A Day in the Life of a Developer Bo$$
With Wes Bos, Robyn Larsen, Haris Mahmood Moderated by Dyanna Zaidman
Note: Speakers have been paraphrased
What do you think is the biggest misconception about developers?
Haris Mahmood: Devs are born ‘great’ developers. No, not true. You just learn things over time. There’s so many of us that don’t know everything. Googling is totally part of the job.
Wes Bos: As long as you put in the time, [you will be okay]. You just have to have that creative hunger.
Robyn Larsen: Devs are guys in the basement with beards [I’m a woman].
A Day in the Life
Haris Mahmood: See what’s happening in the world - check out a few blogs, scroll through your Twitter feed, follow "some fine folks", go for a walk or anything that doesn’t require you to be in front of a screen.
Robyn Larsen: Block off "no tech days" and do non-tech things; Code from 6 AM-12PM, answers emails after 12PM.
Wes Bos: Have as little as possible on my calendar for that week, and then have specific days to do all those mundane things.
On To-Do Lists
Wes Bos: If a task takes 2 minutes, do it. Immediately.
Haris Mahmood: Use anything that helps you track what you need to do. It can be a notebook, an app, anything.
Robyn Larsen: Many of my gigs right now came as a result of hustling. When I came to Toronto, much of my day was spent having 30-min coffee meetings with people that I didn’t know. Those relationships bore fruit 6 months later.
How frequently do you have to balance quality (and time)?
Wes Bos: Just get it launched. I’m just not going to get it too polished [or I won’t get anything done]
What do you think are the biggest growth challenges for tech leaders?
Robyn Larsen: Have a deep love of learning [or else you’ll be left behind].
Is business acumen important?
Wes Bos: In order to do your job well, you’ve got to know how this stuff is going to make money. If you know, you’re going to "print money" (make a lot of money for yourself
Haris Mahmood: At Shopify, we require everyone to build a Shopify store so that they know how to run a business
On Collaboration and Learning From Others
Robyn Larsen: Be humble and admit that you don’t know everything
Haris Mahmood: Everyone knows their own little bubble of stuff. There’s no one who knows 50x more than what you know, but there are 50 people who know what you may or may not know. Let those bubbles grow!
Wes Bos: Don’t be a dick and say, "Uh, I know this already". For every guy who knows it already, there will be hundreds more who probably didn’t know it.
Robyn Larsen: Conversations between stakeholders differ according to that stakeholder’s needs, e.g. engineering, business, design, etc.
What excites you most about the future of dev?
Haris Mahmood: Web dev is kinda sexy now and so many more people are getting more and more excited about it. We’re building stuff for the world. Less stigmatized as "the nerds club" and becoming getting more accessible for people.
Wes Bos: Just pick that one thing that you love, the one thing that you want to work with (the one you’d build a code-pen for), and then learn it. Specialization is the way of the future.
Robyn Larsen: Having an optimistic viewpoint.
What is the best professional advice you’ve been given?
Robyn Larsen: You will learn more from your peers than a blog post.
Haris Mahmood: Teaching is extremely, extremely valuable. It’s the fastest way to learn.