3 Major Mistakes That Kill Your Dev Career (And Don’t Take Long To Fix)
There are only 3 major mistakes that prevent developers from making it to the next level, whether it is Senior or beyond.
And to be honest with you, they don’t take long to fix. These are the exact things we help our mentees put in place:
Mistake #1: No clarity on their technical level
Look… trying to “get better” without properly understanding where you are at first is like starting a journey without a map. You‘ll probably end up lost far away from your destination.
Too many developers go out there and buy a bunch of courses just to drop them a few days after when they realize those were not the things they needed to get better. And then they either give up, frustrated or worse, start the whole loop again.
Most developers are solving a problem that doesn’t exist!
Sure, you can learn from everything, but when you have a job and a family, you want the little time you have to pay off greatly. And you do so not by learning some things but by finding the exact things you are lacking and focusing on those.
This is why when you start working with us, the first thing we do is to find out your exact technical level. Once you find that out is just a matter of taking action.
Mistake #2: Focus on frameworks instead of principles
Not a developer’s fault but the industry’s fault.
Ever since web development started to grow in popularity, so did the community’s obsession with shiny objects. New frameworks coming out of nowhere promising to solve all your problems (sometimes by creating even more problems).
While frameworks came in quite handy (and are here to stay), they usually abstract many details and blind you from the details of building great software. As a result, whether is a technical interview or an edge case where they can’t use any of the libraries they are used to, most developer freeze.
That’s when they realize a cold truth.
They became a framework developer, not a software developer!
This is one of the first problems we fix with our mentees, and we do that not by making them read long (and boring) books about Design Patterns or by reverse engineering the libraries they work with (I know it sounds like fun, but life’s too short).
We simply put in place mental models that go beyond the specific framework they are being used in. Things like state management, clean code, and a deeper understanding of the Web (browser included) will take you extremely far.
To keep it short, if you want to fast-track to the Senior level and beyond, shift your focus to principles and mental models instead of libraries and frameworks.
Mistake #3: Priotizing quantity instead of quality
Every now and then, I get the question, Dragos, but what are the “extra” things that I need to focus on to get to the next level?
My answer usually is NONE.
If you take a close look at what makes the difference between a mid/level developer and a Senior developer, you will see that the number (the quantity) of things they know is more or less similar.
For example, both a mid and Senior dev will work with some React on the front end, Node on the backend, and a bit of TypeScript, and they both probably touched a bit of cloud on AWS or Azure.
What really makes the difference between those 2 developers is the depth of knowledge they have about these topics. A Senior developer typically can dive in faster and deeper from the big picture to the implementation details.
Take React (or any frontend framework) as an example; they can not only talk about how to build certain features or lift some state, they know how to test, build for performance and scale whatever piece of code is being discussed.
It is that mix of perspective and depth that makes them a Senior.
To be honest with you, although many say Architecture is the path to Senior, this part comes last in our training. Why? Because to get the big picture, you gotta be a great coder first. And most developers still struggle with the coding side of things.
Just like in comedy, timing matters in software.
Develop a habit of going deep instead of wide in your knowledge, and you will have a winning edge over all the developers out there, busy collecting frameworks rather than mastering one thing really well.
Point is, software development is not rocket science.
Generally, developers don’t do the things I mentioned because they don’t have the knowledge, they don’t have the time, or simply lack the accountability and feedback to put in place a plan to fix those gaps and stick with it…
(which is a pity because if they would only fix 50% of this stuff, they would quickly put themselves at the top of the market, immune to layoffs, choosing which company to work for under which conditions, earning double than their peers and basically living life on their terms)
I know getting better as a developer involves many moving pieces. That’s why I am here to help.
Over the next few days, I’m going to be sending you some info about what it’s like to work with us privately. I’ll explain everything I’ve mentioned above. Plus a lot more…
The reason is I want to help you move one step further in your developer career, hoping that if you like what you see, you will decide to work with us and join our programs.
ps I’ve been a bit sick in the last couple of days; that’s why you saw so few appointment slots on the website. I need to take care of our paying customers first. But I am back and ready to chat with you. So if you feel like we could help you, apply here and let’s figure out together how you can become our next success story!
ps Berlin is really getting dark and cloudy again, and so my productivity skyrocketed, so I am no joking when I say keep an eye on our inbox! Good stuff coming your way!