The Quest for Escape Velocity in my Career..

Can anyone guess something out of the title of the post? We’ll you possibly can’t because I myself figured it while writing the last sentence in the post. So read on…

I’ve been juggling between roles for some time, at my work place. The last six months have been quite exciting in terms of happenings. Though the situation has been pretty hectic and quite demanding for quite some time now, I could figure out some humor in it.

In the software industry, people usually start as software Trainees, and with time, aptitude and potential become Developers, Sr. Developers. Tech Leads/Team Lead, Project Managers, Sr. Project Managers, Account Manager and so on. And then there are loads of other things like hiring, branding, training, pre-sales, accounts etc. which you can contribute in, based on your inclinations.

After a brief stint into development, I decided that it is not something I like the most. Just to emphasize, the ability to develop and the willingness to develop are two different things. However, the willingness (lack of willingness rather) can easily jeopardize the ability. Getting back to the roles, I guess an understanding of the development process definitely helps you when you move through the roles mentioned above. I’ve seen people coming straight into project management and creating a discomfort by virtue of having unrealistic expectation (there definitely are exceptions and I know a couple).

I’ve realized that I am not one of those who enjoy getting deep into development (though I respect people who do that), so after a couple of years of doing almost everything I mentioned above, I thought I am slowly getting into what I long for. Interestingly this is what actually happened:

Account Manager>Project Manager>Tech Lead>Developer..(hope it ends here! )

A reverse gear? Yup! Time and situation are really powerful. So now what next? Well I remember one of my professors at college saying,

“Anyone can excel in what they like doing, the challenge is to excel in something you don’t like and enjoy.”

I don’t even remember what subject he taught but do remember this point. Well, I am trying to motivate myself with this, not sure if this will help for long. Not that I do not enjoy coding at all, just that I enjoy the other things more which I may miss for sometime. So the professor’s statement applies to some extent.

So what’s the future? Well, next time when I move out of development (I hope it is soon) I’ll ensure that I have the right escape velocity so I don’t fall back and start it all again!

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Amit Srivastava

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Deepesh - June 4, 2008

Nice, I hope now you understand me better why I used to say I don’t like coding ;-).

One distinction I would like to make is between programmers and technologists, they can be completely different things and you can find technologists who are not interested so much in programming but want to do everything around it (e.g Steve Jobs, it would be naive to say he doesn’t know technology because he stopped doing hands on technology in his teens – while he was doing it he was pretty good at it).

Being good at providing technical solutions doesn’t mean you need to get to the level where you are manipulating the bits, but an understanding is good enough.

Summary is – don’t worry about your development blues, get over it soon and get back to what you like (is it providing technical solutions or o..? 😉

Amit Srivastava - June 6, 2008

@Deepesh: Well, yes. Now I do understand your point. And you’ve made a very important point ‘programmers’ and ‘technologists’. Anyways I am neither of these I guess. That makes me wonder, what am I? 🙂


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