Passion for programming. Part 1. Tip 3. Coding is not everything

    While there is a bit of time (although it certainly is not), I continue to translate Chad Fowler's book “Passion for Programming”.
    PDF as always here .
    <- Supply and demand
    3. Coding is not everything

    It is not enough just to think about the technologies in which you are going to invest your time. After all, technological knowledge is not a finished product. You don’t think that you can just sit and calmly improve your knowledge in a programming language or OS, while managers take care of the rest of the business stuff. If they just needed a robot encoder, it would be easier to outsource the development. If you want to stay fit, then you have to carefully study the subject area in which you work.

    In fact, the developer must understand the subject area not just at a level sufficient for programming, but be an expert in it. At the previous place of work, I came across an example of this. The database administration team included people who were not very interested in database technologies. When I realized this, it was amazing to me. I thought: “What do they do in IT?” In technical matters, they were not very savvy. But there was something special about this team. Besides the fact that they stored and protected our data, they understood the subject area better than almost all our business analysts. Their knowledge made them very attractive in the domestic labor market. While we geeks looked at them condescendingly, businessmen appreciated them very highly.
    Imagine that you have your own repertoire and knowledge of the subject area - a very important part of it. For a musician, adding a song to his repertoire means that he not only performs it once, it means that he knows it well. The same is true in business. If you, for example, work in the field of insurance, this does not mean at all that you understand the difference between electronic data exchange transactions according to the HIPAA 835 and HIPAA 837 standards . It is precisely such knowledge that distinguishes two developers of equal value in a certain situation.
    You can be “just a programmer,” but communicating with a client in his language is one of the most important skills. Imagine how much better life would be if everyone with whom you work understood how software is developed. You would not have to explain why it is bad to return 30,000 records to one page of a web application, and why you should not transfer links to an internal development server. So your business clients think the same thing about you: eh, how much easier it would be if these programmers understood what they were asked to do and I wouldn’t have to chew everything to the smallest detail. And this is surprising: these people also pay you money!
    Just like technology, subject areas can be in greater or lesser demand and selected based on the same considerations. Java and .NET are on the rise, and if you know them, you can apply for a job in one of the many companies that hire specialists in these technologies. The same is true for subject areas. You must pay attention to the choice of the industry in which you work, and the choice of technology in which you will improve.
    It's time to think about what subject area you will invest your time in.
    In light of the importance of choosing the right subject area when creating your portfolio, choosing the company and industry you are planning to work for becomes an important part of your investment for you. If you have not seriously thought about what subject area you will invest in, then now is the time. Every past day is a missed opportunity. This is the same as keeping savings on a low-yield deposit when more profitable ones are required. Leaving your development in the direction of business in stagnation is not the best investment at all.


    Schedule a lunch with a business person. Talk with people about how they work. When communicating, ask yourself a question that you would change or study if you would like to work in their place. Ask about the features of their daily work. Ask about how technology helps (or hinders) them in their work. Look at your work with their eyes.
    Repeat this regularly.
    This may seem strange and not very convenient. This is normal. I started doing this a couple of years ago and felt huge changes in understanding and attitude towards the business in which I worked. Another positive effect was that it became much calmer to talk with customers.
    Take a magazine that reviews your business area. You may not even have to buy it. Most companies have a bunch of old issues of such magazines somewhere. Start working on these files. At first, you may not understand everything that is written in them, but be persistent. Make a list of questions and ask them to your management or ask your clients. Even if your questions look silly, clients will appreciate your desire to learn.
    Also choose sites in your area that you can browse regularly. And on sites and on the pages of magazines, pay special attention to the main news and innovations. What problems do people face and struggle in this area? What is the most important and hotly debated issue right now? Whatever it is, discuss it with your customers. Ask them to explain it in more detail and find out their opinions. Think about how these changes affect your company, your department, your team and, ultimately, your work.

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