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DCR Step 8: Do Your Job Better Than Anyone Else

Published 11/14/2016

In today's episode, we cover the next step in the Developer Career Roadmap.

Today's episode is sponsored by Dolby. One of the most important things you can do for your application is ensure that the quality of your audio is strong. Check out how Dolby can help you at spec.fm/dolby.

Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
Hey everyone and welcome to Developer Tea. My name is Jonathan Cutrell and in today's episode we are doing the second to last step in the developer career roadmap. If you haven't been following along with Developer Tea, since the beginning of the developer career roadmap, I recommend you go and check out those episodes that happened before today's episode. But for today's episode we're going to be talking about step eight and that is quite simply do your job better than anyone else could. Do your job better than anyone else could. We have two different basic categories that we're going to talk about in terms of how can you do your job better than anyone else could. We're going to talk about those in just a minute. Just a quick update next week we're going to take a couple of episodes off and this is for the Thanksgiving holiday which I observe here in the United States. I recommend that you take that time and go and listen to other podcasts on the spec out of them network or go back and catch up with Developer Teain previous episodes. We might repost some of the kind of the fan favorites from the past couple of years and I recommend that you go and check those out but just know that those that's why there's not going to be three full episodes next week. We will be getting back on schedule after that and then we will probably take a short break for the Christmas holiday as well. Of course coming up in the beginning of January this year we will be hitting the two-year mark so we're really excited to get into year number three with the Developer Teaaudience. It's really incredible that you guys have been around for that long and that we've had the opportunity to make this podcast a reality for going on. The getting ready to start the third year going on two years now so thank you so much for sticking around and for listening on a weekly basis to this podcast. We have a huge milestone that we're coming up on this week. You can look out for an episode about that milestone on Friday. Of course this week we will also be ending the developer career roadmap. That's the end of these specific track of episodes but it's certainly not the end of us discussing the developer career roadmap. The whole reason we created the developer career roadmap was to build a simple pathway for developers so they can plot their career path. Of course not everyone is going to follow this exact career path and you're not going to do every single step the same way as another developer may but these steps are steps that thousands of developers have taken before you and they've been successful in getting into this industry so we wanted to create a simple way to view a simple lens for you to view the potential options for you and give you some actionable advice to walk through your career. And this is something that can go on from the very beginning of your career before you even become a developer before you have any skills at all all the way through the advanced stages of your career. So in the future we will be referring back to the developer career roadmap as a framework for answering some of the questions we receive. Of course some questions can't be answered by this framework. People have extenuating circumstances or a strange situation that doesn't really get addressed inside of this nine step framework that we've portrayed on the show but the hope is to bring you back to this kind of focused track and you can look at your career and hopefully eliminate some of the questions some of the ambiguity as you look towards the future in your career. So with all of that said I'm very excited to give you step eight do your job better than anyone else could. Now you have to understand before we jump into these two separate areas that you can focus on for doing your job better than anyone else could you have to understand that we're talking about your job. We're not talking about the general title right we aren't saying be the best front-end developer in the world. We're saying do your job with the people that you work with at the company that you work in in your personal situation do your job better than anyone else could. This is about excellence mixed with context. Let me say that again if I can sum up today's episode do your job better than anyone else could that's about excellence mixed with context. The first area that you need to focus on to do your job better than anyone else could is becoming extremely valuable and irreplaceable becoming extremely valuable and irreplaceable we're actually going to attack these kind of in reverse order we're going to talk about what it means to be valuable. Number one you need to determine key objectives at all levels of your career. This means your personal your departmental and your organizational these are short term their medium term their long term different types of key objectives that you can focus on for example you may have a key objective for today for your personal self or you may be able to view the long view for your company and everything in between it's so important to think about these key objectives because this is how you can stay focused and a key objective is quite simply the way you can prove that you are delivering value not in the same way that you would prove in a courtroom but rather prove to yourself prove to your own experimentation to your own efforts prove that they are actually effective. Of course these are objectives that you and your organization determine not objectives that somebody outside of your organization or someone else determines for you you need to develop a consistent march this is number two develop a consistent march towards these various objectives pay attention to the wording there a consistent march this isn't a momentary sprint and then a subsequent crawl this is a march that means that there is a rhythm there is a predictability and the pace doesn't change this is so important develop a consistent march towards your various objectives some objectives will be longer term as we said before others will be very short term the value you add to your team will be driven by your judgment of what to do every single moment what is the most important most valuable action you can take to march towards those objectives today and let me give you the opposite of what this looks like the opposite of what this looks like is going into work without a plan going into your job and only working on things that other people are giving you in other words only doing reactive work never actually chasing after an objective this is called busy work you don't want to end up doing busy work because it's very difficult to deliver consistent value and grow at the same time the hope is that the value you deliver will continue to increase in other words the rate of value delivery will continue to increase because as you grow in your career your value generation should also grow creating value in your career from the individual level all the way up to the organizational level is about understanding both your responsibilities and your abilities are you able to eliminate costs for your company could you resolve a personal conflict act as a mediator can you do some intentional studying regarding leadership or technology or perhaps management or maybe even business simultaneously can you do these things without ignoring your responsibilities your day-to-day responsibilities you need to be bold in your desire to go beyond simply coding what you are handed to code and instead understand the bigger picture of how that code fits into the problems you are solving and how the problems you solve fit into your clients into your company's sustainability over time if you want an anchor word to take away that word would be integration focus on integrating your skills your knowledge your talents your perspective and your personality and continue to grow in each of these areas throughout your career if