My Two Year Journey as a Tech Consultant & Developer
Disclaimer: These are some personal learnings from my two year journey in the tech - corporate world and is in no way connected to the opinions of the company I work for or represent that company in any way. I'm not trying to give any advice via this article, rather trying to document some of my learnings that will be a ready reference for me in the future and might help others in the community as well!
My journey in the tech world started very early in my college days, as a freelance developer in my second year of college which transitioned into an intern during my third and fourth years of college in major tech companies and finally into a full-time tech consultant in a major firm. During this journey, there were so many learnings, friendships, mistakes made and memories to cherish. I recently completed two years as a full time employee in the tech world and got to play many roles, from intern to full-stack developer to tech lead and have learnt a lot in terms of tech, leadership and the tech - corporate world in general. I will be sharing some of my experiences and key learnings in this post!
Application and knowledge go hand-in-hand
During college days, we learnt a lot of subjects and having theoretical knowledge was the key to cracking the exams but that slowly changes and application becomes equally important in the tech industry. You might be knowing a lot about some cloud platform but failing to apply that in solving a problem you are facing in your project makes all that knowledge not so useful! To tackle this gap between knowledge and application, I usually build a small application/project from anything new I learn and thereby understand practically how things work and how I can use that knowledge.
Sponsorship and Mentorship are equally important
There is a fine line between a sponsor and a mentor and to realize that and build your network comprising of both is key to succeeding in your workplace! A simple way to explain the difference between the two would be that a person who invests in helping you learn new technologies, problem solving, etc. is a mentor (it could be your tech lead) and the person who provides the right opportunities for you to showcase those skills and grow in the company is a sponsor (it could be your team manager). A colleague can be your sponsor and mentor but having an extensive network comprising of both is key for growth in the corporate life.
You are as good as your visibility
Let's face it, how good you showcase (more apt would be "sell") your skills lands you anything from new projects to jobs. It might sound a bit harsh to people who believe that their work will show what they are capable of and that in turn would help them grow but the truth is that it's extremely rare to get a sponsor who invests so much time in always following your work and helping you grow. The more you figure out the right forums to showcase your work and skills and thereby start getting seen as a key person in that subject, the easier it is to get opportunities to grow. Even I struggle with this and the way I try to tackle this is by giving that key project presentation to highlight the amazing work my team is doing, involve in some org wide tech events and try to give a tech-talk there etc.
Always keep learning and sharing
Technology is growing rapidly and every day some new library or framework comes up and before you know it, the one in which you have expertise could be replaced by this shiny new one! Hence, it is key to constantly keep exploring the latest trends in the tech world. You might not become expert in all the new technologies you explore but you would have enough knowledge to kick-start your next project that will need it.
Along with learning, it's important to share something you have newly learnt and this could be within your org or with the tech community on the internet! Sharing the knowledge can not only help someone struggling with a problem find a solution, it could also help you to get in touch with people interested in similar topics. In your work, you will be noticed as an expert in that subject and thereby can help you find relevant opportunities and grow in the company.
Opportunities are a plenty to have lots of fun!
No matter how stressful or difficult your work might be, you will always find lots of opportunities to have fun, be it with your team members or some people you met while travelling for work or that tech-talk you gave in a conference which made you famous on social media! I got to travel extensively for work, from which I explored many countries, cultures and made some amazing friends. Since I work in a very lean office setup, pretty much everyone knows each other and we all have lots of fun in office events.
To conclude, one thing I have learnt that can sum up my journey is that corporate life is a roller-coaster ride and the best way to have fun is to embrace the ups and downs and find the right people to have the ride with!