How to become a great developer
On being a professional and being recognized for achievements
By: Ajdin Imsirovic 23 August 2021
For me, it was a slow process.
It took me a long time to realize why I should strive to be as professional a web developer as possible.
It also took me a long time to realize that most people aren’t in this category.
So it’s gotta be too hard, right?
Or maybe just not worth it.
Or is it?
A part of the problem is definitely the fact that our industry is very fluid and it takes a lot of time to get to a level where you’re comfortable being a web developer with enough competencies and skills.
This post is about some of my ideas on where to take your web development career once you’ve conquered that first fort.
You have finally become a web developer - you’ve achieved your dream! You’ve learned to accept your self and your imposter syndrome is under control, because you know that you’re no longer an impostor in your area of expertise. But now what?
This post might sound a bit braggy.
I hope you don’t take it that way, because it’s not about me showing off - it’s about me showing what I’ve accomplished - things that I’ve done to make myself stand out.
The main, overarching idea is this: keep doing amazing things.
The idea is really simple.
To be considered a great anything, either by yourself, or your peers, you need to accomplish great things.
Accomplishing great things is tough.
But it’s also doable.
Here’s the list of my amazing accomplishments.
1. I’ve started a blog 3 and a half years ago, and I’m still running it
For example, in my “narrow circle” of professionals - my web-development co-workers in the previous companies I worked for, I never met a developer whose blog is even close to what mine looks like.
Most of them don’t even have one.
Of course, here I’m talking about this very website, Codingexercises.com, which I started as a simple blog, but now it’s growing into something a lot greater.
So, I’d say that at least 95% of my co-workers never even tried blogging about their work, let alone sustaining the effort for as long as I am.
I pulled it off. I have a blog that I’ve been working on, thinking about, tweaking and adjusting, since about January 2018.
This makes me stand out among other developers. It’s a real-life demo of persistence, willingness to work hard, and my area of expertise.
2. I’ve recorded a number of web development courses
Back in the summer of 2014, I recorded my first Udemy course. It was only 30 minutes long, but I’d say it was pretty interesting and useful.
In the companies I’ve worked for, I’ve never met a single developer who’s done the same.
I’ve sort off moved away from recording courses - I’m toying with the idea of going back to Udemy with a single course, just to revisit the experience.
Regardless, my point is: another amazing thing accomplished.
I still have a couple of courses up on the Udemy site - I’ve retired other courses.
I can say that I’ve modestly succeeded here too - I’ve got about 30 thousand students signed up to my courses.
Note: Don’t do it for the money as the only motivator. More on that at the end of the article.
3. I’m a published author of four web-development books
You can actually find me on Amazon. And elsewhere.
The experience was great. I got an insider’s look into the publishing industry.
I also earned some money from it.
Nothing to “write home about”. But it was a useful and fun experience.
It took a lot of hard work too.
This “amazing thing that I’ve done” is something that really tought me about myself:
- that I’m able to do it
- that I’m able to do it again, and again…
It really helped me grow my resolve to become the best web-development professional that I can. It helped me push through my previous limitations and boundaries and operate at another level.
Hopefully, this also made me stand out more.
4. I’ve self-published several books
Without going into too many details here, the experience of publishing my books with Packt publishing lead me to venturing into self-publishing with Leanpub.
This was a wonderful experience so far, and again, it helped me become a better developer.
5. I’ve written tutorials for other websites
It wasn’t really a matter of link-building or guest posting. It was a matter of going really deep into a topic and writing a useful, well researched tutorial. Something to give back to the community, but also to put on a resume.
So, once you apply to a new job you desire, you can link to one of your “old” articles, showing a point in time, say, two years ago, where you were already at a certain level of knowledge in a given technology.
6. Contribute to open source
In conclusion, keep doing amazing things.
Think of them as platforms that will help you raise you career to new heights.
Here’s my observation that I promised at the beginning of this article, regarding financial gain of your “amazing projects”: don’t do it for the money.
Do it for the experience, for becoming better, for making yourself stand out, for proving you can do it.
Money might come, but if it does, it will come in the end.
Doing these amazing things with the sole motivation of making money will probably not get you very far.
A much better approach: “I want to do it so that I become a true professional, and then I might make some money from it too”.
It’s all about knowledge and professionalism.