Join LinkedIn Learning Developer Instructor for an in-depth discussion in this video Carrie Dils, part of Career Clinic: Developer Insights.
- What brought me into this industry was nothing on purpose. I graduated college with a degree in, what I like to say, a degree in nothing useful. And I had a skill set in technology, specifically HTML, which sounds kind of goofy now, but this was in the late '90s. And from there just started finding little freelance gigs, making websites for people. So it kind of happened by accident. The best way I have found to keep my skills sharp is to actually teach others what it is I do.
And that sounds so very random, but it's one thing to know how to do something, how to code, how to sit down and write it, but actually trying to teach someone else, so going, giving a talk at a conference, writing a blog post, even doing a more formal course, nothing dials in the knowledge factor like having to understand it well enough to communicate it back to someone else. One thing that I've seen over and over are developers who have gotten themselves into, they're sort of providing web services soup to nuts for clients.
"I'm your one-stop shop. Oh, you need business cards? "Well, I'll be a designer too for this." So, they're operating broadly and when you're doing that, you're competing against a ton of other developers that have the exact same offering as you do. And at that point, you're competing on price versus who you are and the value that you can actually bring with your experience to the table. I'm a fan of go deep, not wide. Find something to specialize in. Be excellent at it. And then when someone needs that, you're going to be top of mind because you're not a generalist.
You have a very certain specialty. I would tell any developer, especially one that works independently, to find a community of like-minded people, techie, nerdy people to be involved with. I've worked by myself for a really long time and sometimes you just kind of get stuck in the same rut, doing the same things, solving problems with code in the exact same way, and when I took an opportunity to go work in a development team in a development environment I met these people who were a lot smarter than me and showed me new ways of doing things and it stretched me and it grew me.
So, I think any time you can find a group of other developers to be with, even if it's informal, you'll learn new things and be exposed to different ways of doing things.