1. Keep on learning
I assume that you would not even read this blog without having some elementary education and you would not want to know how to become successful developer without higher education. So while you are right now developer why to stop learning?
There is no way to do that. One important thing here: Staying in one place doesn’t mean you are staying there – it means you are moving backward. Walking forward doesn’t mean you are moving forward – it means at least that you are not lost with the losers in the end. To keep going forward you need to learn continuously – not walk, but rather RUN!
Here is my short list:
• Read books
• Subscribe to RSS Feeds and read magazines
• Try out different features you hear about
• Go to seminars and do your own presentations
• Learn everything that can help you move
• Teach others since this teaches you
2. Establish what your goal is and keep the right way
Ok, it could be hard to run without knowing where to run. The key point here is that you need clearly imagine your goal. This goal should be long term target, and after you have a vision of your goal, go ahead and breakdown it into smaller tasks – build your roadmap. You may create list of tasks you MUST accomplish per month or per year. Then just follow it.
3. Every challenge is an opportunity
In everyday work you always encounter different troubles. You get issues and bug reports from your QA. You get new tasks from your Project Manager. Your co-worker is asking for help. You need help. These all are challenges. And the real question is: how do you meet them? I have an answer: you need to take them all with passion, because every challenge is an opportunity. You would say “Hey, but this way I will never get off stupid nasty work.” You are 100% not right here. Remember, your bosses will be glad to give you more complicated work once they see you do the best to get your current job done.
4. Be positively charged
You should look at everything in very positive manner. If it is found that you did mistake, just take it easy – everyone does them. Do you like people who start to whine once they have troubles? How do you think you will be looking in others eyes if you say “Ok, guys, I did it – I will solve this, give me a minute.” and turn around and start fixing your mistake with smile on face. After you solve the problem you will be so happy and proud of yourself.
Now your way is good and you are moving fast forward. Don’t ever, ever think that you will not be able to reach your goal.
5. Find a mentor
This does not mean that you need a person who will help you in doing your job – it is a coach or more senior stuff than you are. This means that you need a person who is where you want to be and you need to take a leaf from his/her book. And if suddenly you discover that he is not high enough – you will need to find another. But most of the time you need to have such person. Also have people, friends if you will, who will help you keeping on track. It could be your wife or girlfriend (in my case :) [2011: now wife]), or best friend who always supports you (in my case he is developer, but this doesn’t matter).
6. Be more public
If you will not show others that you are cool and you deserve more, how will they know? There is simple way to do that – start blogging, ask and answer questions, ensure google knows something about you. Share your knowledge in your team and project. If you learned something new, why do not share it. You will forget things if they are not tried and shared.
7. Track your activities; be sure that you are on track
Time to time you need to check if you are doing everything in proper way and in align with your main goal. Verify if you are accomplishing stated goals. If no, quickly find reasons and address them. Find your weak areas and work on them. This sounds funny, but I know a very good developer with strong knowledge, but his coding/typing speed is ridiculously slow. Why? Because he has a bad keyboard and doesn’t want to spend 10-20 hours with keyboard trainer. Isn’t it stupid? Man, if you read this, please promise yourself that you will overcome yourself.
8. Do your gym :)
I did a bit of “brainstorming” when writing this article. And “Do your gym” has fallen there. I’m quite young man and spend too much time with my laptop and with another computer at work and I cannot coerce myself doing gym. But this is just like sharping the blade. There is story about two woodcutters who made a bet based on count of cut trees. One was Strong man and another was Thin. The Strong one was sure that he will win since he was cutting trees like hell 8 hours without single break and since Thin has rest each hour for 15 minutes. But Thin won the battle – he cut 150 per contra 100 of the Strong man. His secret was that he was sharping the blade in breaks. Your health is your axe and if you will keep it blunt you will not be able to cut down your way in your career.
So, let any of your axes be #.