4 Career Tips for Web Developers from a Chief Architect

Chris Kinsman is the founder and chief architect of PushSpring. This company offers mobile audience targeting that is relevant and accurate for companies using data. He is a technology expert in architecture and SaaS. Be versatile. No longer can you be a specialist and only use one technology. You need to be able to use a variety languages and technologies in order to excel as a developer today. It’s better to have broad knowledge than to be specialized in one area, especially when you’re working in a small company or start-up. It’s actually a good idea to have someone who excels in a particular technology area. It’s more beneficial for a company to have five developers who can handle all aspects of a project. This is in contrast to five developers who are only able to do frontend work or database work. Understanding when good enough is enough. “The best writing is rewriting,” which means that writing is not always good. Programming is no different. It takes iteration and many revisions to get “perfection.” It is unrealistic to expect perfect code the first time. Development is a continuous improvement process. Incessant updates to a project allow you to respond to changing requirements, rather than waiting for it to be fully developed. You should do the best you can with what resources you have and then move on (at least temporarily). There are many ways to learn code. To speed up learning, it is a good idea to look for similarities in the languages you are learning. Learning one language can help you understand the other, since the basic concepts of most languages are the same. Loops are loops. All programming languages have conditionals and arrays. Many languages, such as the C type family (C++, C# Java and JavaScript), have similar syntax. You can learn one language and read the other with relative ease if you have a good grasp of it. It is important to keep a student mindset. Coding is both a language and a way to think. Learning a language helps you to understand how to interact with it. Take the information you have learned in each language and use it to help you learn the language you are currently studying. You’ll find that there are many things you can share with other languages. This is how you become a great coder. Chris was promoted from a role in software engineering to a management position. He quickly learned a new skill, which was sometimes difficult, which was working with people. Chris traded hours of writing code for hours in the office. After five years, he realized that he wasn’t enjoying his job and wanted to return to his passion of writing code. Chris decided to jump on the management train and go to a start up where he was the fourth employee. He also joked that while it may not be applicable to everyone, “Just cause you’re a great developer doesn’t mean that you’re a great manger.” The key takeaway is that it’s worth following what you love and what you’re good in, rather than being stuck in a job just because it pays the bills.