Episode 213 – Seek Out Satisfying Work and Strengthen Your Non-Technical Skills with Ed Finkler
Phil’s guest on this episode of the IT Career Energizer podcast is Ed Finkler. Ed is a software developer at DelMar Software Development.
He is also co-host of the Development Hell podcast and he is currently raising mental health awareness in the tech community with his Open Sourcing Mental Illness speaking campaign.
In this episode, Phil and Ed Finkler begin by talking about how mental illness impacts tech professionals and why awareness of the issue needs to increase. They also talk about how Ed has successfully managed his own mental illness issues.
Ed and Phil discuss the future of IT and the need to simplify both the creative process and what we build. They also cover the need to use dependable tech.
(7.38) TOP CAREER TIP
You need to develop your non-technical as well as your technical skills. These so-called soft skills are actually vital to success.
Being a good communicator, the ability to work well in a team and having empathy are all essential.
(11.56) WORST CAREER MOMENT
For Ed, that was being let go from a start-up position. At the time, he was working hard and felt that he was fully fulfilling the brief.
It was hard for Ed to accept this change, especially because he had difficulties in other areas of his life. That was when his anxiety and depression really took hold and negatively impact everything. In the podcast, he explains how he managed to come out the other side.
(22.05) CAREER HIGHLIGHT
At one stage, Ed’s mental illness completely destroyed his confidence. So, being able to gradually come back from that and once again become a fully-functioning developer was understandably a career highlight for Ed.
But, perhaps even more so is what came out of that struggle. He is really proud of founding Open Sourcing Mental Illness and the fact that it has now gained momentum and taken on a life of its own. It is nice to know that it will be there and continue to help others for many years to come.
(26.41) THE FUTURE OF CAREERS IN I.T
Ed hopes to see the focus shifting from web development to creating tools that make things easier and more straightforward for developers. He feels that “complexity is the enemy” and believes that the more complex things are the more likely they are to screw up.
Ed is excited about the fact that the community and open source are being embraced. He explains why in the podcast.
(34.45) THE REVEAL
What first attracted you to a career in I.T.? – Ed has always loved computers. He kind of drifted into his IT career because he wanted to be able to build certain things.
What’s the best career advice you received? – Don’t have a loyalty to a specific technology, brand or company. Reserve your loyalty for people.
What’s the worst career advice you received? – It is a good idea to apply new and unproven technologies in production. It is not a good idea. This kind of fashion-driven development is extremely risky.
What would you do if you started your career now? – Ed would start by learning Python.
What are your current career objectives? – Being happy in his day to day life and at peace. Once you achieve that everything else, including work, becomes a lot easier.
What’s your number one non-technical skill? – The ability to speak in front of people and enjoy doing it.
How do you keep your own career energized? – Mixing things up, working in different languages on a range of projects.
What do you do away from technology? – Ed loves music production. He has released an album and is about to release a 6 track EP.
(54.29) FINAL CAREER TIP
Focus on the things that make you happy. You need to ensure that the things that make you feel satisfied are a part of the work that you do. In the podcast, Ed provides examples. He also explains that this does not necessarily mean working things that you find exciting.
(9.46) – Ed – “How you communicate and interact with people and how empathetic you are will impact your success.”
(29.24) – Ed – “The more complex things are, the more things are likely to screw up. We need to simplify things.”
(35.15) – Ed – “We have to remember how lucky we are to work in the industry.”
(40.04) – Ed – “Being focused on constantly learning new technologies can be actively detrimental to your career.”
(41.53) – Ed – “You should make conservative technology choices when building things. End-users need dependable and proven tech.”
(54.41) – Ed – “Seek out work that makes you feel satisfied and happy.”
ABOUT THE HOST – PHIL BURGESS
Phil Burgess is an independent IT consultant who has spent the last 20 years helping organisations to design, develop and implement software solutions. Phil has always had an interest in helping others to develop and advance their careers. And in 2017 Phil started the I.T. Career Energizer podcast to try to help as many people as possible to learn from the career advice and experiences of those that have been, and still are, on that same career journey.
CONTACT THE HOST – PHIL BURGESS
Phil can be contacted through the following Social Media platforms:
Join the I.T. Career Energizer Community on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/groups/ITCareerEnergizer
ABOUT THE GUEST – ED FINKLER
Ed Finkler is a software developer at DelMar Software Development. He is also co-host of the Development Hell podcast and he is currently raising mental health awareness in the tech community with his Open Sourcing Mental Illness speaking campaign
CONTACT THE GUEST – ED FINKLER
Ed Finkler can be contacted through the following Social Media platforms: