No Matter Where You Are or What You’re Doing, You Can Always Grow as a Developer

There are so many opportunities to advance your career


Zachary Minott

2 years ago | 4 min read

The Hurricane

At the height of his boxing career, Rubin “Hurricane” Carter’s life took a straight nosedive into a pit of despair after being wrongly accused of a heinous crime he didn’t commit: triple homicide.

Most people would crumble underneath the pressure of such an unfortunate situation, but not Carter. Upon arriving in prison, he made it clear to the warden that he was not a prisoner because he will not nor will ever be powerless.

What Carter declined to surrender — his attitude, his beliefs, his choices — allowed him to grow stronger, more persistent, and better than he ever had been. He was able to redirect all the energy that would normally be spent towards self-pity and channel it into sharpening his mind and spirit through books that would ultimately help build his legal case. 19 years later, he had his sentence rescinded and resumed his life.

We may not face situations as grim as Carter’s but one thing is for sure, we always have a decision in the way we react to life. Our decisions shape our destiny and either fortify or diminish our spirit. No matter what situation you find yourself in, you are never powerless.

The Prison of Circumstance

In our careers as developers, we often aspire to work at highly reputable companies or promising startups riddled with talent and great leadership. When the reality of our work doesn’t meet the standards of our expectations or dreams in our work environment, we tend to get discouraged and coast on by. We allow all external factors in our life to bog us down.

I know a plethora of promising developers that end up in the “wrong” place resulting in them falling behind because they lack “passion” or “drive.” They become prisoners of circumstance, unable to move forward and create new opportunities. They follow a path opposite of that of Carter and therefore become locked in a prison of their own making.

Way too many developers out there depend on great leadership, status, or a good education to help accelerate and grow their careers. Truth is, your personal growth doesn’t concern itself with where you are.

Your personal growth depends more on where you want to be and what you’ll decide to do to get there. The question then lies in whether or not you’re concentrating on what you deserve vs. what’s in your power and what career you can earn for yourself.

I’ve worked at two failed startups. I went to a university that followed a computer science curriculum that wasn’t designed to output tech geniuses, engineering gurus, nor innovative minds. Yet, I managed to excel as a developer at my current company, set records, and receive a position as a senior architect and lead developer in a matter of two years.

I didn’t become the developer I am today because of where I worked nor how I learned. I became the developer I am today despite my past work experiences.

Breaking Free

I said it before and I’ll say it again, you don’t need a fantastic education nor a fantastic job to grow into a fantastic developer that’s both capable of extraordinary feats and holstering volumes of responsibility on their shoulders like a champ.

Instead of relying on experience to educate you, why don’t you rely on yourself to grow? You need to lead yourself. You need to force yourself to transform and evolve. You need to create your own opportunities, not wait for them to just float on by and present themselves to you.

Nothing came easy to me. During college, I balanced being a student-athlete with my own personal studies. With any free time I had in my day, I’d hop on my computer and zone in on learning game development or some other technology, clean code, and design principles/patterns.

I would get up extra early in my day before practice and read. I invested in myself, and it paid off big time by giving me an edge over others. I understood the importance of hard work and sharpening my mind in more ways than one.

When it came to the real world, I kicked off my development career at two separate dumpster-fire of startups. The first one, I was tasked with building an entire augmented reality app of my own without the guidance of a superior. At the second one, I was treated very poorly at a company that lacked organization, direction, or intelligent leadership. Yet, I’m thankful. It gave me more time to flex my mind.

They opened my eyes to what makes a company fail. They made me realize that I have the power to rise to the occasion and make a difference through my actions. They ingrained in me the idea that you can’t solely rely on anyone but yourself to build your career and expand your development/coding/leadership skills. The experience is merely there, every single day, as an opportunity to practically expand your skillset.

Growing as a developer requires nothing more than taking ownership of your own education, your own actions, and your own fate.

That simply means speaking up when you have an opinion or insight to give to a solution. That means being bold in expressing yourself through your coding practice. That means being humble enough to learn from your own mistakes, the code you write in comparison to the code someone more skilled than you wrote, and any constructive criticism thrown your way.

That means opening your mind to find opportunities in a grim work situation. That means finding the time in your day to become 1% better than you were yesterday — be it through online courses, reading, watching educational videos/lectures, or having a candid conversation with one of your more tech-savvy superiors.

The opportunity to grow is always there, despite your environment. The question then is: Will you seize it? Will you be like Rubin “Hurricane” Carter and control the trajectory of your own fate?


Created by

Zachary Minott







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