Why bother presenting as a developer?

Preslav Mihaylov on June 16, 2018

This week, I was invited to give a talk at Questers about the topic - Why should we bother presenting as developers? The reason I gave this talk... [Read Full]
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To some degree I agree with your views,but the best developers don't have to live and breath code. Most don't bother with it outside of work, if you're confident about your skills and knowledge you don't have to prove it to anyone. Some people enjoy extra curricular activities, and they should also be praised! But yes, the crux of your post is the way you present yourself, and as with anything in life, a little bit of self confidence and arrogance will definitely help your "image"


I'd say directness more than arrogance. Arrogance is generally blind to what it doesnt know.

Still, I agree. The growing "brand obsession" might be a little overboard. You don't need to do a TED talk to build a strong professional network (not that it hurts either, or the author was suggesting it).


Great article. I agree that finding the balance of work and marketing is important for long-term success. Even as a junior, writing and speaking about my journey in learning more and how I handle advancing is a way to be a "hustler" while still learning. We all have a story we're telling ourselves as we work, but we also gain something by sharing it.


We all ought to become managers. That is the next step in our careers.

What? How is that? Most talented developers would never want to become managers.

Also, the best presentation is the code. Do open source, share knowledge to your fellow devs. I do not hesitate to do conference talks sometimes, but only for sharing knowledge, not for any kind of promoting myself.

There are two main reasons for that: I love coding, and I basically do not want to promote myself. I want to promote the good and clever solutions, nifty hacks and all that stuff.


The thing about we all ought to be managers is meant to suggest the author talking with a fellow programmer, who doesn't agree with his claims.

In the next bit, I say that you can benefit from presenting even if you don't want to be a manager.

Now when I look at it, it does seem a bit ambiguous.

Thanks for the feedback.


Really nice article Preslav, I really like the diagram of talk vs work.

It's a fine balance, but I think as you say, the antidote to the charlatan side is to do more work, authentically. Thanks for sharing dude :)


I couldn't agree more with this article.

I see the profiles that you mention on a daily basis. Sometimes I feel very bad for all the developers in status "Martyr".

Finally, I think we have a lot of opportunities, all companies around the world are looking for new talent and we can learn after every interview to improve our communications skills. Therefore, if you aren't happy with your current job to go ahead and find another opportunity.


Thanks for sharing these great ideas, I think I'm the martyr type. I have social anxiety that stuck me there, but I use blogging and LinkedIn to make up the marketing part, it works, but marketing is also needed in the work place.


I'm very glad to see you putting effort in that way!

I had the same problem, when I started out.

What helped me was throwing myself in the deep by starting to lead presentations in front of high-school students. It can be quite painful, but it helps a lot! :)


I think the problem I have with speaking is that despite being IMO pretty good at what I do, I'm not exceptional to the point where I'm an authority on anything in particular. So I could go and bang on about Vue or Laravel or SQL or whatever, but chances are someone knows it a lot better, and can say it a lot better than me.


Hey Andrew,

thanks for reaching out!

I understand how you're feeling as I've been in the same position and still am in certain areas.

For me, this has two solutions:
1) The thing is, that there are different audiences. Sure, the things you might say to one audience might be totally irrelevant for them. For example, leading an "Introduction to Spring" lecture in front of seasoned Java professionals. But the same topic can be extremely relevant to a conference/event, which is targeted at beginners.

E.g. Code camps are an excellent example. Normally, people who attend them (in my experience) aren't as proficient and are in the process of learning programming in the moment. One of my presentations I've done at a code camp was creating a Snake game from scratch (console app). And it was a blast! People enjoyed it and I got positive feedback from them.
And all the knowledge you need for doing it is some language construct basics (loops, conditionals, methods, etc.)

Blog post about the talk: pmihaylov.com/ultimate-challenge/

2) Another variant is to present about new technologies, which even seasoned professionals might not know anything about. E.g. Making a presentation about the newest JS Framework, which came out 2 months ago. Or a presentation about "New things in C++ 19" (There is no such thing of course), or "What's new about Ecmascript XX" (Substitute XX with the newest version).

All you have to do for this variant is to spend a good amount of time researching and playing with some new technology and you are good to go.

if (TL;DR) then
There is always a right audience for any skill set/knowledge base.
Or you might go the trend-driven way by talking about new tech.
Hope this helps!


Great article Preslav!

You have put together what I have been trying to say for the last few years.

It's easy to believe that the most knowledgeable and tech savvy devs get the job. I know because I used to believe that for almost 10 years.

Other awesome side effects of presenting include:

  • improved communication skills
  • networking (already implied in article)
  • self-confidence booster
  • having fun
  • among others

Meritocracy is a myth in our industry.


Thanks Jose!

And the things you mentioned are TOTALLY true. Especially the self-confidence booster. That I experienced personally. :)


So, to you a guy over 40 is a dead zombie???
I'm 47, I am a mining technician, worked for 12 years on this field, (lots of math).
I a got an Associates degree in IT just to see how things are and the paths to choose (lots of opportunities in this field).
I feel fresh and committed to my new goal, to become a GREAT developer at 47.
I work hard, I am an active person, mentally and physically.
I believe anyone can become great at anything at any age.
Sorry pal, but your article sucks. Ageism is even a crime by the way. Age discrimination based on pure BS.


It seems there is some kind of misunderstanding.

In this article, I stated exactly the opposite - that you CAN become a great developer despite your age and the story of the guy in the Hustler section presents exactly that point.


"Do you have a friend, who wants to become a programmer and is 25 or 30 years of age?

If that guy has will and believes in himself, he probably knows that he can become a good programmer even given his late starting age. But does he believe he can become great?"

Then you say a 27 year old guy....blah, blah....

27 year old (are you kidding me), at this age I was 300ft underground mininig gold for Anglo American Corp. and on my spare time studying math and having fun with it...
Only now at 47 I felt the desire to become a FullStackWD and I feel awesome. I know at least a handful of great web developers who started by their mid 40's.

Age definitely is not a problem.
Sillicon Valley mentality is.

Thank God is changing.




Nice post but it's a long one. I think you could gotten the same ideas across with fewer words.


Agree, but pretty convincing to me 🀨 nonetheless


6am? I have to get up at 4:30 just to do my hair/etc and be at the office by 7:30. The struggle is real.

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