. Now you shouldn't jump to abstraction too quickly. Copying and pasting code probably makes more sense in the short term. Reusing what you already have is a good pattern to be in, not just for those soft skills things like networking, but also in your code. Now here's the other side of this equation. As you begin to gain knowledge or as you begin to build your network further, as you continue to build on your existing experience, imagine a second way beyond your initial reasoning. Start to imagine how whatever it is that you're doing today could be exponentially valuable rather than linearly valuable or immediately valuable. What kind of value are you adding with this particular experience to the long term, not just the short term, but also the long term in your career? Thank you so much for listening to today's episode of Developer Tea. I think you begin to prod perfect for sponsoring today's episode when failure is not an option. Let prod perfect be your QA mission control. Click them out today at prodperfect.com slash TEA. I'd like to encourage you to subscribe and whatever pie-casting up you're currently using, but also you can use these episodes as a jumping off point for discussion with other developers. Staying connected to other developers beyond just sending the quick Slack message or asking them how they're doing and then quickly moving on, especially at the time that this episode is released, a lot of people are isolating themselves or practicing social distancing. I encourage you, if you haven't already done this, to use the topics that you find on this pie-cast and on other pie-casts as well is a jumping off point for discussion. Thank you so much for listening to today's episode. Today's episode was produced by Sarah Jackson. My name is Jonathan Cutrell and until next time, enjoy your tea.