In the U.S., there’s 176,200 musicians. But only a few hundred famous musicians at most. Software developers are in the same boat, with 913,100 of us currently in the workforce and that figure expected to increase by approximately 30 percent in 2020.
In other words, there’ll be more people in software development competing for jobs, speaking opportunities at conferences, and the same chance to write amazing software that will change the world.
If you want to be a rock star, you have to be more than a good musician. And if you want to be a rock star in the IT world, you have to be more than a good software developer.
Competent is great. Able to write code is good. Able to work on a team is helpful. But together those things won’t get you rock star status. And with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics saying the number of software developers are expected to grow 30 percent between 2010 to 2020 and, hence, the need to fill those positions, taking tips from the rock stars of the world is a good thing.
If you want to be a rock star, you have to go beyond good. You also have to learn to do the things that rock stars do:
- Work hard. It’s a dream. Work at it. Not 9-5, but whenever you can. Your day job is just the beginning. Think of all the software you can build at night and on weekends. And all that software is for you and your career.
- Be at the right place at the right time. Showing up matters. Opportunity won’t find you unless you’re where it looks. For a lot of people that means moving to Silicon Valley. For others, it means be on the right web forums or the right virtual channels. Seek out the hard problems and the active thinkers – those are the right place.
- Recognize opportunity. Take the chance, and take the risk. Even if that means you work toward a dream in the evenings. Something hard and exciting and cool is worth the extra effort.
- Engage in tireless self-promotion. This is not the same as bragging. This is submitting patches to projects under your own (consistent) name. This is responding to people on forums and showing you know what you’re talking about. This is agreeing to give that local User Group presentation even though they can’t pay you.
- Be lucky. There’s still luck involved. Fortunately, everything else makes luck more likely.
How do you stand out from that crowd? What makes you a rock star?
- Occupational Outlook Handbook Software Developers [U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics]