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13. The path to being a 10X software engineer

In this episode, Asim responds to listener questions about how they can build a successful and fulfilling career as a software engineer—a 10X software engineer. There is a lot of information out there regarding tips and tricks, but ultimately it boils down to developing rare and valuable skills that set you apart from others. You have to be deliberate and disciplined about it. The reward is worth the effort.

You must invest time and energy into honing your craft before the real passion and enjoyment comes. It can be a struggle before that. How do you hone in your craft? You must practice every single day.

  • Find opportunities to work with software engineers who have distinguished themselves in their craft.
  • Earlier on in your career, focus more on the kind of work you will do that helps you stand out, and develop rare skills that make you stand out, as opposed to going for the big salary/title/company hype.
  • Work on side projects, ideally open source projects. Build something outside work that you are passionate about.
  • Go deep in a particular domain, e.g. fintech, healthtech, infra, etc.
  • Specialize in skills that are in short supply, e.g., ML/AI/data engineering.
  • Get great at refactoring and turnaround. Not easy, but most great opportunities out there need it.
  • Attend meetups and participate in hackathons to keep yourself sharp.
  • Be a collaborator and a problem solver and not the complainer and fault finder.
  • Own every aspect of your code – performance, reliability, quality, cost and more.
  • Surround yourself with people you respect and learn from.
  • Have a growth mindset.

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