While this site is written from the perspective and experience of a programmer, the advice can be applied to any type of knowledge worker.
A knowledge worker is someone who works with information, whether its code, pixels, or words. The common thread being that what you do requires creativity and critical thinking.
So what are we trying to accomplish here?
To Teach People in Tech the Skills to Flourish in their Careers
There are endless mountains of great resources for learning nearly any technical skill. This site will not be one of them.
What we’re lacking are resources for the stuff we do outside of writing code, like mindset, habits, communication, or negotiation.
Well, there are, but for some reason developers don’t give a lot of thought to them. We like to think that writing good software is all we need to get rewarded, but that is rarely the case.
While excellent technical skills are a prerequisite for having a successful career, it is not the only criteria. Writing good code might only be 20% of what you need to be successful.
You have to be proactive in defining what you want from your career and how you’re going to get there. Much of that will happen outside of your job. I want to teach that “everything else” here.
(I don’t want to call these skills “soft skills” because there’s nothing soft about them.)
We carve our own paths by doing the extra work on ourselves.
One good yearly review isn’t going to cut it. If you don’t know how to sell yourself, then you’re at the mercy of chance and corporate procedures.
This applies to single founders and startups too. You can write the best app in the world but if you don’t know how to sell it, then you’ve wasted your time.
Technology Changes, but Great Techniques are Evergreen
Technology changes fast, but certain skills will stand the test of time.
Many of the books I pull advice from were written decades ago. Yet the wisdom is just as applicable to tech workers today as it was to whatever profession people had in the the last century. Were we chimney sweeps? Horse and buggy drivers? I don’t know.
Managing your finances was an important skill in 1926 when the “Richest Man in Babylon” was written, and it’s still important today.
I sincerely believe that some of these skills will become more valuable as technology becomes more ubiquitous.
For example, the ability to communicate, like writing clearly or being able to sell someone on your idea, has and always will be important in professional and entrepreneurial settings.
Unless communication devolves into 6-second clips of us grunting at each other, understanding the power of words will never go out of style.
Additionally, the ability to focus and do deep work is already vital for success in today’s economy.
We have to be able to learn new things fast, and we have to be able to produce high-quality work at a consistent pace. The only way to do that is training yourself to work single-mindedly, without distraction, so you can see something to completion.