Principle Of Compounding Interest In Your Career

James Hickey on May 15, 2019

Will It Ever Grow? Whenever you start investing in growing your career you might decide to do things like: Blogging Building side-proj... [Read Full]
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I can totally relate to this story. Some years ago I was doing some work on very old Java frameworks and hated them. I stared learning ruby on rails at nights and weekends while doing side projects. Also, I started blogging. Recruiters find me because of the posts. I was able to land a much better job thanks to that and show my side projects as experience in that new programming language. Later I rode the all JavaScript train and started blogging about that. I received an offer to write a book with a publishing house and it was a great experience. So, things really compound and one take you to the next one. The key is to be consistent and always keep learning and sharing what you learn with others


Nice! It's pretty cool that you were able to pivot quite a number of times 💪


This is ridiculous, why does one have to live for programming to be successful in this industry? What other industry is like this? There are so many well careers jobs such as Mechanical Engineering or Aerospace Engineering where you clock out at 5 and have a life outside work. You don't see them writing blogs and doing more work-related stuff outside work.

You say that "doing your job" alone was not sufficient to progress in your career, so you did a bunch of work-related stuff outside work. I personally think it's silly that in order to be successful in this industry you have to do all these extra things you mentioned. What happens to people who have hobbies outside of programming?


I never said this was a "good" or "bad" thing. It's just the way it is.

I also never said you have to do these things to be "successful", which is a very subjective term.

Some people are ambitious with their career, some aren't. That's fine.

Let's reverse your question: is it fair that those who bust their butts to learn new skills, improve the ones they have, build a reputation and gain a diverse range of experience ought to move ahead in their careers relatively quicker than those who don't?

Would a company rather hire someone who's aquired those extra valuable skills and experience or not?

So again, I've never made any ethical arguments. It's the just the way the world works. Companies need to hire people who can produce certain results. If you can't prove yourself, then how do you expect companies to hire you?

Wouldn't you rather hire a well-known construction company who has a great track record and can show you many examples of sucessful houses they've built, rather than a company that no one has ever heard of and can't show you any previous results?

For a company, hiring a software engineer can be more costly than building a house (relatively speaking)! So then, they better be careful who they hire...

Or, if you owned large a company that needed to drastically change the way it does marketing, would you rather hire Seth Godin or someone who's been working for a relatively unknown market firm for the last 10 years?

These examples also lead me to disagree that it's only applicable in our industry.

I would say that the effects of doing the extra work is more impactful in our industry, especially given the saturation of developers in the market, but it's a matter of degree vs. having an effect at all/not.

I felt the same as you - I have 8 young children dude! You have no idea how busy I am... If anyone should be upset about this, it's me!

But instead of getting upset over what other people are doing/not doing, what my limitations are, and thinking about why I am not progressing like others, I'm taking action in ways that I am able - it's all I can do, right?

No one should be upset if I plant my own garden, as it were, and am able to harvest my own crops?

If you don't want to learn on the side, that's fine. There's no obligation.

But don't get upset if you see other developers putting the work in and landing better jobs and building their careers. For those who would rather not, that's fine.

Again, it's not about "successful" vs "not successful", it's about "if you value progression in your career beyond where you are, then here are some ways to go about doing it."

Thanks for the comment! I suspect many feel the same way, so it's great feedback 👌


Yeah i like the part in planting seeds and giving back is the way to go that is how I feel as well.

Besides writing, I help out alot in developer communities and teaching for personal development & networking reasons.


Imagine waking up one morning and realize that, for some reason, you can't or don't want to follow that path anymore. And start this process all over again!


I don't think you would "start over", since the idea here is that you are proving to the community at large that you competant and can product results. Building a reputation is more about showing people what you are capable of doing, but you just happen to be focusing on some specific area for now.

Adrian's comment highlights that you can pivot if that's something you want to do!

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