How to position yourself as a leader while solidifying your skills.

You’ve managed to acquire your first job as a software engineer and hold onto it long enough to reach the three-year milestone. You’ve contributed to a fair share of projects. You’re comfortable setting up the environment for your current stack and likely have a handle on the team’s branch strategy. You’ve evaluated user stories, broke them down into tasks, and estimated the effort required. You’re nearly a rockstar now and can hold your own.

It’s time to reflect on your first three years as a software developer, the lessons…


The looming threat to the average programmer.

Let’s face it. Unless you are talented enough for Google to hire you, you are probably limited to developing APIs, websites, or customizing an ERP-like business system.

If toiling day after day, adding mundane features to boring systems isn’t enough for you, you have the added task of keeping up with the frameworks and tools that will evolve with or without you. It is easy to only focus on what you are working on without building new skills. …


How to get better at your job faster as a first-year software engineer.

It was month three as a new developer when something clicked. I knew the syntax well enough to get around, although I still Googled a lot. The terminology flicked around the cube farm became more familiar to me, and I had become quite efficient at researching concepts I didn’t quite understand yet. However, these milestones weren’t enough for me to overcome a severe case of imposter syndrome, so I wanted to learn more.

During my downtime, I talked to other developers on my team about technology, programming…


It is time to end the Degree vs. Skills argument.

Circular Book Shelves
Circular Book Shelves

Whether you advocate for formal education or you are a champion for skilling up without a degree, you’re right.

Traditional colleges worldwide are modernizing curriculums and the systems that deliver them, with more accessible classes and a skill-based focus. In addition, self-paced online courses, such as Coursera and Udemy, are increasing in popularity among users and employers.

We have the best of both worlds at our fingertips, more accessible than ever, and people are still debating which world is better. As if a student with an Associate’s degree could not…


Recognizing the people really running your development team.

Managers, have you ever sat in on a meeting with your Software Engineers while they were designing a solution? Not in an effort to understand their code or some new package they keep rambling on about, but to understand the humans who work for you? If not, you would be amazed at what you see. If so, you should do it more often; just don’t interject.

Let’s dissect what goes on when you leave the room. One employee seems to take the lead more often at the whiteboard, fielding questions, and determining…


How to stop breaking existing features and increase productivity

The team consists of a Project Manager, Senior Architect, Senior Developer, and two fantastic Software Engineers; we knock work out around the clock. The PM assigns stories to me in the queue. I claim the tasks I can complete and divide up the remaining work for offshore to complete at night.

After six months of working together, we were cruising on rails. Each of us had specific areas of the application that we owned, and we could count on one another to complete any new feature requests for those areas. …


How to land a Software development job without knowing everything

You’re an Nth year Software Engineering student, or maybe you went to a code camp. You’ve invested time and money and expect some return on investment.

If you’re reading this, you may have already suffered through your first technical interview. Even if you thought you did well, you most likely stumbled on a question or two and are beating yourself up about it. And that’s ok, we all went through the same thing. Most developers do not possess God-like coding abilities. I sure don’t. …

Justin McClain

Software Developer | Writer for TekLit

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