Over the years, I’ve received a lot of questions about career goals, directions, how to become a known developer, etc. The underlying theme to all of these questions is this: What’s the secret to my success, and how can that person duplicate it?
So what’s my secret? How have I been able to make a name for myself, speak at conferences around the world, earn well over $150K/yr as a consultant, write an eBook that earned $12K in profits in less than a year, and work with some of the most talented people on the planet?
My secret is… I HAVE NO SECRETS
When it comes to technology, tools, process, how I think and the problems I solve, I have no secrets. I’ll tell you how much money I earn. I’ll tell you how much my book makes. I’ll let you know everything that I can, if I think it will help you in your career. This is how I’ve always approached technology – with a mind of sharing- and it’s evidenced in everything I do. From blogging, to mailing lists, stack overflow and my screencasts and eBooks. Nearly everything I do is set up to help you become a better developer.
I know some people that want to keep secrets. They want to be the only person that can do that one thing. They call it job security. I call that a pain in the ass. I don’t want to be the only one that can do that thing because that means I’m the only one… the one that has to do it, even when there are better things that I could be doing. No thanks.
There’s a phrase I like: rising tides lift all boats.
Yes, it’s horribly cliche but it’s also the truth. If you can lift everyone around you, then everyone looks better (including you). But more importantly, if you’re the one filling the ocean and raising the tide, then people will come to you to help fill it again. This is how I’ve made my career, and I know it will help you make your career.
I’m not saying this will be easy. I’m not trying to sell snake oil or get-rich-quick schemes. It is hard work – the hardest work you’ll ever do. Not only does it take work to teach, but it also takes work to learn. You have to understand, first and foremost, that your job is to learn. And I don’t mean selective learning. I mean really truly learning anything and everything you can, from anyone and everyone.
It is incredibly difficult to do this with consistency and humility. But it’s worth it. You will go places, meet people, and have opportunities knocking down your door (or email, or twitter account, or whatever). But more than just the career success, you will also find life success. There is nothing more fulfilling than seeing someone else succeed on the shoulders of the work that you have done!