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How did I get here?

If you were to do it all again, would you change anything?

There are times in everyone’s lives where we look back and reflect on past events. There are many life-changing events and they vary from buying your first house to choosing your professional career.  While looking back at these events, you can’t help but wonder about things like:  Am I on the right track? Did I make the right decision? What if I hadn’t done that?

In this blog, I’ll share key points that come to my mind when I look back at my professional career as a Software Developer.  If I could go back in time, would I do anything differently?

Was school worth it?

This is a controversial question in my line of work as a lot of people do not recommend college and graduate school if you are trying to be a software engineer.  The argument is that most required skills to get the job done can be self-taught or learned at a fraction of the cost of going to college or graduate school. While this might be true to some extent, there are still many skills that you pick up in school that are invaluable for the job.  If I were to go back in time, I would still choose to go to college and graduate school as I gained a number of soft skills like: thinking about a problem from several angles/perspectives; doing thorough research instead of giving in to the temptation of premature conclusion; and most importantly, patience.

Dealing with imposter syndrome

According to Wikipedia, Imposter syndrome is a psychological pattern where an individual doubts their skills, talents, or accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. I’m sure there are many people have experienced this in your professional careers.  There may be some of you who have experienced this feeling but are hearing this term for the first time.  I was in the same boat as you when I was fresh out of school starting a new job as a Software Developer at TalentQuest. It quickly dawned on me that I had a lot to learn if I was going to make a valuable contribution to the team and the projects that we were working on. Looking back at it now, this was a natural reaction for any individual who finds themselves in a new and unfamiliar situation.  Particularly when starting a new job.  At the time, it made me question myself, my skills and abilities. So, if I were to back in time and give myself some advice or if you find yourself with this feeling, I’d say:

Ask questions!

Don’t be scared of feeling like you’re the dumbest person in the room (I can assure that you aren’t.  I can also guarantee that someone else had the same question but was afraid to ask!).  Consider it to be a blessing in disguise.  After all, that is how you grow and learn the most.

Set short term goals and compare yourself to six months ago

I frequently find myself looking at old software that I had worked on in the past and say to myself, “Oh boy! I can’t believe I built this; this is awful! I hope no one ever finds out that I built this 😐”. That’s when you know that you are improving.

I’m sure my list of key events will get longer as I continue to grow and develop.  I plan to look back on this blog a few years from now and think about how far I’ve come.  How about you?  If you were to do it all again, would you change anything?

Track goals and improve performance. 

Amritraj is a Software Developer at TalentQuest. His interests involve software architecture, design and algorithms, and decentralized applications. He also has a background in blockchain and smart contract research with several published articles in reputable journals and conferences.

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