Say Goodbye to the Old School Corporate Software Developer
The days of coding in a corner for six months and suddenly emerging with a product where business expectations were not met are over. No longer should the coding consortium milk corporate for time and monies without clear direction and proper planning. We must produce or be left behind to do things such as support, be re-purposed for some administrative task, or worse, be fired.
Developers, like businesses, must continually remake themselves. We are, after all, “agents of change” for the betterment of business processes. We are expected to stay ahead of the technology curve. Business process improvement depends on us formulating and providing answers to complex corporate issues, so it should be no surprise when developers who adhere to these principles command a higher salary and are always in demand.
How does one go about this task of staying current when work is all-consuming? Below are some suggestions:
Subscribe to the “technology brats” of our time. Read their blogs, books, and frequent their websites.
Keep up with the tools of our trade. Do not allow yourself to get comfortable. Sometimes you’ll miss, but you will always be learning.
Do not confine your talents to one genera. Focusing on a specific talent will leave you vulnerable. Keep up with as many phases of development as you can. The more you know...
Learn from your peers. Cross-training should already be an intricate part of your daily operations, so the business is never left holding the bag when a key developer decides to exit stage left.
The above items need to become part of your daily rituals. You must change the very way you approach your career and job. It isn’t just about coding anymore, but about understanding the business and providing clear concise solutions in a reasonable time frame using technologies that suit the need.
Once you start your new path to success, do not become overzealous. Implementing technologies which you are not comfortable will have the reverse effect. I’ve seen it all too often. Developers get a new toy and want to try it out at the business’s expense. It “looks good on the resume“, but is not practical for their current software endeavor. Don’t worry, you’ll get to use it soon enough.
Focus your efforts on learning the business. For example: Attempting to code a quotation application without understanding product, pricing structure, discount model and order of operations would be at best a disaster.
Make it your goal to know as much about the business as you can, so you can talk intelligently with users and stakeholders. Communication is key to success.
Only the hungry will adhere to the above practices, and make no mistake, they will set you apart from the average “pocket protector”. Let those people sit in the corner and do classic ASP the rest of their careers. You’re moving on and moving up.