Rock Star Secrets For Developers

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?

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Comments

  1. BY James says:

    With 913,000 people competing for every jobs, sounds like to me IT is not field to go into, right now.

    • BY Mark Feffer says:

      The 913,000 figure doesn’t mean each job has 913,000 applications. The BLS reports that in 2010, there were 913,000 employed software developers.

      • BY James says:

        I stand corrected, I thought she was talking about unemployed software developers. I guest this is telling employed software developer how to become rock stars before they become unemployed.

  2. BY JustinLReid says:

    Forums, meetings, and other methods of maintaining correspondence are great; when they get you a job. What I think the biggest problem in tech (and in many STEM fields right now) is the lack of opportunity for those that have just got into the professional arena. Most of the job posts on this site and others require 3+ years of real world experience before hiring, which even many computer science majors don’t have. Sure being a part of open source projects and coding stuff on your own motivation is great, but do I still have to live in my parents house for the next 3 years before I’m considered good enough to be employed?

  3. BY RMS says:

    “Luck” = being in the right place at the right time; usually because your path crosses with someone who can assist you in career success.

    There are many very good musicians who never hit it big because they are not in the right place at the right time.

    There are many not-very-good musicians who hit it big because they are in the right place at the right time; usually with some sort of unique “gimmick”, etc.

    The same can be said for software engineers and such.

  4. BY Walter Meyer II says:

    Luck is when opportunity meets preparation ! The opportunities are out there. . . be prepared for them !

    Alliances are crucial, find an excellant technical recruiter and stay with them as much as possible. BUT always remember, their best interest will ofter run counter to what is in your best interest and NEVER be afraid to move on. Jobs will come and go, but these relationships last forever.

    Find the places and opportunities that help you in cultivating and nurturing your ideas. It’s your ideas and creative thinking that will get you the ROCK STAR label. Code is code, their are millions of “programmers”. The key is “Solutions”, can you solve the problem ? Can you do it faster and more elegantly than the “programmers” in your shop.

    Don’t be a “programmer”, be a Developer of Solutions !!

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