Little advice for every programmer starting his career

(in case you’re not a developer but other specialist – I think you could use most of the points as well)

Create your online brand

For everyone in the world use linkedIn, if there’s local platform for that (like goldenline.pl in Poland) – use it also in parallel.

It also saves you some time – I don’t make my own CV anymore. I send linkedIn link. If someone requires a PDF file I download it from linkedIn as well.

Write!

The worse you were at writing essays in school – the more you should write now. Writing is like talking, walking, skating and everything else: you learn by doing. First it sloppy, then it gets better.

You’ll be perceived as more versatile if you’re good at writing.

(you don’t need to publish everything, but if you do – you’ll be more committed)

Read smart people

I allways recommend Seth Godin. But don’t stop on the internet – my experience is that there are so many stuff, that you stick with what you know and don’t discover new things that often. I always have weekly magazine or some book in my pocket or backpack. Last week in a train I read about Jon Morrow; this guy is really impressive.

Maintain your online brand

Connect with people you work with. Connect with people you learn from. If you work with someone extraordinary – share that. Endorse that person, recommend – you have the tools to be generous.

Most people I find remarkable always says how special others are.

Keep your promisses

When you commit to something – finish it. When keeping the promise get’s much harder than you estimated, you have two options (aside from giving up)

  • When it’s your fault – suck it up and finish it. Let your peer know you screwed something if it’ll take more time. Don’t hide. When you’re freelancer it could mean you’ll loose profit. But you have something more important to lose – your face.
  • When it’s not your fault – try to renegotiate the scope or the budget. Explain. Don’t hide.
    (The worst thing that could happen is they will say no, in such case see former point. But I would reconsider starting another project with such partners)

Also you need to learn how to say no. Also when you’r friends’ friends need something – it’s hard to say no to “just simple fix, shouldn’t take more than 1 hour”. But think about this in this way: when you take such promise, you’ll need to put aside projects that someone pays you for. It’s not fair to people who actually want to pay for your work.

I do free stuff for friends with pleasure. But I only take them if I have free time to do this (i.e. one project finished and I’m in the middle of talks about other). Or I use such trick: I tell them that I’m committed to something else and if and only when some free space appears I’ll look at their stuff. I say “I promise you nothing, It may be done next week, next month or never – take it or leave it”

To be continued (I guess) …

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