Dwarves Radio Talk #4: Developer career path and Tech consulting

This was a special one. We got to trial on 2 topics in one episode. They're somehow related, actually.

We got back to Dwarves Radio Talk the last week before Lunar New Year. This was a special one. We got to trial on 2 topics in one episode. They're somehow related, actually.

One of the Dwarves took his homework in developer's career path. This later followed by a more specific question: More than just a day-to-day developer, how to master tech consulting and be qualified to support clients with solid advice.

The first question was raised by Tay, who has been with us since 2019. Graduated majoring in Software Engineering, Tay has supported us with great work in many projects as a senior back-end engineer.

Since it was a long talk and might get people bored along the way, I've decided to put the highlight points in list items. I’m not saying the damaged audio file makes me do it, I just want to.

Developer Career Path

When asked about the motivation behind the question, he expressed the point of view after a long time working in this industry. Indeed, he wanted to know further about software engineers' future; is there any similarity between him and other developers, or how many years he has left working as one. It's the next level of code and whether people can participate in the tech industry if they know nothing about coding.

"I've been in the industry for a while, and I would like to know how the world out there is working on. How long should I keep pursuing this career, and what can people do in software besides coding."

Career development is developing the skillset within a period of time

It means gaining a level of proficiency in what you're working on. And not only the expertise but also the effort you put into the work. With great power comes great responsibility, they said.

Through the discussion, we've agreed to break down the process into some basic steps.

  • Define the title you wish to pursue
  • What are the domains that the title require, i.e., what you need to know about
  • How are people currently performing those roles? What's there to adopt? What else to avoid?
  • How can you grasp that knowledge
  • Where can you earn the experience

We realize there's no fixed "path" for developers. Software changes every day. Old tech gets outdated. Opportunities happen. It's an open door where we visualize different careers to develop as software advocates.

It's a growth path. It takes an individual to a higher position in the organizational hierarchy over a certain time. Each goal will need its specialized skillset and domain knowledge. It's our job to ask ourselves: How to master those in the shortest amount of time?

And for this reason, every career major will lead to a specialized or consulting stage, once the person has brought himself to an expert level.

Tech-consulting and How to be a good one

Tech consulting

As easy as it sounds, a consultant acts as someone who possesses the overall knowledge/expertise and provides the necessary advice when the situation calls. In general, tech consulting is a definition for an in-depth comprehension of SDLC (software development life cycle), the step by step and what it takes to build a product or set up a project.

Work scope

Positioning ourselves as tech consultants means we get to recommend the clients with problem resolutions. How that domain can develop in tech-oriented. How their decision can affect the business. To sum up, we explain what can go wrong and help them avoid it with the appropriate approach. Of course, this utmost requires a solid foundation in domain grasp, enough to foresee the steps ahead and where next to move.

Estimate a product value

This is the hard one. Product values come in different meanings: profit value, or the long-term effect it gives to users. Product value comes and grows along with the development time. Estimate the project development time with determined milestones will decide whether or not a product can produce value and if that value can be monetized.

Product estimation is calculating the time spend on each feature. By breaking the product development into milestones, it's easier to foresee the step that gets us closer to the release phase.

Founders and business owners develop a great interest in product milestones.

We've been doing this more lately, and it's safe to say it generates good responses. We use hill charts to visualize those milestones and wrap up every week with project changelog to keep the client up to date with where we're heading. A so-called move to keep track of what we work on effectively, instead of the boring report checked-off to-do lists with no goal at all. Once we started to take care more on this part, we remove the uncertainties in decision making and accurately understand what the product is capable of.

To sum up

  • There’s no fixed path for developers. Career development based on the domain and expertise you wish to pursue
  • Tech consulting means to suggest problem resolutions that helps drive product value, in terms of monetary and social functional value.
  • Check your microphone before, during and after recording the file
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