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Startup writer, Programmer, Tech Career Blogger, Education Engagement Enthusiast
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In this business it takes time to be really good — and by that time, you’re obsolete.

- Cher

15 years ago, I was a contractor working for a Fortune 500 client. My colleague was in a role whose title always fascinated me: BuildMaster.

Nowadays no one hires a BuildMaster, nor do they appoint one. I miss those days. BuildMaster is an application, though.

BuildMaster often snapped out of his couch to rush to the office at midnight. “I have to double-click that damn build script — gotta bill an (overtime) hour, you see.”

One day, I advised him to…

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As I browsed Google career portal today, out of 2932 job postings, only 197 had “hands-on experience” in the job description.

That’s barely 6%.

Does it mean hands-on experience no longer matters? Quite the contrary. It’s not mentioned, because it’s given. It’s inferred. It’s an implied requirement that gets tested during the grueling interview rounds. Beyond that, it rules the Agile sprint boards.

Without hands-on experience, the software world is lame.

I have heard stories about several young and strong soldiers abandoning nicely paying military jobs, simply because they could not withstand the physical training.

Hands-on experience holds a similar…

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Today, bored from my daily programming task, I googled programming humor.

I ended up on this Reddit thread, which had the most upvote count in the 1.6M strong programming humor community.

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Many good programmers outsource things to cheap marketplaces.

I know this because, during my freelance dev career, I have received a lot of work from programmers fighting to keep their day job.

There are solopreneurs too, who are developers themselves but are too busy to develop boilerplate. At such times, freelance marketplaces (such as Upwork and other coder platforms) come to the rescue.

Freelance developers come in all flavors. Some charge upwards of $100+ an hour. While they deliver 10x their rates, they are quite difficult to find. If your task is short-span, you can rarely afford them. Also, having…

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Yesterday, one of my friends said he quit his job without a job offer.

“Why so soon?” I got worried. He was still a junior coder and wasn’t making much. His next salary would depend upon his last one, and if he fails to strike an offer within the notice period, his market value will go down.

“I was beyond the point of frustration.” He blurted.

I could relate. He had been complaining for the last 6 months. Whenever I advised him to upgrade his skill set, he would argue, “Who’s got the time?”

What he needed was not more…

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A programmer’s life isn’t an ideal one.

Yet, there are programmers who are doing good, and there are those that are always struggling.

Here go some symptoms that show that either you are already doomed (and know it very well), or are going downhill but not yet aware of your journey.

#1: Googling repeatedly for the same kind of problem:

Once, I googled “How to check if a file exists using shell”. Luckily, I found an answer from StackOverflow.

Just two days afterward, I googled “How to check if a file doesn’t exist using shell”.

Doing the former improved my productivity. But doing the latter proved that I did…

Learn a tool, know a community, get 10x reach

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2 decades ago, when the blogosphere was still fledgling, I was amazed by POD (print-on-demand) self-publishing companies’ outreach. For $1000/book, they would provide book-formatting services.

I got sold to one of them.

A $1000 package, only to create a shiny looking PDF out of:

  • My content in a well-formatted word document
  • My bio
  • My photograph (hard copies!)
  • Cover image (purchased by me!)

After the book failed to garner any audience, I did the much-needed soul searching.

I could see the package was a total ripoff. Being a programmer myself, I should have thought better.

For example, I could have paid…

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In the early days of software, people turned into architects based on the number of years they spent in a company.

Now, this could be somewhat justified for product companies, where you have better insights into a product’s architecture after a few years. Surprisingly, agencies with shifting projects also followed this strategy. The reason? They could sell their billing time for higher rates. The clients would pay for an architect, but what they would (hopefully) get is a senior software engineer.

This was (and still is) quite disgusting. One simply doesn’t wake up as an architect after 5 years of…

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GitHub is great.

It sucks, however, when devs make repos that are not hosting code, but raw information (interview-nailing material), and yet they end up earning 10k+ stars.

However, there are contributors who put stuff that solves real-world problems. You don’t find it simply via Google search. StackOverflow also deceives you. But in GitHub, a solution might be already waiting.

The repos I have listed allow you to do away without much of the community. If it’s about learning algorithms, you won’t need teachers or tutorials. …

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