“Advance Your Career In One Simple Step”
The third chapter of our book is titled “Advance Your Career In One Simple Step”, which sounds super appealing, right? Who doesn’t want something simple to improve their career!
Right out of the gate, the author begins to appeal to what seems like countless tedious lists of things that if you do will supposedly advance your career. Instead of having to pay attention to a lot of things to do, the author tries to turn focus to a couple of things NOT to do, to advance your career in one step.
The author presents us with paragraphs about why each of the three suggestions are unhelpful, encouraging geeks to instead turn to a simple step. So what are the three “unhelpful” suggestions?
- Follow your passion
- Develop your skills
- Grow your network
The author believes that the key to advancing your career is focussing on others. I do agree that focussing on others is a great way to advance your career, and is a good thing to do anyway. However, where I disagree is that focussing on others makes following your passion, developing your skills, and growing your network not necessary anymore.
So I would like to dig into each of the three items a little bit and go through the authors arguments with a rebuttal for each.
Follow Your Passion:
The first of the three “unhelpful suggestions” is to follow your passion. The main argument that the author has in this paragraph is that programmers can’t look into the future and “see where they’ll be ten years down the road” because the field of technology moves so fast. He continues to say that programmers are usually passionless people that fully devote themselves to the lives of a logical person.
I do not agree with the definition of passion that the author puts forth. According to Dictionary.com, passion means: “a strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for anything…” based on that definition and my personal experience as a programmer, I would even go as far as to argue that programmers particularly are some of the most passionate people in the world. We are passionate about logic, rules, truth, consciousness, and so on and so forth.
Passion drives people to do great things, which includes programmers. Could you imagine Steve Jobs if he didn’t have passion? Could you imagine Mark Zuckerberg if he didn’t have passion? Both of which could be considered “geeks”, and Mr. Zuckerberg could even be considered to be a programmer.
People understand that passion generates the most amazing results that we see today in the world, which includes those from programmers. Below you can find a passion pyramid that I found to be quite practical and interesting:
Develop Your Skills:
The authors argument for developing your skills not being useful for a programmer to help improve your career is that improving our skills is all us programmers would want to do, and that just having good coding skillz won’t get us a job.
What our author says here is true, well, partially. Where I believe that he is incorrect is that having awesome programmer skills won’t get you a job. In our modern world, it actually will. People expect programmers to be geeks, and so the main thing that employers look at are skills as long as you don’t scream at people. There are very complicated “Facebook Coding Challenges” to look for future employee’s, very few people who have successfully completed a Facebook Coding Challenge have not been given a job at Facebook, even teenagers. So while I do agree that it shouldn’t necessarily be your main focus and that you need other things besides skills, which will segway us into our next topic. Networking.
Grow Your Network:
The author argues that networking is important, but it isn’t natural for programmers to get into social contexts. He really didn’t give that much of an argument to why this isn’t a good suggestion for programmers, except that it might not be normal for us. While this is totally true, a lot of technology has been developed to make it easier for us, and it really improves the probability of getting a job in a company if you have mutual connections or first degree connections to someone in that company. Basically, LinkedIn.
While some of the arguments that the author gives are true, they are extremely over-exaggerated and some are just completely false, such as programmers not being passionate. The authors suggestion is to dump the “unhelpful suggestions” in favor of focussing on others to grow your career. My stance is that the three “unhelpful suggestions” are some of the best suggestions there are for programmers. Find your passion and follow it. To increase what you are able to do in the field of your passion, develop your skills. And growing your network can never be a bad thing to help others and maybe even help yourself a little the next time you’re looking for a job.