As a software developer, I know firsthand the allure of diving deep into the technicalities of creating complex applications. But it’s important not to get lost in the code. Some of the best career advice I can give other developers is that they should learn to look beyond the code they’re writing.
Getting Lost in Code
I still remember my early days of programming, when I was so excited to learn about all the latest tools and techniques. I spent hours studying code and trying out new frameworks. That was an incredibly valuable learning experience for me.
However, as I gained more experience and my projects became more complex, like creating big .NET backends and sophisticated React front-ends, I found that getting caught up in the technical details wasn’t always helpful.
It wasn’t that technical details weren’t interesting. They were! Maybe too interesting.
But getting getting caught up in technical details meant I didn’t always keep the end goal in sight. I would get lost in the code and lose track of what I was trying to accomplish.
Remember Your Users
This same dynamic can play out in development teams, whether at startups or larger companies. Developers often get caught up in debates about the minute differences between frameworks or the latest and greatest tools, rather than focusing on the needs of their users.
It’s important we ensure our work is technically sound, but it’s also crucial to remember we’re creating products and services for real people.
Coding for its own sake can get boring after a while. The real joy comes from making things that other people use and love. That’s why it’s so important for developers to keep their eye on the prize and think about the bigger picture.
Solving problems in a performant, scalable, and maintainable way is still important, but it’s also crucial to consider the needs of our users and how our work fits into the overall goals of our team, our company, and our users.
Why I Like DevRel
Focusing on awesome user outcomes and not just code is why I’ve gravitated toward DevRel and DevEx engineering over the past few years. In these roles, I still get to write as much code as I want to, and I still get to work on product features.
But I also spend a lot of time connecting with the developers who use the product. It’s incredibly rewarding to see how my work helps to create tools that developers love, and then helps the developer community discover and learn how to use those tools.