Episode 59 – Don’t Take Advice From Idiots with Bill Wagner

 In Podcasts

Bill Wagner is one of the world’s foremost C# developers and a member of the ECMA C# Standards Committee. He is currently with Microsoft, working on the .NET Core Content Team. Bill is also an author, blogger and creator of learning materials for developers interested in the C# language and .NET Core.

In this episode Bill Wagner tells us why we should only take advice from people who have relevant experience in what we want to do. Bill also provides helpful insights into his own use of mind mapping in progressing his career and why you should not waste your time on doing things that you don’t enjoy.

Time Stamped Show Notes

(01:06) – Phil introduces Bill Wagner

(01:34) – Bill says that he spends most of his time creating materials that help people learn software development, and in particular C#

(01:50) – “Teaching others is a fantastic way for me to help contribute now”

(02:00) – Bill tells us that he’s been working for Microsoft for almost two years


(02:09) – Unique Career Tip: Bill Wagner says that he often spends time mind mapping about where he is at in his career and what his dream job is right now

(02:45) – Bill uses these two mind maps to work out how to get from where he is now to where he wants to be

(02:55) – Bill describes how he used this process prior to joining Microsoft


(04:04) – Worst Career Moment: Bill says that he’s learnt the same lessons possibly two or three in times

(04:20) – Early on in his career and as he progressed Bill became a team leader

(04:27) – “It was by far the worst decision I made”

(04:34) – Bill was spending all of his work day in meetings with team members, other managers and so forth

(04:50) – Because he enjoyed writing software, Bill would then spend most of the night writing software

(05:16) – Bill decided to get out of that role and went into consulting so that he could spend more time writing software and a lot less time in meetings

(05:37) – Phil and Bill discuss what was learnt from that experience

(06:28) – Find tasks that you really enjoy which makes it fun to get up, fun to do the work and provide a sense of accomplishment


(06:59) – Career Highlight / Greatest Success: Bill says that he really enjoyed the response he got from the first edition of his book Effective C#

(07:19) – Bill talks about Scott Meyers and credits him for being a great mentor when he wrote the book

(07:40) – Bill also talks writing his second book, More Effective C#, and why he had to rewrite much of it after attending Microsoft PDC in 2005

(09:07) – Bill believes that More Effective C# is some of the best writing he has done


(09:39) – What Excites You About The Future of a Career in I.T.? Bill says that what he finds most exciting is that I.T. has become a utility

(10:05) – Bill talks about the changes in how companies choose to locate and what has caused this change

(10:28) – One of the key factors about company location now is availability of I.T. talent

(10:58) – I.T. is changing everything. “Everybody’s an I.T. company despite what their particular business model is”

(11:40) – Phil and Bill discuss the future of city working, remote working and its effective on productivity and team work


(14:26) – The Reveal

(14:30) – What attracted you to an I.T. career in the first place? – “While at the University of Illinois I found that I liked this computer stuff a lot more and switched majors and I’ve never looked back”

(15:06) – What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received? – “Don’t take advice from idiots”

(16:05) – If you were to begin your I.T. career again, right now, what would you do? –”Really, really invest in A.I. and machine learning, especially with an emphasis on the ethics around machine learning”

(16:28) – What career objectives are you focusing on right now? – “I think the best contribution I can make is teaching others”


(17:03) – A Parting Piece of Career Advice: Bill says that you should have a lot of fun and if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, try to identify what you would enjoy doing more

(17:22) – There are so many opportunities that you should not be wasting your time doing things you really don’t like


3 Key Points:     

  1. Mind mapping is a great technique for helping you make progress in your career
  2. Find tasks that you really enjoy which makes it fun to get up and fun to do the work
  3. Don’t waste your time doing things that you don’t enjoy


Resources Mentioned:

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