Friday, November 11, 2011

5 Steps to the Six Figure Developer

What makes someone a six figure developer? Of course you need to have skills, but beyond the technical what can you do to become a rock star?

5. Attending user group and conferences sets you apart. The majority of developers aren't willing to invest their free time in their career. The more you attend user group meetings and regional conferences the more you'll find the same people and get to know each other. By surrounding yourself with other developers who are passionate about their craft and excited about new technologies you'll find yourself rising to a new level.

4. Blogging is a great resume. Anyone can list a bunch of companies and dates on a document, but years of blog posts showing technologies you've tried, techniques you've developed and solutions you've found are worth their weight in gold. Don't over think it. If you find a solution to a problem, blog it. So what if someone else posted the same solution. Their post might not be there in six months or yours might come up in a search theirs didn't. If it has value to you then it will probably be of value to someone else.

3. Speakers are given respect. As soon as you stand up in front of a group and present a topic you're given a tremendous amount of respect as an authority. Not only are you showing confidence in yourself but you're able to communicate ideas and teach others. Speaking isn't easy. It takes a lot of preparation and practice. Make sure to run through your presentation in front of a mirror and for family/friends before giving it in public. Be careful with live demos, because even the most experienced presenter can get tripped up during a demo.

2. Getting published shows off skills. Whether you write an article for a magazine, create an open source solution or develop a mobile app on the market place, having published and publicly visible work shows you can get the job done. Many developers have side projects that they've been "working on", but the best ones have finished products available to the public or articles showcasing their experience.

1. If you don't know your own value, who will? Confidence is key and it's crucial to recognize your strengths, showcase them and be willing to promote yourself. If you're a modest person and uncomfortable bragging, just couple a strength with something you're trying to improve. For example, "I have over ten years of experience developing websites for large corporations, but I haven't had an opportunity to work with some of the newer standard yet and am looking forward to using them soon." This not only shows your strengths and talent, but also conveys that you recognize areas of weakness and work to improve them.


  1. Excellent post. I am coming to a point in my career where I find I have to do more than just write code. I am trying to start off by helping others in the development community and actually writing about and blogging about solutions and problems I run into.

  2. Thanks SleepyCrat. That's a great place to start as it takes less than five minutes to start a blog and anyone can do it.

  3. Ryan Duclos sent me. What a great story. I'm going to reference your 5-steps in my presentation this month Feb 14th 2012 6pm, at - Huntsville's NT Users Group. The presentation mirrors much of what you mention.
    Title: "Cutting edge of software development"
    I wanted to call it how I balance on the bleeding edge of software development.

    Rock On Gaines!


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