This year I was lucky enough to be a speaker at the SymfonyCon 2022 conference in Disneyland Paris. I was honored to be invited to this very special edition and made a brand new talk for this conference: 7 Lessons You Can Learn From Disney Movies. Yes, it was completely themed to the location of the conference.
During that talk, I shared several important lessons, such as the need to set goals, the fact that you are not alone and there’s always someone that can help you, and that you sometimes need to take risks to make the next step. But there’s one thing I mentioned that really seemed to resonate, as I got feedback from several people afterward about this.
The different perspective
The thing that really seemed to resonate was that everyone needs to see things from a different perspective on a regular basis. And one of the examples that I mentioned was that senior developers need the input of a less senior developer. Because as senior developers, you sometimes get so stuck in your own perspective that sometimes a fresh perspective really helps. Of course, you have a lot of experience, and you’ve been able to enhance your skills for a long time, but that doesn’t make you right all the time. So, senior developers, take your medior and junior colleagues more seriously and listen to their arguments with an open mind. They’re also not always right, but their input can help you improve your code.
Ways to share your story
Of course, the next question then is: How can I, as a junior or medior developer, share my story? Well, there’s a lot of different ways how you can do this. So let’s list some:
- Speak up at work
- Start a blog
- Visit a user group
- Speak at a user group
The list is a lot longer, but I want to focus on these four examples.
Speak up at work
I know this can be hard. I know senior developers can sometimes feel overwhelming, or even intimidating, because of all the experiences they’ve had, all the skills that they’ve built over the years. But really, your voice matters as well. As I mentioned earlier, seniors sometimes get stuck in doing things a certain way that they don’t realize maybe there are other ways of solving a problem. Your input can help get them unstuck. So next time you’re listening to a senior developer blabbing about how we need to fix this problem in this way because it worked the last 10 times while you know there is another way to do things, speak up. Tell them about your idea.
Start a blog
Now, this is probably one of the easiest ways of sharing your stories. Thanks to Medium.com and WordPress.com it’s really easy to start a new blog. Or, if you want to keep control of your own data, installing WordPress, Bolt, or any other blogging software on a VPS or shared host is not that hard either. After you’ve set up your blog, it’s a matter of writing. Write about stuff you encounter at work, about things you’ve found in a hobby project, about the stuff that interests you but you haven’t even really been able to work with. It doesn’t matter that you’ve not an expert on the topic. It is especially valuable if people that are new to things share their experience.
Visit a user group
If there is a user group in your area, schedule a visit to the user group. Just being there, being able to ask questions after the speaker is done, and being able to talk to other visitors, that is already valuable. You’ll learn from it, and you’re able to share your experiences when speaking to other visitors. That might create connections that last a lifetime, or help you advance in your career.
Speak at a user group
If you have a topic that you’re passionate about, that you’ve had some experience with or that you really like and want to share with others, why not speak about it? Yes, this is a bit more work as you have to prepare the talk, but sometimes user groups have lightning talks (where your presentation only has to be 10-15 minutes). Or maybe you can already do a 30-45 minute talk about a subject. As I said when talking about starting a blog, you don’t have to be an expert on the topic you’re speaking about. Share YOUR story with this subject. Because your story will be different from the stories of others, people will learn from you. It might make them think. And when you’ve triggered that, you’ve won the speaking game.
Please, share your story
Your story is valuable. Your story is your story. It is different from the stories of other developers. A different use case, a different solution, a different perspective. Your perspective matters. So, next year, sign up to write for 24 Days In December, and share your story. I’m looking forward to reading it.