Time flies. Recently I had completed one year as a full-time employee at my current employer Squad. A year has passed, and I decided it was time to revisit instances, memories, and experiences and to recollect what I had learned as a professional in this past year.
It was also a wake-up call to reassess and redirect the ship named professional career to make sure it doesn’t get stuck in a whirlpool.
After all, our career is our responsibility and we all should make efforts to “Own our story!”.
This is going to be a list of 6 important lessons in professionalism and work ethic that I learned working as a Product Engineer at one of the most innovative startups in India.
1. Know your field
Do you know what a facade pattern is? Do you know what sprint and story points are? Do you know how to work your way with the debugger your IDE provides?
A wealth of ideas, disciplines, techniques, tools, and terminologies have decorated the last fifty years of our field. And if we want to be a professional we want to know a sizeable chunk of it.
The motto that I believe in is, “If you want to see far, stand on the shoulder of the giants”.
2. Continuous Learning
The frenetic range with which the industry is changing, it means that we as engineers also need to learn colossal amount just to keep up.
Read books, read articles, watch talks. Keep adding deltas to your learning daily.
This stuck me around 2 months back. Tennis is my favorite sport, and players believe that playing in the tournaments continuously actually makes their game less polished.
It’s the deliberate practice of doing things right, which makes it gleamy again.
Is it true about our jobs also? Cutting corners to meet deadlines, working on the outdated stack at the company, working with legacy code, can all this make us less sharp.
At least I find it to be true, and practice to deliberately improve your craft is a vital component of one’s work ethic.
4. Know your domain
It is the duty of every software developer to understand the domain of the solutions that they are programming. If you are writing software for healthcare, get at least a basic understanding of healthcare, if you are writing for sales, know about sales.
Read a book or two on the domain, ask the domain experts.
We should be able to know enough about the domain to question the product direction and feature requests that we get.
5. Collaboration and mentoring
We all must make special efforts to collaborate, mentor and get mentored by other developers.
Whatever I have learned in this course of one year, a major portion of it due to learning from others.
Programming is an act of creation. It feels like magic when we can write code that can do things that can produce tremendous value.
We all should take pride in our work, but never be arrogant about it. We should be confident in our abilities and take risks.
But we must know that we will fail. Things that we create will break, risks will be proven wrong and we will be called upon for these mistakes.
And when all this will happen, all we can do is be humble and take Howard’s advice, laugh and move on.
That’s all, folks!