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Nurturing Your Tech Career

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I delivered a keynote on this topic at Institute of Product Leadership's one-day conclave on Managing Careers in Data, Tech and Product

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Nurturing Your Tech Career

  1. 1. Growing Building Managing Owning Nurturing your tech career Tathagat Varma Country Manager, Nerdwallet
  2. 2. My personal views!
  3. 3. We are living longer…and tech is dying faster!
  4. 4. But, Tech still rules!
  5. 5. However…Tech tenures are shorter (and getting more shorter!)
  6. 6. 35-40+ years of career And the old school (literally) is not enough…
  7. 7. Knowledge decays over time!
  8. 8. So, how to grow as a techie?
  9. 9. #1: Stop “managing”!
  10. 10. Free up your day…
  11. 11. #2: MS Office is for minnows. Legends code!
  12. 12. Coding doesn’t mean programming only! “Programming is 10% keyboarding and 90% design, communicating, testing, reading and more.” - code-wrong-question-ec5fc54d3903
  13. 13. #3: Learn adjoining areas
  14. 14. Unicorn engineer… why not?
  15. 15. “Stacked T”
  16. 16. #4: Do experiments and short-term side-projects
  17. 17. #5: Pursue long-term creative interests! “Creative activity was positively associated with recovery experiences (i.e., mastery, control, and relaxation) and performance‐related outcomes (i.e., job creativity and extra‐role behaviours). The mediating effects of recovery experiences were examined to better understand the underlying processes involved in the relationship between creative activity and performance‐related outcomes. Creative activity was found to have both indirect effects and direct effects on performance‐related outcomes, but the effects varied by the type of performance‐related outcome. The results indicate that organizations may benefit from encouraging employees to consider creative activities in their efforts to recover from work.” Benefiting from creative activity: The positive relationships between creative activity, recovery experiences, and performance‐related outcomes Kevin J. Eschleman  Jamie Madsen  Gene Alarcon  Alex Barelka
  18. 18. #6: From STEM to STEAM
  19. 19. #7: Help Inspire others! If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.
  20. 20. #8: Volunteer for community work
  21. 21. #9: Heal the world!
  22. 22. How many real-world problems worth solving do you see here?
  23. 23. #9: Who are you?
  24. 24. You: CEO of your Career Hire your Advisory Board!
  25. 25. #10: Keep learning…
  26. 26. Learn, but how? Daily Weekly Monthly Quarterly Annually Five-years Long-term Consume Blogs, Articles, Tweets, Podcast Meetups, Book Conferences MOOCs Certificate School PhD! Create Code Tweet Blog, Podcast, Vlog Articles, Talk at events or school, etc. Paper at a Global Conference Publish a Book! What will be your legacy??? Collaborate Side project Quora, Stack exchange Mentor online Mentor offline Volunteer (IEEE, ACM, PMI, Agile, WWW…) What social change you want to see? A global cause so big, it needs all of us!!!
  27. 27. Case Study: Building Engineering Careers at NerdWallet • Considerations / Design Principles: • A company’s needs, particularly startups, evolves as the company changes • Not all skills can be evaluated in a discrete and measurable way • All metrics are gameable • We want engineers to adopt learning and growth mindset • For these reasons we decided to move away from isolated enumerations of tasks and towards more subjective statements of values and expectations for engineers with examples provided at every level. • We want engineers to approach software development as a craft to be mastered as opposed to a certification or license to qualify for, and we need(ed) a job architecture as a framework outlining a craft to master and not as a checklist or discrete set of steps to accomplish!
  28. 28. Job Architecture Leveling is a blunt instrument, but for any non-trivially sized engineering organization, a necessary evil. We created high-level distinctions to six levels of IC roles in engineering:
  29. 29. Yes…we’re hiring!
  30. 30. Recap
  31. 31. References • matters • • • engineering-career-nerdwallet/ • to-a-tech-career • •