I was researching career path advice for software developers when I stumbled upon Software Development Career Paths by John Sonmez. It's an excellent blog post. John advises that you make several key decisions (e.g. on what kind of developer you want to be) and to have a plan.

The part that most interested me was his advice regarding whether to pursue a management or technical track. First, John stressed the importance of being a people person regardless of the track. Second, he said the biggest issue when pursuing a management track is not whether you're can be enough of a people person, but whether you can live with not doing technical work.

So, really you should be asking yourself, can you handle not writing code for the rest of your career?

His blog also has various other gems, such as How to Negotiate Your Salary.

I also found his book Soft Skills: The software developer's life manual. I haven't read this book yet (no digital version? seriously?!) but the reviews seem to be good, so maybe some day.

I also found his talk 5 Soft Skills Every Software Developer Should Know — which, judging from the YouTube comments, has been very well-received. He talks about:

  • How to learn (protip: learn by playing, learn by teaching).
  • Mastering one's own mind: overcoming fear (by accepting them), dispelling limiting beliefs, developing discipline.
  • Treating your career as a business, i.e. recognizing that marketing yourself, building a personal brand, and negotiations, and having a long-term goal are all important.

This talk resonated a lot with me. Not because I gained new insights, but because I already agree with his viewpoints. I found his ideas straightforward, even.

No. What surprised me the most was that apparently so many people didn't already know all this. But perhaps I should not be surprised — I've learned over the years that I'm not like the typical developer. Which makes people like John — who makes material to help others with their careers — all the more important.

His YouTube channel has many interesting videos which I will check out. Thanks John, and good luck on your journey.