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These 6 golden rules are your key to a successful tech career

Did you know that technical skills and work experience alone are insufficient to have a stellar career in the technology industry? Some of the most successful people in the industry can be identified by their social attitudes and actions. Developing the right behavior and personality traits can go a long way in making your tech career outstanding. Here are a few tips to guide you in the right direction — tips probably nobody took the time to tell you.

Know the big picture

Any number of people can write the code to build a mobile app, but how many know why the company needs to build the app? The answer might shock you.

Exceptional professionals:

  • Know the high-level take on the how the company’s business works.
  • Speak in terms of the business.
  • Can translate business terminology into tech terms and the other way round.
  • Understand the strategic importance of technology to the business.

If you want to become an exceptional professional, then take pains to:

  • Know how your code fits into the company’s strategy, especially with respect to the end user, your customer.
  • Become accountable for the work you produce, not only with respect to the project or repository but also with respect to the customer.

This revised outlook has the potential to take your code from being “good” to “brilliant.”

Let your work speak for you

While interacting with other professionals, listen, don’t speak. The task requires great humility but it’s the fastest way to learn new things.

Admitting your ignorance about something is not a sign of weakness, but a proof of your strength — your passion for the subject matter. Otherwise, you could become that person who does not understand their limitations and has too much pride to admit when they are just spinning around in circles.

Instead of wasting time talking, dedicate your efforts to solve problems. Stay determined. Put in the required time and research the topic. Tech problems take some effort to resolve, but when they do, the sense of achievement is out of this world.

Keep your focus

Talent is not an end in itself. Talent when combined with concerted efforts leads to outstanding results for your tech career. Therefore, stay focused. Otherwise, your journey might end up like that of a fearless explorer in an unmapped jungle — you may be going around in circles and never realize it.

A focused professional is someone who:

  • Values quality over speed. In exceptional cases, they may settle for a tradeoff but will utilize every future opportunity to rectify any shortcomings.
  • Accepts processes as tools implemented to help engineers.
  • Understands the importance of dedicating time for coding. They make special efforts to keep distractions at bay. For instance, they may wear headphone to keep any noises at bay or turn off notifications to avoid any cell phone related distractions.

Beware of distractions

It is important to stay disciplined and concentrate on aspects related to the project or business rather than chasing some “trending” ideas that don’t reduce the gap to your goal.

It’s very easy to find yourself dilly-dallying or obsessing over trivial aspects of the task at hand. You end up spending precious time hoping to achieve “G, H, I” when your project’s goal is to complete “X, Y, Z.”

Curb that natural inclination to digress. Step back and look at what you are doing and what the project’s goal is. You might discover that your supposed “work” is way out of line from what others are struggling to accomplish.

Looking ahead is an excellent ability, but even then staying focused on the actual goals rather than the perceived ones is essential. In your hunger for innovation, you might have strayed away from the pack. Set your team’s and project’s goal firmly in your mind and you will be all right and your tech career will flourish.

Don’t be reluctant to ask

Working hard and being proud are separate matters. Don’t mix the two. Your ego should not stand in the way of finding the solution to a technology problem you face. It is not really about you, it is about your team and the employer you work for. You know, the entity paying you.

If asking for help online is all that it takes, don’t hold back and slow down your team. Reach out to strangers online and find that solution. Asking for help doesn’t make you less capable in any way. Use your resources.

Know how to utilize Google Search for solutions. Someone out there has already solved almost all problems in the technology domain and that person has already posted the solution online. All you need to do is find it.

The mark of an exceptional programmer is that they make an effort to understand the specific workings — the why, what, how — of such online solutions. Spend some time finding out how the code works and what the output will be. A simple cut paste job without knowing what is happening inside can prove to be a costly mistake. This is not the time to gamble.

Constantly improve your learning curve

New things keep cropping up. Learn to accept these changes. The most revered engineers constantly upgrade their knowledge and stay abreast of industry trends. Applying the latest practices in their work keeps them ahead of the pack.

The tech-space is full of new technologies, frameworks, and processes. A solid engineer knows how to sift through them and assimilate the right knowledge for his or her progress.

Technology is a dynamic field and you need to keep upgrading your skills. The best engineers are adept at this task and at embracing change. Learning continues even after you complete that computer science degree or course and after you get that all important job. Learning continues irrespective of the stage in your career.

Apply these principles and watch your tech career flourish

To become exceptional in the field of technology, you need to be capable of diving deep into a topic and comprehending its nuances fully. Deep and thorough understanding of concepts and processes are vital. But growing in the right direction is also equally important. If you are doing both, then the chances of your career growth are high.

If you are yet to apply these principles in your learning and work, begin now. It’s never too late to develop great habits or to progress in your tech career. The mark of an outstanding professional is also that he or she stays the course and never gives up.

Featured image: Shutterstock

Benjamin Roussey

Benjamin Roussey is from Sacramento, CA. He has two master’s degrees and served four years in the US Navy. His bachelor’s degree is from CSUS (1999) where he was on a baseball pitching scholarship. He has an MBA in Global Management from the Univ. of Phoenix (2006). Currently he lives in the Phoenix area after living in Cabo San Lucas, MX for 3 years. He enjoys sports, movies, reading, and current events when he is not working online.

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