According to the numbers, Programming is a pretty short career path, source. Programming careers are typically quite short as people start to drop off past 35. Knowing how to avoid the “potholes” of a programming career will help you to maximise your earning potential and help you stay in the game longer. Following these tips will actually help you to avoid limiting your programming career.
Avoid Shady Jobs
Avoiding the shady jobs is always a good idea - you’re better off without them. Your time is limited, and it’s hard to afford un-doing the good work you have done. It’s generally easy to spot shady jobs through Glassdoor reviews, or by purely doing some investigative work. Large organisations are typically considered low on the shady meter. But… Beware of startups.
Be Aware of Negativity
Be aware of negativity throughout your programming career. Most programmers deal with a tremendous amount of rejection and it’s important to not let that stop you from doing what needs to get done. Get yourself a happy plan, stick to it, and see your progress shoot up!
Know Your Value
Before you get into a job, take notice of how much your skills are worth. By offering a low monetary value, you may be undermining yourself and the years of learning you have actually accrued. Get this right the first time as once you’ve got the job, rarely do you get another chance to re-negotiate your salary. Know Your Value!
Careful of Your Emotions
We work in a very logical job, requiring us to deal with lots of facts and figures. Emotions aren’t often spoken about, but they are pretty damn important. Programmers often forget that emotions can cause bad decisions. It’s possible to be influenced into making bad decisions for your career. So, be wary and objective of how you are feeling and you will minimise regretful decisions.
Make Calculated Risks
Mustering up the courage to ask your boss for a raise or promotion is great sure - but are they going to say yes? “just because”? When you are making calculated risks with your career, write it down, analyse the data, and don’t be rocked if things don’t go exactly the way you planned them.
Get really, really good at learning. Programming is such a rapid changing field and only the best programmers are able to keep up with the rate of change. Signing up to online courses, listening to podcasts and participating in workshops are great avenues to be exposed to new programming concepts. By putting in the extra time for learning, it will put you ahead of other developers going for the same oppurtunities. You can also say, “I keep up to date with new and emerging technologies by attending technology workshops three times a year”. This is a great way to move forward with your career.
Throw out the hoody and ripped jeans that you show up to work in every day. People are getting sick of what they look like. Promote yourself and your company by investing in an attire which shows - “I actually care about myself, and what I look like”. The effect of this will certainly leave people with a better impression of you, and who knows… it might just land you that job! You don’t need to spend your weekly salary on clothes all the time, but keeping a good rotation helps to keep it fresh.
Read Every Day
Working as a Programmer requires hard mental work and reading, oh so much reading. Don’t forget to supplement your day job by reading outside of work hours. This will help you develop extra learning and helps to sharpen your overall day-to-day knowledge. Picking up a Kindle or E-Reader is a great investment for long-term reading, and very handy for reading both technical and non-technical forms of information.
Find Your People
It is important to find a crew that you can share information and ideas with. Whether it be a few buddies online or colleagues at work, it’s important to have a network so you can bounce ideas when you are working as a programmer. Otherwise, you might be stuck asking Stack Overflow for everything.
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