Episode 107 – Share What You Know to Help Other Developers and Progress Your IT Career Faster with Bruno Souza
Bruno Souza is Phil’s guest on today’s show. He has a passion for helping other developers to progress their careers and for the Java language. Bruno is the founder and organizer of the Brazilian Java User Society. He has helped to set up hundreds of other Java Users Groups, across the world. Bruno is the creator of Code4.Life. This project enables developers to work together to become better developers.
(1.11) – So Bruno, can you expand on that brief introduction and tell us a little bit more about yourself? Bruno responds by saying that for most of his time in IT he has been helping other developers to develop their own careers. He has done this in many ways. That includes creating user groups, working with them on complicated projects and finding innovative solutions. He helps them to become good enough to be able to easily break into working on all of the coolest projects. Those challenging projects push them to continue to improve and become even better developers. Thus, a positive feedback loop is established.
(2.25) – Phil asks Bruno for a unique IT career tip that the audience perhaps doesn’t know, but should. Bruno explains that developers tend to value their technical skills above anything else. This is understandable. After all, without the technical skills you cannot get into the game. But, Bruno has said that being able to communicate and share what you know is just as important. You need to be able to present and write well to be able to work on interesting projects. You need to communicate to people what you do, what you are good at. If you do not do that you cannot be in the running. It is also important to share. Sharing is the fastest and best way to improve your career prospect. Plus, when you share you get more clarity yourself. It is especially good to speak. Speaking out loud helps you to reorder and clarify your thoughts. That is why the rubber duck debugging technique works so well.
(5.43) – Bruno is asked to share his worst career moment by Phil. That happened when Bruno was working on what he thought was a cool project. The big innovative company he was working for, at the time, wanted to do all kinds of new stuff. It seemed exciting, but turned out to be a nightmare. The customer was all over the place. Every five minutes things were changing. There was no communication and a lack of honesty. Things were so bad that he did not want to get up and go to work in the morning. Like a lot of developers he put up with that situation. Now, he realizes there was no need for him to do that. Bruno says that developers need to learn how to say no. To stand up when they know something is not right. Should you not be listened to and things don’t improve there is no reason for you to stay. After all, there are plenty of other cool projects you could be working on.
(9.35) – Phil asks Bruno what his best career moment was. Bruno explained that his dad insisted that he did not work while he was at university. His father was an engineer and he had tried to juggle work with attending university. For him, that did not work out well. It ended up taking him far longer to finish his studies, so he did not want Bruno to make the same mistake. But, Bruno knew he needed to work to consolidate what he was learning. Naturally, he and his father got into a huge shouting match about whether he should work while studying at university. In the middle of it Bruno got a call from a friend telling him there was a job at Sun Microsystems that was his if he wanted it. He told his dad. Immediately, his dad stopped yelling and sat down to help Bruno to complete his resume. He landed that job and has always appreciated the way his dad put his feelings aside and helped him to start his career. It is one of the reasons Bruno works so hard to help others to move their careers forward. Every time one of the hundreds he has helped shares details of their success with Bruno he gets a boost. For him these occasions are the highlights of his career.
(13.39) – Phil asks what excites Bruno about the future for the IT industry. Bruno is very excited to see developers taking responsibility, stepping up and leading. The fact that people are now doing this means that there is a brighter future for everyone. He is also pleased to see fewer developers simply relying on their companies to provide ongoing training for them. Instead, people are taking the initiative. They are going out and learning what they need to progress their careers. It is also exciting to see people volunteering via OpenSource and community projects. The fact that there are so many people doing things is making a huge difference to the future.
(17.05) – What drew you to a career in IT, Bruno? When Bruno was 8 his father got him a computer. Bruno loved the fact he could change the source code. He worked out how to do it, so that he would win. He loved the fact that you could beat everyone by just using your brain.
(17.32) – What is the best career advice you have ever received? Bruno starts by telling the audience a story about his life. At one stage, Bruno wanted to develop a product and sell it. So, he told his boss he was leaving. But, his boss advised Bruno to stop and think for a bit. He pointed out that Bruno had a lot of free time in his life. Time that he could potentially use to work on his project to make sure that his business idea was sound. It was wise advice, which helped Bruno to realize that your career is not necessarily all about what you do in your work life. What you do in your free time matters too. Potentially, you can also use your free time to help you to progress. Over the years, he has learned a lot and honed his skills while volunteering and running user workshops.
(18.46) – If you were to start your IT career again, now, what would you do? Bruno says he would start by getting involved in an OpenSource project that is related to something he loves to do or felt passionate about. Working on a project like that is a great way to hone your skills and become a really good developer. Once you get to that stage, you will be in a strong position and should be good enough to secure roles working on interesting paid projects. With most OpenSource projects nobody is going to say I am not going to hire you because you are not good enough.
(19.59) – Phil asks Bruno what he is focusing on at the moment. Until recently, Bruno has been splitting his time between being a technical person running his company and helping people to progress their careers. Practically all of his mentoring, workshops, blogging and public speaking have had to be done in the evenings, during lunchtimes or at weekends. In the near future, Bruno plans to switch things around, so that most of his time is spent on showing developers how to gain more skills and progress their careers.
(21.28) – What is your most important non-technical skill? The one that has helped you the most in your IT career. Bruno says that is easy – “sharing what I know.” He discovered the power of doing this by accident. It all started when his boss needed someone to talk to a reporter about Java. Fortunately, Bruno knew something about the subject, so was able to help. After that, if the company needed someone to speak about Java, they would turn to Bruno. It took a while for him to get good at these presentations. But, when he did, his career really took off. If he had not been prepared to share what he knew this would not have happened.
(22.51) – Phil asks Bruno to share a final piece of career advice. He said – “go share”. Anything you know is shareable. Even if you are a beginner share what you are doing. Tell people how you are getting started and what it is like to become a developer, right now. Any knowledge is shareable, so you do not have to learn something new before you start sharing.
(4.01) BRUNO – “Learning how to communicate well, that can make such a huge difference.”
(4.11) BRUNO – “The one thing that is guaranteed that will actually get you improving your career is if you start sharing now. Go share to a blog post, go share to social media, go share to presentations, go share to open source.”
(14.54) BRUNO – “Growing your career is your responsibility.”
(18.23) BRUNO – “It’s not only about doing things at work. We can use the love that we have, the passion that we have, for a lot of other things outside of working time.”
(19.27) BRUNO – “Open source helps you eliminate the chicken and egg problem, because you can start working on an amazing project.”
(21.15) BRUNO – “So, you know, helping people to become leaders of their life, of their project, of their companies. If I can help a little bit to improve the computer industry by doing this, I’m all for it.”
CONTACT BRUNO SOUZA:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/brjavaman @brjavaman