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John Au-Yeung
John Au-Yeung

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Tips on Keeping a Long-Running Programming Career

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To be a good programmer, we should follow some easy to adopt habits to keep our programming career long-lasting.

In this article, we’ll look at some of them and how to adopt them.

Work Hard

Working hard will make everyone happy and we may even get a promotion or raise from it.

However, we’ve to work hard on things that get results, which is the same as working smart.

We also have to get away from people by the amount of time that we’re stuck to a chair.

Those people will just make us miserable.

Don’t Be a One Trick Pony

We should never stick to one programming language. This means that we should learn new things so that we’ll make sure that we’ll become useful in the future.

It’s better if we know programming languages from different paradigms so that we can get different perspectives on how to program.

Learn New Technology Every Year

There’re probably some significant changes in technology every year, so we should make sure that we know them so that we can use them in case we need them.

It also gets us away from our comfort zone, which means that we’re expanding our knowledge.

If it’s good, we can even propose that we use it in our jobs.

Don’t Worry About Things That are Out of Our Control

This is something we definitely should do. It’ll save us lots of misery from worrying.

We should just stop worrying so that we can sleep at night. Things change all the time so that we have to adapt to new situations.

Avoid Hatred

Hating people makes us miserable. It’s something we should dump on the curb.

Also, we shouldn’t be jealous of people that we feel are better than us. It just doesn’t good any good for anyone.

Hatred and jealousy are just something that can ruin our lives.

Think About Different Ways to Make Money as a Developer

Never be fixated on our jobs. We should think about how to make money and survive outside of our developer jobs.

Also, we should never be assumed that anything in the job world is constant, so we should definitely think of plan B.

We can start by making money by saving them and collecting interest in a saving account. Even if the interest rate is abysmal right now, we still get something, so it’s a good start.

Creating a side business is also a good idea. Businesses take forever to gain traction, so there’s no better time to get started if we want to make money from a side business.

If we do start a business the be prepared to fail a lot before making one that’s successful.

Programming skills are valuable outside of our jobs, so we should use that to our advantage wherever we can.

Chase Responsibility

We can get better as a developer, get a raise or promotion or better by chasing more responsibility at our current jobs.

We definitely learn more if we do more in our jobs. This doesn’t mean we work lots of overtime. We just do extra if we have the time.

And if we learn more, we’ll definitely have opportunities elsewhere or within the company that we’re working at.

Continuously Sharpen Our Skills

This is another thing that we just got to do often so that we won’t be abandoned by the job market.

Technologies change all the time and if we don’t use them, our skill level will decline, so we should sharpen our skills by practicing things inside and outside of work.

At least we should know popular trends in the developer market. It’s easy to keep ourselves updated and it’ll keep us in the market.

Use Good Hardware

A fast computer makes us less frustrated by waiting for things to build and load. We’ll also get stuff done faster because of it.

A bigger monitor is better for viewing things side by side. Better yet, get 2 monitors so we can put things on different screens to view them side by side.

Keyboards, pointing devices, headphones, etc. are also important. Ideally, we should have noise-canceling headphones to kill outside noise.


If we want to keep making money from our development skills, we can’t put everything in one basket. That is, we got to think about different ways to make money.

Also, we should learn more from working and also outside.

Keeping our emotions positive is also important. Otherwise, our day can never be good.

Finally, good hardware will keep us sane in our jobs.

Top comments (4)

elmuerte profile image
Michiel Hendriks • Edited

I am completely opposed to the idea of working hard. This is bad!

You do not live to work. Working hard is a way to burn out, to become miserable, etc.
The most successful people just worked. Maybe 40 hours a week, probably less. Maybe 8 hours a day, probably less. The rest of the time they spend on living. Spending time with their family and friends, spending time on their hobbies (which could be programming).
Are these we people rich and powerful? A lot of them probably are, but most of them are happy.

Working hard mostly benefits the owners, not the employees. Working generally results in worse and worse results. If working hard is required to grow in a business, then it's probably a carrot they hold in front of you. Because the next step in that business will require you to work even harder.

If there is a way you should work then it is working effectively. Everything you do should be effective. Obviously if the effect is negative you should stop. Once your work is positive effective you can try to make it efficient, if needed.

Also don't work smart. Working smart will make things hard in the future. Working smart is being clever or cutting corners. This rarely ever pans out in software development.

I have been programming for 25+ years; full time professionally for almost 15. Working hard generally resulted in be exhausted, and then less effective thereafter. Working smart resulted in hard work days/weeks/or months down the line.
You can compare working hard with drinking beer. It has negative effects afterwards. But at least with drinking beer you usually have fun while doing it.

aumayeung profile image
John Au-Yeung

One thing we have to know that programming is so useful that we can find other ways to make money with it.

You're right. This is why we should think outside the box, unlike most people.

However, there's better with being an employee (maybe).

frankfont profile image
Frank Font

I don't know how long you've been a programmer, but I do know that your posting is full of some very good advice. For example, this cannot be emphasized enough: work hard on things that get results It's a fundamental for everything -- not just technical.

I like writing on some of these topics myself. They matter. Thanks for sharing and don't stop.

aumayeung profile image
John Au-Yeung

Thanks for reading.

Yea. We got to try different things until something sticks, but we should only double down on things that work.

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Advice from a career of 15+ years for new and beginner developers just getting started on their journey.