The Blog

Don’t be a coder for your entire life

06 Apr 2016

Good Morning, Afternoon Or Evening depending on which part of earth  you’re located. So, just to give you a brief, I am a PHP / WordPress Developer from the financial capital of India, Mumbai. I have been coding from my college days and you can find more about what I do here. I have seen my friends ending up with software developer positions in big MNCs and just hoping from one company to the other. That’s what you do when you become an engineer or an IT guy / gal like me. But, all we need to do is ask ourselves one question : Are we going to code our entire life ? Like keep coding till we retire ?

A simple answer  is “NO”.

If you keep on coding , you are not having a life. All you should do is code for a max of 5 years. By this, I don’t mean that you will stop it completely.  After 5 yrs, all you should do is explore the market trends, become a consultant / manager where you will start helping your juniors / subordinates.

So, let’s see how we do this in 5 yrs

Year 1 . Bootstrap yourself

So, if you’re working in IT, you know there is just a pool of technologies to work on. And with all these new devices and technologies coming up, few more technologies are on the way. The first and the foremost thing you need to understand is that you are not going to do all of this. Seriously !! I have seen people just having all the certifications and no ability to write a single piece of code in real life. If you are going to do this. Guys, stop doing it. Focus.

That’s the only thing you need. In the first yr, just don’t get a job . Its fine. Do this. Dedicate 2 months on 1 technology / the work area you want to pursue your whole life. If you dedicate 2 months for initial 6 months, you can easily explore 3 new technologies. Just do it. And if you are smart enough to go through a technology in 1 month, better for you . You gotta explore 6 new technologies. Now, that you have spent your 6 months on deciding your destiny, you are much more clear that what are you capable of. If you are not able to do something , its perfectly “OKAY”. No one needs to master everything. We all are meant to do certain specific things in our life and we all have a reason to be here. We all are here to address few things. If everyone was able to do everything, then we all won’t need each other and this entire economy won’t work.

Now, that you have decided the technology that you want to work on, start learning more about it. Internet is a very big pool of knowledge. Just dive into it. Find a course on Udemy, Lynda, Treehouse. There are some courses that you can get for free. Some paid. And yeah all the paid courses come for a very small fee. Like maximum of $100. Now, that you have just burnt few thousand $$$$ on your fucking college expenses which gave you nothing but a shitty certificate which doesn’t lend you a job, then guys just go ahead and spend that fucking few dollars on these courses. They are worth it.

Learn online for 3 months. And in the next 3 months, come up with few amazing projects that you can showcase in an interview. Make sure that it is good. Don’t make it look too professional or too much of an intern kind. In either of the case, the interviewer will think that either you have just copied this project or they will think that you just lack knowledge. So, something that is good with few glitches. This will always help you.

So, here we have just finished our first year of bootstrapping.

Year 2 & 3 – Master the skills that you have learnt 

This is the time you cash in all your knowledge. I am pretty sure that after you have just bootstrapped yourself and now that you know what you are doing, there is 80% chances that you will get the job & the pay  that you want. What can be more rewarding than doing what you love and for the kind of money you want. 1 Yr of hard work can bring you here. The rest 20% is luck , destiny. People will say you that you can get what you want and blah blah. But at the end of the day, you gotta believe in luck & destiny.

Now, that you have the job that you love. All you need to do is become a master in what you are doing. Do the following :

  1. Keep working on projects
  2. Give yourself exposure to new things
  3. Listen to your seniors. Because one day you are also going to mentor / guide someone
  4. Keep exploring the new things that are coming up in your own technology
  5. Help others. Because when you help others, you get to learn

During these 2 yrs, make sure that you do not switch often. Switching your jobs really hurts your entire credibility. Companies want employees whom they can trust. The less you switch , more are the chances of you getting a senior position in the company. But,don’t be under an impression that staying helps. If there is a hell lots of politics /favouritism going, switch in a yr / yr and half.

Throughout this duration,try to master your skills and by the end of second year, just explore what is next. Like, if you are a PHP developer, you can start exploring your options for code igniter, cake PHP. Likewise, you will the better judge of your own technology. Ask people about it, but don’t trust them. You don’t know if they have the proper knowledge. Again, if anyone guides you about something, Internet is your verification tool.

Year 4 & 5 – Acquire a senior position and aim towards “EXIT CODING”

Now this is the most important phase of your career. All you should do here is try to apply for a senior position in your own company first. Talk to your bosses who are decision makers. Don’t go through the HR route. In these 2 yrs, if you are working in the same company, you must know your boss very well. If you get rejected for a senior position, there are 2 things to do. #1 . Find a new job . #2. Prove yourself or solve a complex issue that your senior is not capable of doing. Success is the best revenge. If the second option is not working, we always have the first option to go ahead with. Just start applying for a senior position. If  you are applying through a placement agency, clarify your requirements. As an employee, you must also be aware of what you want. Its always better to clarify things rather than making absurd situations with your new employer. If you are on a job search site, search for a position and read the requirements clearly. Apply for the position and also try to make a small one page website like I have did for myself.

With all the 3 yrs of experience you have, you can easily get a senior position. Now, we need to make sure that we are not completely stopping the coding exercise here. We still have to code for 2 -3 yrs. But, the amount of code we used to write in initial 3 yrs must fall down and you should be more responsible for things like project planning, client co-ordination, managing your team, etc. Towards the end of 5th yr, all we need to do is think of how we are going to exit the coding thing. And almost 80% of our time and energy shall be utilised in managing and 20% in solving / coding complex issues.

At the end of 5th yr, we are again at the point which we have come to during the end of 3rd Yr. All, we need to do is talk to our boss and acquire a higher position or find a new job.

Now, the first thing that will come to your mind is “WHAT WILL I DO AFTER EXITING CODING”

There are tons of things to do. You can become a consultant. Conduct corporate training sessions. Learn new things and get your juniors involved.

Basically after the end of your 5th Yr, you must be celebrating and living a leisure life. Not just code code & code. If you are a freelancer, you must have a junior by this time or find another freelancer whom you can outsource your jobs to.

So, happy coding & a happy life ahead