I asked 219,000 developers how to become indispensable - here are the top 3 answers

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I asked 219,000 developers how to become indispensable - here are the top 3 answers

(no, it's not luck)


2 min read

I asked 219,000+ software devs how to become indispensable.

How to weather the storms of the market, bounce back from failure, and crush expectations.

Here were the top 3 answers:

1. Understand the business and your place in it. ๐Ÿ’ฐ

You can start by asking yourself three questions:

Am I "revenue critical"?

  • Revenue critical employees drive and support the financial success of your company. Without your position, would the company continue to generate revenue? If not, you are considered a "cost" to the company.

  • Revenue-critical duties could include frontend design which optimizes conversion rates or drives sales, ensuring in-app purchasing functionality works correctly, or product security, scalability, and reliability.

Is my work related to how my company makes money?

  • If you understand the business, this should be an easy answer. If you don't, grab lunch with a coworker in a different department and ask questions.

Are my skills aligned with the long-term company roadmap?

  • Is your company planning on releasing an AI chatbot to help customers' pain points? Standardizing ad-hoc Vue applications to React? How can you get ahead of the curve to better serve the goal of the organization?

If you answered "no" to any of these, you know what to focus on.

2. Communicate your value early and often. ๐Ÿ“ข

Nobody knows what "coupling API integrators to a Kubernetes cluster via Postgres using SQLAlchemy to fortify a monolithic infrastructure" means. You probably skipped that whole sentence.

What is the result of what you did?

  • You didn't "couple API integrators". You saved Jenny, the accountant, 2 hours / week in manual processes.

  • You didn't "use SQLAlchemy". You standardized database protocols, reducing new project start-up time.

  • You didn't "fortify a monolithic infrastructure". You reduced the potential of a disastrous bug which could bring down the whole system.

tl;dr: State your outcomes, not your process.

3. Highlight your potential to grow. ๐ŸŒป

  • Keep your skills sharp and learn new, relevant ones.

  • Align your goals to those in management.

  • Build your ability to deliver.

Sharpening both the "technical" and "business" side of your brain will make you dangerous.

P.S. A ton of people did say "luck". โ˜˜

And while luck does play a role, you can increase it by following the steps above.

What else am I missing?