Every Day Blog

What I learned as a developer in 2019 - Part 1

2019 was the year that I probably learned the most as a developer and I wanted to document this for others to see.

Dorothy and The Wizard of Oz

The book “The Wizard of Oz” tells the story of a girl named Dorothy who accidentally travels to a land called Oz and in order for her to find her way home she must find the Wizard of Oz, who will show her how to get home.

During her adventure she meets 3 characters. They are the “Cowardly” Lion, the “Heartless” Tinman, and the “Brainless” Scarecrow. They all agree to find the Wizard together in order to get what they desire most - a way home, courage, a heart, and a brain, respectively.

To frame what I have learned over the past year, I will use the words “Courage”, “Brains”, and “Heart” to describe the values that I have seen in both individuals as well as teams and organizations and why I think they are important for success.

the point

Individuals, teams, and organizations all have a mix of three qualities - courage, brains, and heart. I believe successful organizations demonstrate these qualities at their core.

Teams with Courage

There is a difference between courage and recklessness. They both involve taking risks but I think the difference is that courage involves taking calculated risks based on a level of confidence that any negative consequence of those actions are both unlikely to occur and easy to fix.

From my own experience, a good tech team has courage to release software continuously because they have confidence in the process they have in place to release consistently high quality software with minimal effort or risk.

Organizations with Brains

Organizations are comprised of smart people who are experts in their domain but it’s not enough to just know everything about your specific domain. All of that knowledge is only useful if it is shared with others.

I have learned from individual contributors who are experts in their domain but are also curious about knowing at least a little about all the parts of the business and actively seek opportunities to learn from others and share what they know.

These contributors are multipliers of other workers success because they are excited about creating processes and tools to make other workers jobs more efficient thus saving the business money and opening up opportunities for creating even more opportunities.

Individuals with Heart

As a developer I am acutely aware that sometimes we make mistakes when we are under stress at work due to time pressures or even personal issues. It is important that we are not so hard on ourselves and be vulnerable enough to ask for help when needed.

Contributors who can emphasize with co-workers open up opportunities for collaboration and communication. This makes it easier for others who are struggling to open up and ask for help. Again, this is good for the business because through frequent check-ins teams can detect issues quicker and get back on the right path.


In part 2 of “What I learned in 2019”, I will talk about some technical things learned about code and architecture.