Episode 40 – Why You Can’t Afford To Stop Learning with Simon Brown

 In Podcasts

Simon Brown is an independent consultant specialising in software architecture. He is author of the book “Software Architecture for Developers” and creator of the C4 software architecture model. Simon is also an award winning speaker, presenting at conferences, meetups and organisations around the world.

In this episode Simon Brown tells us why we can’t afford to stop learning and what we need to be doing to ensure that we don’t. Simon also explains why we need to be selective in what we choose to learn about in detail and why anyone can make an impact in the I.T. industry.


Time Stamped Show Notes

(00:52) – Phil introduces Simon Brown

(01:19) – Simon tells us that he’s a software developer having started in 1996 working for consultancies to build software, mostly in Java and based in London

(01:42) – He moved back to Jersey, in the Channel Islands, in about 2008 and continued in consultancy but switching to .Net

(01:56) – Simon now flies around the world helping teams understand software architecture which he finds fascinating

(02:18) – Phil and Simon discusses differences between cultures and countries. Simon believes the biggest difference is in team make up between hierarchical and flattered structured organisations.


(03:06) – Unique Career Tip: Simon says, “Don’t stand still”, which means never stop learning

(03:28) – I.T. is evolving, changing, fast moving. And, “The more you know, the more you realise you don’t know”

(03:51) – Simon says that he is fortunate to attend a lot of conferences and is able to sit in on and learn from other presenter sessions

(04:03) – But books, blogs and social media are great mediums and platforms that you can learn from

(04:17) – Time is limited so get a good overview of as much as possible and only deep dive into things that you’re specifically interested in

(04:28) – Phil says that should find the medium which is easiest for you to consume, such as podcasts, videos or reading


(05:01) – Worst Career Moment: Simon says that, just like Rob Conery (see episode), he also dropped a database early in his career

(05:20) – Other than that, Simon has joined chaotic software development teams where he has had to clean up after them

(05:34) – One particular instance was during the .com bubble when Simon joined an ecommerce company building a new platform

(05:51) – The team was completely hopeless and Simon could see the project unravelling

(06:08) – Although Rob was twice as productive as anyone else in the team, his managed told him he wasn’t committed enough because he was only working half the hours of other team members

(06:52) – Simon wrote this off as a learning experience and quit the job a few weeks later


(06:58) – Career Highlight / Greatest Success: Simon says that his career highlight is what he’s doing now

(07:19) – Flying around the world, running workshops, training courses and teaching people about software architecture

(07:36) – Simon enjoys seeing people go on that learning journey with him


(08:14) – What Excites You About The Future of a Career in I.T.? Simon talks about the immaturity of the I.T. industry but it’s changing very, very quickly

(08:30) – It’s the changing that makes it interesting and anybody can make an impact

(09:08) – Simon uses the example of a Nokia phone ten years ago to illustrate the pace of change


(09:33) – The Reveal

(09:38) – What attracted you to an I.T. career in the first place? – “I fell into it to be honest”

(10:43) – What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received? – “You only get out what you put in”

(11:08) – If you were to begin your I.T. career again, right now, what would you do? –”I wouldn’t drop production databases … I would join a small consulting company”

(12:03) – What career objectives are you focusing on right now? – “I’m try to spread my C4 software architecture model to a much wider audience and trying to grow my architecture tool, “Structurizr”

(12:28) – What’s the number one non-technical skill that has helped you in your career so far? – “Being able to present ideas and explain things in a way that makes sense to different audiences”


(12:51) – A Parting Piece of Career Advice: Simon says you should think about what you would like to be known for in the future

(13:12) – Asking yourself that question is a good way to figure out what it is you want to do

(13:19) – Don’t get locked into using a single technology or business domain

(13:25) – Try to get a broad range of experience as early as possible


3 Key Points:     

  1. Never stop learning because I.T. is ever evolving, fast moving and always changing
  2. Time is limited so only deep dive into things that you’re specifically interested in
  3. Anybody can make an impact in the I.T. industry because there is so much innovation


Resources Mentioned:

Recommended Posts
Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text.

Start typing and press Enter to search