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How to stand out as a software engineer

Updated on September 29, 2014

Here are few things that I have learnt and may work for you

Before I share the things that I believe may work for you, I would like to tell that these are no definite success rules. They may or may not work for you. But if any of it makes sense to you then go ahead. I can assure you that you will surely gain something out of it. Here are few of the things that come to our mind when we think about improving as a software engineer.

Should I learn more technologies?

Answer is definitely yes. More exposure to technologies you have, better vision of things you develop. But before you start to become jack of all, be a master of at least one thing. Both horizontal and vertical knowledge is important. But you need to have a good balance between these two verticals. If you have worked on something for few years, then try to gain more and more knowledge about it. "Master of something" does not mean that you need to know everything about that technology but yes you should know most of it. If you don't, then start reading and learning process. Once you have a strong pillar in the centre of your skill set, try exploring other technologies to add small but supportive pillars.

How do I tell the world that I know something?

If you believe that you know a technology a bit well then start sharing your knowledge. There are different ways to share knowledge and become famous. You may chose one of these to tell the world that you know something:

  1. Become a forum contributor: Before I had started to contribute on forums, I thought that it is done only by geeks and gurus. But I was under this misconception for years and stayed away from it. If you know how to run 'Hello World' in any technology then you will be able to help someone else who does not know how to do it. This is the idea of forums, you may answer what you know. And you can always learn from other people answers about what you don't know. What it takes is a bit of time and patience to become a good forum contributor. But I bet you , if I can so you can. Ok so now ready to contribute but where? there are different popular forums and you must already be aware of them. Think about a forum, which always helps you with answers when you are stuck and google for a question. Find an appropriate forum for your skills and start contributing. It is a great feeling to help someone and get some appreciation about it.
  2. Join github or similar code sharing: Are you afraid that you write non-efficient but working code most of the times? Yes most of engineers do this, only a few write good efficient code. But what If I can learn from them. And to learn from them, I should reach such people. Such beautiful people are available on code sharing sites and even forums. Don't feel shy to share a framework, which you have written. Post it and see if people can use it. When they use it, they may fix it, or may tell what is wrong, etc. At the end of this exercise, you will surely have a better code and a learning experience. You don't have to write a super code to share, just share what you believe is generic and others can use.

What can I do for continuous improvement?

One simple thing; always believe that you know very less. If you believe so, you will get an urge to know more. There is no alternative of learning things by going to books, tutorials etc. You need to spend time with a technology to understand it. More you will read, quicker you will start to learn. You will find that everything in software world revolves around those basic concepts. Stop! if your basics are not right. Go and get them right first. No matter if you have to pick a fundamental school book, just read it and get it right. If your fundamentals are right, you will find everything easy to learn. Develop a habit of watching learning videos. I find them a great way, having them on your mobile, iPad or any other handy device helps. I love video tutorials and recommend them strongly. If required spend some money to subscribe to learning websites, few of them are really really good.

Final Note

Continuos effort will lead to amazing results. Perseverance is the key, so don't try anything in haste. Give some consistent effort and you will produce results that you love. Hope this blog helps you. Good luck!

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