How do you Define Success as a Software Developer

What does success mean to you in your career as a Software Devloper

I had a personal situation that transpired yesterday and while I won’t get into the details of that here, It did inspire me to write this article. What I do want to share with you is the amazing advice a person in a position of leadership gave to a friend.


There was one person involved that was forced into questioning where they were in their career and whether or not they were successful. The person on the other end of the conversation gave some excellent advice and this is what you can expect from great leaders. 

He asked, “How do you define success?”. This is a fantastic question and I want to dive into this today from a Software Engineer perspective.

I saw this drawing on Twitter and got a real good laugh out of it. My next thought was… Wow, I’m a dork. Thanks to David Neal (@reverentgeek) for the drawing 

Question: How many of these IDE’s are you using?

Tech Elevator Meetup Summary

Last night I was lucky enough to be asked to speak on a panel at Tech Elevator. The panel was made up of Senior Developers from the area and it was to a group of Jr. developers. The presentation was Lessons I’ve Learned in my programming career. It was great to talk to developers that are in the same spot I was in 15+ years ago and I really hope my advice was good for them to hear.

















We had a list of questions that the moderator was going to ask us as well as questions from the audience. These are the questions and I thought some of them were really good. I am actually going to try and create some you YouTube videos with my answers to these and get them posted. Thanks again to everyone who came out.

  • Why did you decide to be a developer?
  • What was your first role as a developer? Talk about the career path and/or phases (junior dev to senior dev).
  • Types of industries and how they compliment strengths students may have (they all have completed the StrengthsFinder assessment)
  • Job titles and what they mean.
  • What’s it like working for a startup vs corporate vs mid size?
  • What’s the biggest misconception about being a developer?
  • What’s one thing you would have done differently?
  • What other dev-related roles within a company should students be considering?
  • How can students get involved in the local tech community? Meetups, etc.
  • How can students continue to learn and grow their skills?
  • Where can a student be embraced by senior developers as a learner?
  • What is the hardest thing about being a developer?
  • What type of person does it take to be a developer?
  • What’s the difference between a really great developer and an average developer?
  • What advice would you give to someone just entering the field?
  • What kind of things do you look for in a team/organization that you are considering joining?
  • What are your favorite tools / technologies / platforms to work with and why?
  • What are your favorite kinds of projects to work on?
  • What are your least favorite kinds of projects to work on?
  • What was the most important lesson that you have learned as a developer? How did you learn it?

Speaking on a Panel on Monday

I just wanted to send out one more reminder before the big event. I am so honored to be speaking on a panel to younger developers on Monday at Tech Elevator. I have a set of questions that I am preparing for but there is also time for some Q&A. If you are in the area I hope you will come to the presentation and please come introduce yourself after the talk.

Tech Elevator Panel Discussion

I am so excited to announce that I have been invited to Tech Elevator for a panel discussion on September 19, 2016. This is going to be a panel of Senior Developers in the area to welcome in the new class of students. We are going to basically be answering questions and reflecting on our careers. I had a chance to visit Tech Elevator awhile back and I was really impressed and excited about what they are doing. I might see if we can get some pictures and or clips of the discussion but either way I will share all of the details with you when it’s complete.

I absolutely love teaching and inspiring others so you can imagine how excited I am for this. If for some strange reason you are one of the new students and actually reading my blog PLEASE come up and introduce yourself.

2016 Favorite Programming YouTubers

I threw this question out on reddit this morning and so I thought I would also ask you guys.

What programmers are you following on YouTube? I am looking to create a list of programmers who are active on YouTube. They could be sharing their thoughts on the industry and or creating tutorials that help others out. If you guys can help me out I will share my list here when I am done putting it together. Thanks and have a great day!

I really want to put a list together of the content developers want to watch. They don’t need to be rock stars in the industry just normal programmers like you and I are just fine. Leave me a comment, tweet at me or whatever you have to do. Thanks!

Tech Elevator: Coding Boot Camp in Cleveland

I had the pleasure of meeting with Tech Elevator this week and I want to spend a few minutes telling you about it. I have no doubt that this one of the many startups in Cleveland that have a bright future ahead of them. The tech scene here in Cleveland has really started to grow like crazy over the last 10 years. With that growth there is a real need for Software Developers and the demand has outgrown the supply. In Cuyahoga County alone there were over 6,000 programming jobs available last year. This is a pretty familiar scene across our country so this should come as no surprise.

Tech Elevator’s home resides at the Baker Electric Building in Cleveland. If you have a chance to tour the office you will find out quickly that these walls have a ton of history in them. This building was home to a car showroom that catered to the wealthy people of Cleveland that lived on Millionaires’ row. The office has a really good vibe to it and the smaller classrooms are setup perfect.

Microsoft Cognitive Services & The Seeing AI App

Microsoft ended their keynote yesterday with the video below and to say I was blown away was an understatement. First I just want to say a few things about Saqib Shaikh who is the developer at Microsoft who was focused in this story. It’s always sad to see someone who has lost the ability to do something. In Saqib’s case he lost his sight at the age of 7. Its more powerful than words can describe but when someone overcomes those disabilities and not only thrives but excels its an inspiration to us all. This video is amazing and I love what Microsoft is doing with their Cognitive Services. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the Cognitive Services APIs you should do so today.  Thanks MS and Saqib for inspiring me to be better.

Native Bash coming to Windows

Today is Microsoft’s developer conference Build 2016. During the keynote today they had a pretty big announcement that Native Bash would be coming to Windows 10.  If you’re not familiar with Bash it is a Unix shell and command language that is popular on Unix & OSX. Right now I use Windows at work and Mac OSX for everything else. When I am working on my Windows machine the thing I miss the most is not having Bash. Sure there is Cygwin which gives us a “Linux-Like” environment for Windows but it was just never the same. I don’t know about you but I thought this was a really exciting announcement. What do you guys think?

Bash coming to Windows






Native Bash running on Windows






This is a introduction to the Bash on Windows

The Last Book You Will Ever Need

I have seen many O’Reilly book cover parody’s in my day but this one has to take the cake. Stack Overflow has become such a huge part of our toolbox that a lot of people use it daily. While there is nothing wrong with that I think we need to focus on one part of this book cover and that is copying and pasting. While this may seem like a joke the sad part is that it’s true. Too many times do we as developers flock to Stack Overflow and find the answer to our problem only to copy/paste the solution into our own work. I want to make this plea to all of you (and myself) that the next time you find yourself in this situation to try and take 5 – 10 minutes and truly understand the problem & solution. If you do this and can write out the answer on your own this will make you a better developer. I can’t help but think of an old saying that fits this situation perfect.

Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.

Solving a problem in the short term doesn’t make us better in the long run. If we can remember this it will make all of us a little less dependent on Copying and Pasting from Stack Overflow.