What I learned in my career developing 50+ web-projects, launching 2 startups and 2 open-source projects

How to stay productive and to be open to new opportunities

Hello readers!

My name is Oleksii Trekhleb and I’m a lead software engineer in EPAM Systems (Lviv, Ukraine).

I’ve developed 50+ web-projects, launched 2 startups of my own and started 2 open-source projects.

So what?

This article is not about getting exact job but rather about how to stay productive and to be open to new opportunities. These new opportunities might be in form of new job offers of course 🙂

So I hope that the principles that are mentioned in this article will be useful for you and once you sow them into your life you will reap some good fruits.

First of all I can’t say that I’m successful. Not at all. And the reason for that is simple – you and only you must decide what success means to you. And your definition of success will be the right one for you. Not for others. To work in outsource company? To work in product company? Work in Google? Work in small but perspective start-up? Create your own start-up? Spend more time with family? Be happy with what you’ve got? It is completely up to you. Two things we need to remember here:

  1. Try to define the definition of success for you. This will help you to prioritize your life.
  2. Be responsible for your definition of success now and in 20, 30, 40+ years from now.

The “fruits” I’ve reaped

Here are some “fruits” that I’ve “reaped” so far after “sowing” the principles, mentioned below in this article.

  1. I’ve created JavaScript Algorithms and Data Structures (https://github.com/trekhleb/javascript-algorithms) repository – the 25k+ stars project was the most trending repository of the week on GitHub (as for May 25th) and the most trending repository of the month (as for June 15th) with the peak of 5000 stars per day. This project contains ES6 based JavaScript examples of classic data-structures and algorithms for learning purpose.
  2. I’ve launched All Bible Info (http://allbible.info/) – online Bible study web-service. The project that lives by itself for 8 years already without any advertisement and it still serves for 5k+ users every day and that had users from 180 countries already.
  3. I’ve created Angular Library Seed (https://github.com/trekhleb/angular-library-seed) project that helped people to create their own Angular 2 libraries.
  4. I’ve launched Aggregatus web-service (https://aggregatus.io/) – the service that helps you to aggregate data from many web sites into one searchable, sortable and filterable collections. This one was not successful from the perspective of users but through this project I’ve learnt new technologies (for me) that in result helped me to expand my competence area from just PHP back-end development to JavaScript web/mobile development on React/ReactNative.

Again, remember about your own definitions of success. Thus if nothing from above has attracted your attntion please just skip this article and don’t read further. Really. Don’t waste your time and do something that will bring you closer to your success goals instead.

The “seeds” I’ve sowed

Find out your passion

This one is hardest for me to describe.

You need to have something inside of you that will be like engine that will make you do “things” continuously.

I like what Joyce Meyer said once. She said something like: “The things that you do every day will make you a winner. Not the things that you do occasionally”. This is so true as for me. You need to have something inside of you that will make you do “things” (do coding?) on weekends, at 5 AM, or during lunch. Something you’re ready to work on even without being paid for it.

Think about it. Do you have something you just do continuously?  Without somebody asking you or forcing you to do it. Whether it is cooking or coding or writing. Anything.

Do something continuously and not occasionally

This is tightly connected to the previous one. Set you mind to do something regularly and not occasionally. For example: “Five days of the week I’ll get up early at 6 am and I’ll learn Python during next month”.

Make “land-marks”

Do something to fix/memorize/mark your achievements. Make them visible for you and others. If you’ve learnt something – write an article about it. Share your knowledge with others. If you’ve created some project – release it so that it would become accessible. If you’ve optimized your terminal settings – upload them to GitHub, make them open-source. The main idea here is when you’ve achieved something (small or big) just fix it somehow and make it visible.

First of all this may serve others. It will also give you a feeling that you’re not wasting your time but you’re actually achieved something and this something is measurable.

Write articles

This one again is connected to previous topic. The main idea here is that when you try to write an article about your product or about something you’ve learnt this will make your unstructured thoughts in your head to become strictly structured, prioritized and concise. You’ll be surprised how hard is to structure the thoughts from your head on the paper. And afterwards you’ll be surprised that after writing an article the topic you’ve wrote about will be much clearer for you.

Learn/try something new

Subscribe to your niche groups in social media (Twitter, Facebook) or to your niche tags in blogs like Medium. The goal here is to stay in touch with new technologies and trends. It is not about reading tons of information every day. It may even harm you and steal your precious time. But rather to do it time from time. Just not to stay in the past.

After you’ve noticed something new and better don’t be afraid to try it. Try React instead of Angular (or vice-versa), try Lumen instead of Silex (or vice-versa), try Python instead of PHP (or vice-versa)…

80% rule

Don’t try to make it perfect. Make it 80% done and move on. If you’re going to release something don’t get it done up until 100%. It may cost you a lot of your precious time.

Try to get up early

This one might be personal. But at least you may try it. I found out that brain works much faster and clearer during the morning hours (starting from 5 or 6 am) than during the evening. For me personally, I’ve noticed that I’m doing the same tasks in the morning almost twice faster than in the evening. Probably because the morning time is quite and free from distractions and your brain is fresh and not overloaded by daily routines.    

Surround yourself with people that are better than you

This will give you an opportunity to grow. Every day. By just looking at what people do and how do they do it. Accept their criticism. It may not be comfortable to be surrounded by better people because you will always feel like you’re stupid. But again, this is the process of growth. Once you become a best one in your team you’ll probably notice that your growth is slowed down.

Surround yourself with people that motivates you

It may be your wife, your friend or your boss. Doesn’t matter. But surround yourself with the people who will challenge you to go out from your comfort zone and do something new, hard or unknown. The people who will support you in your deeds.

Conclusion

I really hope that these seeds/principles will help you. By sowing them into your life I believe you’ll reap:

  • Professional growth (you’ll become higher paid professional)
  • New opportunities (in form of job offers for example)
  • New people (that may encourage you to start new profitable project)
  • Fun (it is always fun to learn something new and to move on 🙂

Have a nice career!

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