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Get Dirty

The quickest way to discover your passion as a developer is to dive in and get your hands dirty. Nothing beats hands-on experience when it comes to figuring out what you love or loathe about your work.

Here’s a personal example:

I joined Behance in 2007 as the second engineer. I ended up working there for 10 years, eventually becoming Head of Technical Operations. One of the most educational features of my tenure was that I got to build around 8 - 10 services completely from scratch.

Every single one of those products was an opportunity to start with a completely blank slate, iterate, keep what worked, and remove what didn’t until we had a stellar suite of offerings that each supported our company’s mission.

It was there that I learned:

  • How much I enjoyed taking things from zero to one
  • How much I enjoyed managing operations and product development

That realization is what later led me to pursue building teams and products. Today, I’ve shaped my career around my love for taking projects from zero to one.

Your epiphanies might be different, but you won’t discover them until you start building.

So create! Get your hands dirty as soon as you can. It’s the quickest way to identify what you enjoy and don’t enjoy doing. Having that knowledge will give your career the best kind of direction and purpose.

Published Mar 6, 2024

Thoughts on about software, tech, leadership, food and ceramics.