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Leveling Up #3

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speric opened this Issue Aug 15, 2013 · 5 comments

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speric commented Aug 15, 2013

Hi @pengwynn. A couple of things for you:

I am interested in your thoughts about leveling up in a development job (I'm a Ruby dev). Not only in terms of becoming a better craftsman, but also a good employee and coworker, and all the intangible, soft skills those require, especially when working remotely.

Also, I have been thinking for a while about organizing some sort of "Christians in technology" group with some friends. The goal would be to network, and facilitate discussions about being a Christian in the industry. I have no idea the shape it will take (piggyback a conference, podcast). Does the idea in general sound interesting?

Thanks for your time.

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pengwynn Aug 15, 2013

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Hi, there, @speric.

One of the truths I wish I had figured out earlier in my career is that software development is still a people business. Winsome persuasion is still required as long as you're working with other people. "How to Win Friends and Influence People" taught me a great deal on how to genuinely take an interest in others.

“People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care” -- John C. Maxwell

Working in development, especially in a leadership role, often means working alongside (and under) non-technical people. Establishing trust with "stakeholders" means speaking their language. A healthy dose of analogies have been a big help in communicating with those folks.

Non-technical managers often don't understand the way technical people self organize. I recommend "Leading Geeks" to understand and help others understand why we tend to gravitate to the smartest geek in the room when decisions need to be made, regardless of any established hierarchy.

I've worked remotely for the last 7+ years. I don't think it requires a different set of skills, just an elevated use of some of them:

  • Writing. As a remote worker, so much of your communication is done via email, chat, issues, and other written forms of communication. Making your point means getting to it quickly and laying it out clearly.
  • Self-direction. As a remote worker you tend to have less MBWA. This means it's up to you to set your goals and ensure you're working on what's important to the org. As a Christian this means knowing who you ultimately work for.
  • Choosing communication channels. When you need info or want to share something you've discovered, it's natural to just grab someone and want to ask/share in real time. Remote work really scales when you favor async communication. Having a dedicated chat room for watercooler conversation or getting out of the house and co-working with other Real Live Humans™ is also critical.

I think getting together with other Christians is a great way to discuss not only how to defend the faith, but how to serve the industry to which we've been called. At GitHub, a small group of us are currently doing an online book club for "Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God's Work" and it's been a blessing.

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pengwynn commented Aug 15, 2013

Hi, there, @speric.

One of the truths I wish I had figured out earlier in my career is that software development is still a people business. Winsome persuasion is still required as long as you're working with other people. "How to Win Friends and Influence People" taught me a great deal on how to genuinely take an interest in others.

“People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care” -- John C. Maxwell

Working in development, especially in a leadership role, often means working alongside (and under) non-technical people. Establishing trust with "stakeholders" means speaking their language. A healthy dose of analogies have been a big help in communicating with those folks.

Non-technical managers often don't understand the way technical people self organize. I recommend "Leading Geeks" to understand and help others understand why we tend to gravitate to the smartest geek in the room when decisions need to be made, regardless of any established hierarchy.

I've worked remotely for the last 7+ years. I don't think it requires a different set of skills, just an elevated use of some of them:

  • Writing. As a remote worker, so much of your communication is done via email, chat, issues, and other written forms of communication. Making your point means getting to it quickly and laying it out clearly.
  • Self-direction. As a remote worker you tend to have less MBWA. This means it's up to you to set your goals and ensure you're working on what's important to the org. As a Christian this means knowing who you ultimately work for.
  • Choosing communication channels. When you need info or want to share something you've discovered, it's natural to just grab someone and want to ask/share in real time. Remote work really scales when you favor async communication. Having a dedicated chat room for watercooler conversation or getting out of the house and co-working with other Real Live Humans™ is also critical.

I think getting together with other Christians is a great way to discuss not only how to defend the faith, but how to serve the industry to which we've been called. At GitHub, a small group of us are currently doing an online book club for "Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God's Work" and it's been a blessing.

@pengwynn pengwynn closed this Aug 15, 2013

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speric Aug 15, 2013

Thanks, @pengwynn. Great advice and book recommendations. I hadn't seen the Keller book before. I am going to pick it up.

Any advice specific to leveling up in Ruby?

speric commented Aug 15, 2013

Thanks, @pengwynn. Great advice and book recommendations. I hadn't seen the Keller book before. I am going to pick it up.

Any advice specific to leveling up in Ruby?

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pengwynn Aug 17, 2013

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Instead of just giving you a list of books or screencasts, can you assess where you think you are in your own Ruby uptake? Did you come from another language? What parts are the most fuzzy yet?

Maybe I can give some targeted advice.

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pengwynn commented Aug 17, 2013

Instead of just giving you a list of books or screencasts, can you assess where you think you are in your own Ruby uptake? Did you come from another language? What parts are the most fuzzy yet?

Maybe I can give some targeted advice.

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speric Aug 22, 2013

I wasn't thinking of anything specific. I always find it interesting to see what books, screen casts or other resources people use to improve themselves.

speric commented Aug 22, 2013

I wasn't thinking of anything specific. I always find it interesting to see what books, screen casts or other resources people use to improve themselves.

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