LESSONS LEARNED FROM INTERVIEWING THE WORLD TOP DEVELOPERS @tompeham I @usersnap
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23 LESSONS LEARNED.
23 LESSONS LEARNED. FROM INTERVIEWING SOME OF THE BEST DEVELOPERS.
Morten Primdahl, CTO and Co-Founder at Zendesk
1. Scaling your tech is a challenge. “We went from a scrappy start-up of 3 guys with everything in their heads to a big organization that can take on scalability, operations, databases and product development. If you really get passionate about business in your life, that’s where you need to go. When you grow from a couple of dozen guys in 2009 to the size we have today, the company changes a lot all the time, and you need to adapt to that. The challenges are both technical and organizational. Scaling your business means growing fast and hiring engineers. And that’s a big global challenge. To put it that way: It’s just hard.”
2. Follow your passion. “Do what you like. Do what you’re passionate about. Don’t do whatever anyone else thinks. Figure out how to be yourself, and beat your own path. It’s going to be all right.”
Sunil Sadavasian, CTO at Buffer
4. Roles are more important than job titles “In an unnatural hierarchy my role is considered to be the CTO. But in a natural hierarchy, someone can take on some of the roles that I have that if they feel fulfilled in that way. Therefore at Buffer, job titles have started to feel quite odd – since most of us take on quite a few different roles.”
5. Invest in yourself. “Mark Cuban says “The best investment you can make is in yourself,” and it’s compounding really. Even though it didn’t work out with my previous startup, it was probably the best thing that I had ever done because it was an investment. I invested that time to focus on myself.”
6. 100% test coverage isn’t that important. “We’re not too concerned with 100% test coverage. It’s more about using your best judgment on what’s really critical and what will break, and then add testing to it on that way.”
PJ Hagerty, Team Lead at Engine Yard
7. Challenge yourself in boot camp and free online courses “So I’ve always been an advocate of going to do the weekend rails bridge course just to challenge yourself and see if its something you’re interested in. It’s much better than spending forty grand and finding out that you didn’t really like it.”
8. Test first, release often. One of the things that we are very espoused to is the idea of testing first. There is very little that goes into our products that go public without a high standard of testing. I don’t think there is any way to make everything a hundred percent bug proof.
Rani Angel, Head of Web Development at Infragistics
9. Managing remote workers is a challenge. “The biggest challenge is definitely working on a globally dispersed team. It is a huge challenge. One of the biggest struggles is when the overlap between the times the two teams are both working is only a few hours. The challenge is how to make sure that as a manager you are going to keep on top of everything. Plus, you want to make sure that your team is shielded from the the pain of not being in the same location.”
10. Explore various industries “I would have loved to have different opportunities while I was growing up, like being able to do an internship, do some marketing, do a little bit of sales to be able to understand the areas a little better instead of having to wait so long. Having experience at a younger age would have changed my perspective a lot more and would have made me more comfortable as I moved into the workforce.”
Thomas Schranz, CEO at Blossom
11. Learn how to code no matter how old you are. “I thought: “Yeah, I can’t program, and learning to program is really complicated.” I already knew back then that there are children being younger than me but already started with programming, and I thought: “Yeah, I’m already late.” And then, just by accident, I learnt it. I would recommend to anyone, literally anyone, in any age group to at least just start programming.”
12. Learn how to say No. “Sometimes saying “no” is harder than actually doing this thing. I think one recurring challenge is saying “no” to requirements. If it’s from a customer, if it’s from your own team, if it’s from yourself. Saying “no” to an idea doesn’t mean that the idea has to be bad. Saying “no” is the more taxing thing. We would have to explain it to everyone involved, convince them and then basically leave the meeting with low motivation for everyone. And just building the thing, even knowing it isn’t the right thing, is the easier thing to do.”
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