Episode 30 – Find A Horse To Ride with Steve Smith

 In Podcasts

Steve Smith is an entrepreneur and software developer with a passion for building quality software as effectively as possible. He provides mentoring and training workshops for teams with the desire to improve. Steve has been recognised as a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for over 10 consecutive years and is a frequent speaker at software developer conferences and events.

In this episode Steve talks about why you should identify with an individual or an organisation that is going in the direction you want to go in your career. Steve also shares why it’s not possible to please everyone all the time and why the future of careers in technology is very bright.


Time Stamped Show Notes

(00:47) – Phil introduces Steve Smith

(01:17) – Steve tells us that he’s been working in the Microsoft developer space since the late 1990s

(01:24) – He got into training when working as a consultant and has focused on Microsoft technologies such as ASP.Net and C#

(01:48) – Steve also does a lot of remote mentoring and remote workshops as well as creation of courses for companies such as Pluralsight

(01:58) – Steve is also a co-founder of DevIQ which is an online education company

(02:06) – Phil and Steve talk about DevIQ


(02:19) – Unique Career Tip: Steve talks about a booked called, “Horse Sense” by authors Al Ries and Jack Trout

(02:46) – The main take away from the book is that you should find a horse to ride in your career

(02:53) – This means identify someone that you have a connection with who is going where you want to go and become involved with them and their projects

(03:08) – It could be a company, a non-profit organisation or a cause rather than an individual

(03:27) – Steve talks about an online web community he joined and then volunteered to help the owner of the site. The owner then sold the site to Steve which greatly benefitted Steve’s career.

(04:16) – This opened up many doors for Steve including being recognised with awards such as the MVP award from Microsoft and being sought by publishers to technically edit and then author books

(04:37) – The previous owner also introduced Steve to individuals and teams where he was able to develop valuable relationships

(04:59) – If you see someone who has momentum and is going in the direction you want to go, associate yourself with them in a positive way


(05:47) – Worst Career Moment: Steve talks about a small consulting company he used to own

(06:21) – One of Steve’s clients was unhappy with the work one of his employees has done

(06:32) – Because Steve had a good relationship with the client his natural reaction was to jump in to try to save the day

(06:59) – Steve put a lot of energy into resolving the issue in a short period of time

(07:14) – Unfortunately Steve was unable to salvage the project or the relationship with the client

(07:24) – Steve felt awful for disappointing the client who he admired

(07:28) – Steve learned that you can’t please everybody all the time despite your best efforts

(07:49) – When this happens the only thing you can do is move on and learn from the experience to ensure that it doesn’t happen again

(08:14) – Phil and Steve discuss in hindsight what could have been done to save the project


(09:53) – Career Highlight / Greatest Success: Steve talks about the businesses and products that he’s built and been able to sell

(10:20) – Steve has found this to be very rewarding both in creation and in when recognised by others as having value


(11:10) – What Excites You About The Future of a Career in I.T.? Steve believes that the future is very bright for careers in I.T.

(11:20) – There is so much that needs to be automated

(11:27) – Software development is still very young and new, and a lot of discipline and practices aren’t evenly distributed or don’t yet exist

(11:45) – Steve sees great opportunity for these things to come about

(11:58) – There is also great financial opportunity because of the demand for skilled individuals

(12:15) – Anyone can become a software developer as long as you have internet access and a minimal specification computer which is very exciting


(13:41) – The Reveal

(13:46) – What attracted you to an I.T. career in the first place? – “I always found it exciting to make the computer do what you wanted it to do”

(15:47) – What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received? – “You need to be able to work with different people and adjust how you interact with them”

(17:38) – If you were to begin your I.T. career again, right now, what would you do? –”I would aim to work for a consulting company to be able to gain a broad range of experience”

(19:13) – What career objectives are you focusing on right now? – “Writing high quality software and teaching others to do the same”

(20:28) – What’s the number one non-technical skill that has helped you in your career so far? – “Writing well and writing quickly, including typing”


(22:57) – A Parting Piece of Career Advice: Steve talks about ways to find out more about him and how to get a 20% discount on his ASP.NET Quick Start Course (see link below)


3 Key Points:     

  1. Find someone who is doing what you want to do and associate yourself with them
  2. You can’t please everyone all the time, despite your best efforts
  3. Anyone with internet connection and a minimal specification computer can become a software developer


Resources Mentioned:

  • @ardalis – Steve’s Twitter handle
  • Ardalis.com – Steve’s website
  • Weeklydevtips.com – Steve’s Podcast
  • ASP.NET Core – Steve’s ASP.NET Quick Start Course. Use discount code ITCareerEnergizer until end of 2017.
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