you find yourself singularly focusing on only one area remember to constantly evaluate your efforts through the lens of the bigger picture remember once again this is about excellence and context excellence and context now we said this first part was about becoming extremely valuable and irreplaceable we've talked about valuable now let's talk about irreplaceable to become irreplaceable you need to focus on becoming a source of information rather than an exclusive vault those who become a source of information are going to go much further than those who hide away information like a vault is a common misconception and it can be a poisonous problem in an organization that it's somehow a good idea a good move to maintain control over your skills and over your knowledge and your experience and not give people access to the knowledge you have this is a behavior that is most often driven out of fear if you get down to the core of it and that fear is of being replaced and is grounded in the idea that your job security and value is based on your intellectual superiority to other workers let me say that one more time a lot of people start out at the beginning of their careers they have the sense of imposter syndrome the sense that they don't know enough on the opposite end of the spectrum once somebody has gained the knowledge that they feel they need to be secure and they in their job they paradoxically assume that holding on to that knowledge is what gives them the edge having that exclusive access to that knowledge will give them the edge over incoming co-workers for example people who are junior to them in a company that those people are somehow going to overtake their job in fact your job security and your value is much more often driven by your ability to empower others to do the best that they can do let me say that again your value to a company is greatly increased if you focus instead on empowering others by giving them knowledge the more open you can be with your knowledge the more powerful it becomes and furthermore the more knowledge you share the more you become known as a source of information those who try to hoard knowledge end up being seen as closed off and unhelpful and often are bypassed for someone who will be more helpful and open we're going to take a quick sponsor break and then we're going to come back and talk about the second area that you can do your job better than anyone else could but first let's talk about Dolby I'm sure you guys didn't expect Dolby to be a sponsor of Developer Teabut in fact Dolby is helping deliver superior user experience with a Dolby audio platform today's users want better audio fact 90% of digital device users rank sound quality as important across the digital entertainment ecosystem now you may think that better audio means better audio assets and while that's partially true perhaps the more important thing is the codec that you use to encode your audio because even the best audio assets don't sound very good if they don't use a proper audio codec to encode them asset encoding is easily accomplished with the tools you already use such as a Dolby audition or you can use Dolby's free online encoding utility now the new iPhone 7 series and the latest iPad Pro series from Apple support the playback of Dolby digital plus audio in video and audio only assets this is a huge step forward in audio it's not just your simple stereo audio that you're hearing anymore go and check out the awesome stuff that Dolby has to offer at spec.fm slash Dolby you can learn how to leverage Dolby audio in your iOS and your HTML 5 projects thanks again to Dolby for sponsoring today's episode of Developer Teaso we're talking about doing your job better than anyone else could the first discussion was around becoming extremely valuable and irreplaceable and these are two incredibly important things and you can do that without learning any new skills that's really interesting to know that you can be valuable and irreplaceable without learning any new skills but it's going to be a little bit more difficult right so it's incredibly important the second area of of focus is to develop your expertise so what does it mean to develop your expertise well there are quite a few other episodes in the developer career roadmap where we talk about practice having the practice cycle that's constantly ongoing for the rest of your career that learning cycle developing your expertise means practicing deliberately you don't just repeat you need to challenge yourself challenge yourself with new ways of thinking new ways of doing things new solutions to the same problems or new solutions to new problems this will continue to not only directly create value by meeting objectives but it will also create opportunity for otherwise previously inaccessible value did you catch that if you practice if you learn new skills not only are you going to be able to accomplish the objectives that you already had previously but your new skills could open up brand new opportunities that you didn't have access to before for example if you learn how to develop iOS applications and you're normally a web developer well now you have a brand new market that you've just opened up to your opportunity pool and this creates value by creating new opportunity this is a brand new way of thinking about adding value to your company when you learn new things you open up new opportunities connect these new skills to the objectives in your company and in your life now let me be very clear the skill development is not just about learning new technologies this is about developing your interpersonal skills this is about developing management skills and perhaps about developing skills that have nothing to do with development you know we talked about cross training and previous step of the developer career path step number five we talked about cross training developing these skills it's not just about becoming a more well-rounded developer it's about becoming a more well-rounded professional a more well-rounded worker never be comfortable with what you know today even if you are doing the same thing from one day to the next for a while practice how accurately you can perform that task or maybe write about that task find a new way of looking at it or find a way to automate it there's always something new and valuable to learn and do no matter how mundane or repetitive the task at hand becomes always 100% of the time maintain the mindset of constant growth in every situation now you may be listening to this episode and you're thinking well that doesn't sound easy at all I thought you said you're going to make this simple and the truth is it is simple doing these things is not particularly complicated but it takes a lot of commitment it takes a lot of fortitude and quite honestly it takes a lot of time you may be bored for a long period of your career or you may be frustrated with your lack of knowledge in a particular area for a long period in your career you may not see a raise or you may not see the type of projects that you want to work on for a significant period of your career but the reality is you always have something to learn you always have the opportunity to grow and that's the most important thing that you can take away from today's episode excellence and context they give you the opportunity to grow never adopt the mindset that you have finished that you've arrived at the top of the pyramid instead always build the pyramid from the bottom up always be thinking about growth thank you so much for listening to today's episode of Developer TeaI hope that you are challenged by today's episode I hope that you're excited about your careers I hope you've enjoyed the developer career roadmap as we walk through all of these steps that are indeed simple but they require so much hard work thank you so much for sticking with it and for continuing to listen to the show I appreciate each and every lesson that I get on this show so thank you so much for downloading this podcast for sharing it with others I hope it delivers as much value to you as you deliver to me thank you again to Dolby for sponsoring today's episode go and check out all of the awesome and innovative things you can do with audio by going to spec.fm slash Dolby that's spec.fm slash d-o-l-b-y thanks for listening and until next time enjoy your tea