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What can a 25 year old do today to grow exponentially in 5 years?
30 points by _mqak on Nov 6, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 18 comments
Considering someone is a fresh University graduate or with 1-2 years of experience. What are the things that he can start doing today for the next 5 years that will help him have a great career in tech?

Job hop.

Early in your career, your skills and market rate improve so quickly that a single employer just can't keep up.

You'll be twice as good at what you do next year. And you'll be even better at picking up new technologies. Repeat this four times at four shops in four sectors and get demonstrably good at lots of stuff. Build artifacts you can point to that prove how good you are.

The sad truth is that no matter how good your first few jobs are, you can't keep them (unless you got hired by Google or Facebook right out of school, in which case you can ignore all the above and coast along until you vest.) The company that hired you as a new grad for an entry level salary will never give you 50% raises four years in a row. The market as a whole will do that though.

Early on, it's all about building up your market rate. Get that up to where it belongs fast. Then find the place you want to get comfortable.

Although this approach probably maximizes your total revenue, constantly chasing money might not maximize your happiness. Work related friends are quite important to me personally, but then again I'm not too concerned about money anyway ...

Having lots of short stints at different companies also grows the pool of people to choose work-related friends from. And it increases the likelihood of ending up in a good workplace with fun people, since your pool of companies to choose from expands.

There are lots of reasons to bust out of local maxima besides "chasing money". (Which, incidentally, nobody but computer programmers uses as a term to describe negotiating a fair market rate for one's work. Everybody else would call that "not getting taken advantage of.")

Provide value to others without expecting much in return. Work for cheap / free while you don't have many expenses.

Build up that network by helping new startups with tasks they are working on. If you help...10 startups over the next 5 years, you will build a larger network and be more valuable than just meeting people at networking events.

One of those company's may turn into something and you can get in early. If not, you will have advocates in your corner that will make introduction to others.

Get out there and do the work, make friends that are working on interesting project, provide value, they won't forget it when it comes time to ask for something in return.

Meet a lot of people and cultivate the relationships where you share values and learn from each other. Find mentors.

Find out what you want to be an expert in. Only experts are hireable in the long run.

This industry is about both what you can do and who you know. They both take time, and the latter usually only comes with additional effort outside your employment.

Learn how to learn. Learn to problem solve. Not learning how to regurgitate facts. Learn to think.

Any books or other resources you recommend to learn these things? On learning to learn I have enjoyed A Mind for Numbers[1] by Barbra Oakley with Coursera course[2], Make it Stick[3] by Peter C. Brown, and How We Learn[4] by Benedict Carey.

1. https://www.amazon.com/Mind-Numbers-Science-Flunked-Algebra/...

2. https://www.coursera.org/learn/learning-how-to-learn/

3. https://www.amazon.com/Make-Stick-Science-Successful-Learnin...

4. https://www.amazon.com/How-We-Learn-Surprising-Happens-ebook...

I'm on the same boat as you, 26 and 3 years exp. A couple of months ago I went to an interview and the IT Director told me one of the best advices I've got carreer wise; She told me to be clear about what I want for me in the future, and where do I see my self/want to be in 10 years.

With this in mind, you can start taking actions towards that goal and trying to get close to it each day.

I'm applying this right now and it has been helpful, since I already know what I want to be and where do I want to be, so I'm working towards that. Also dedication and setting priorities, giving up and sacrificing stuff that get me out of my path for stuff that bring me closer.

Hope this helps.

This is the best advice I have also received from one of my veteran startup mentors.

This question is kind of subjective as there are many ways to have a successful career in tech. You can deep dive and learn lots of technical skills in computer science or you can go down the business route and learn about management and market trends and go that route. A broader answer is, just keep learning new things and surround yourself with people that push you to do something. One universal answer is, read a lot, as its been shown many successful people read a lot more books then the average person.

Read. Read a LOT.

I'd recommend books on business, books on sales. Also, books related to the technologies you want to master.

> Read. Read a LOT.

Can't agree more with this. And there are all kinds of ancillary benefits. Read more, and you become a better writer almost by osmosis. Read anything and everything; there's almost nothing that is so dreckful that there aren't nuggets of useful information buried within - I've probably learned almost as much history from the reams of historical fiction and political thrillers that I've churned through for pure entertainment. I don't think there's a faster, more economical way to amass knowledge.

Start putting money away in a Roth IRA early and often. Max out your contributions every year. Odds are your tax bracket is lower now than it will be later on, and that $5500 adds up.

Also, if you have to, you can withdraw your contributions (but not any gains) without penalty - since a Roth is post-tax - so it can serve as a savings account, one with considerably better rates of return than the abysmal interest a regular savings account provides.

Network. Even if you're just networking with other new grads right now, in 5 years those new grads will be experienced and doing all sorts of interesting stuff.

Nobody grows exponentially in a vacuum. (Except marshmallows I guess)

Networking is very slow, long term growth though.

Job hop and travel. Money you invest in conferences and training will probably lead to a yearly salary increase of that amount in your next job. Only thing I regret is maybe living less of a day-to-day luxury (coffee and lunch) and travelling overseas instead of just locally (1 weekend in Sydney costs as much a 1 week in South East Asia.)

start a blog. post what u learn regularly. best investment u can make

Invest in crypto currencies and hopefully you won't have to ever work again in 5 years.

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