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How to Become a Full Stack Developer and Kickstart Your Career

How to Become a Full Stack Developer and Kickstart Your Career

Computer programming and website development are commonly divided into two categories. Back-end developers handle how information is processed and stored, while front-end developers create the interface through which clients interact with your software.

As information technology becomes more and more advanced, employers are now looking for individuals who are skilled in both aspects of software design. By using the job trends functionality of the popular website Indeed.com, we can see that the number of listings for “full-stack developers” has increased nearly 8 times since 2012. If you already have a familiarity with software development, picking up a few new skills is a fantastic way to create opportunities for growth within your career. We’ve identified a few quick and easy ways to help you get started.

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1. Know Your Code

Before you start expanding your existing knowledge, it’s important to know which languages are valuable to each end of the development spectrum. If you are currently a front-end developer, look into learning languages such as Java, PHP, Python, .NET, Ruby, or NodeJS. Java is currently one of the most in-demand languages, however if you already specialize in a specific type of software development, one of the more unique languages may pair well with your individual skill set.

If you are a back-end developer, you can consider learning to use HTML/CSS, Java Script, Jquery, AngularJS, or ReactJS. All of these languages allow you to build attractive, easy-to-use interfaces for even the most complicated software. Even though there are many languages to choose from, it’s much easier to start off learning a single language that you can excel in. Trying to take on several skills at the same time may just make you a mediocre coder. Better to be an expert at two things than a master of none.

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2. Get Some Experience

Anyone can say they know a language on their resume, but employers want to see proof. Consider enrolling in a coding boot camp for your language of choice. A boot camp is an excellent way to fully immerse yourself in a language. Many of these programs let you take the reins by creating a tangible product. Since you already have experience with one programming language, picking up another will be much easier for you than it would be for an inexperienced coder. Leaving the camp with a functional product gives you something you can show employers to demonstrate your proficiency with your new language.

3. Network

If you are currently employed as a front- or back-end coder, see if there is any way for you to network within your company and take part in projects that may be outside of your traditional job scope. Many employers will appreciate your motivation. Ideally, this could become a scenario where you are building your skill set while simultaneously increasing your value to the company.

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4. Build Something

Once you’ve got the foundation, it’s time to put it to practice. Build a simple app that shows your proficiency in both front- and back-end development. It’s important to have a very clear idea of what your final product is going to look like. With so many new technologies, it can be easy for a new developer to get sidetracked trying to implement the latest features. Be sure to follow the K.I.S.S. theory (Keep It Simple Stupid!) and build a simple, efficient, easy-to-use app. Creating a product that your potential employers can experience will give you an edge that expands way beyond anything you can say on a resume.

Although becoming a full stack developer can see like a daunting task, remember that this is something that gets easier with time. By leveraging your experience with one programming language, you will find the expanding your skill set is much easier than you may think. Even if this does not create an immediate job opportunity, understanding every aspect of software development will make you a valuable asset to your team as you are able to work more efficiently with your co-workers.

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Featured photo credit: Phoenix Cosmic via flickr.com

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Josh MacDonald

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Last Updated on July 16, 2019

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

Office politics – a taboo word for some people. It’s a pervasive thing at the workplace.

In its simplest form, workplace politics is simply about the differences between people at work; differences in opinions, conflicts of interests are often manifested as office politics. It all goes down to human communications and relationships.

There is no need to be afraid of office politics. Top performers are those who have mastered the art of winning in office politics. Below are 7 good habits to help you win at the workplace:

1. Be Aware You Have a Choice

The most common reactions to politics at work are either fight or flight. It’s normal human reaction for survival in the wild, back in the prehistoric days when we were still hunter-gatherers.

Sure, the office is a modern jungle, but it takes more than just instinctive reactions to win in office politics. Instinctive fight reactions will only cause more resistance to whatever you are trying to achieve; while instinctive flight reactions only label you as a pushover that people can easily take for granted. Neither options are appealing for healthy career growth.

Winning requires you to consciously choose your reactions to the situation. Recognize that no matter how bad the circumstances, you have a choice in choosing how you feel and react. So how do you choose? This bring us to the next point…

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2. Know What You Are Trying to Achieve

When conflicts happen, it’s very easy to be sucked into tunnel-vision and focus on immediate differences. That’s a self-defeating approach. Chances are, you’ll only invite more resistance by focusing on differences in people’s positions or opinions.

The way to mitigate this without looking like you’re fighting to emerge as a winner in this conflict is to focus on the business objectives. In the light of what’s best for the business, discuss the pros and cons of each option. Eventually, everyone wants the business to be successful; if the business don’t win, then nobody in the organization wins.

It’s much easier for one to eat the humble pie and back off when they realize the chosen approach is best for the business.

By learning to steer the discussion in this direction, you will learn to disengage from petty differences and position yourself as someone who is interested in getting things done. Your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is mature, strategic and can be entrusted with bigger responsibilities.

3. Focus on Your Circle of Influence

At work, there are often issues which we have very little control over. It’s not uncommon to find corporate policies, client demands or boss mandates which affects your personal interests.

Gossiping and complaining are common responses to these events that we cannot control. But think about it, other than that short term emotional outlet, what tangible results do gossiping really accomplish? In most instances, none.

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Instead of feeling victimized and angry about the situation, focus on the things that you can do to influence the situation — your circle of influence. This is a very empowering technique to overcome the feeling of helplessness. It removes the victimized feeling and also allows others to see you as someone who knows how to operate within given constraints.

You may not be able to change or decide on the eventual outcome but, you can walk away knowing that you have done the best within the given circumstances.

Constraints are all around in the workplace; with this approach, your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is understanding and positive.

4. Don’t Take Sides

In office politics, it is possible to find yourself stuck in between two power figures who are at odds with each other. You find yourself being thrown around while they try to outwit each other and defend their own position; all at the expense of you getting the job done. You can’t get them to agree on a common decision for a project, and neither of them want to take ownership of issues; they’re too afraid they’ll get stabbed in the back for any mishaps.

In cases like this, focus on the business objectives and don’t take side with either of them – even if you like one better than the other. Place them on a common communication platform and ensure open communications among all parties, so that no one can claim “I didn’t say that”.

By not taking sides, you’ll help to direct conflict resolution in an objective manner. You’ll also build trust with both parties. That’ll help to keep the engagements constructive and focus on business objectives.

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5. Don’t Get Personal

In office politics, you’ll get angry with people. It happens. There will be times when you feel the urge to give that person a piece of your mind and teach him a lesson. Don’t.

People tend to remember moments when they were humiliated or insulted. Even if you win this argument and get to feel really good about it for now, you’ll pay the price later when you need help from this person. What goes around comes around, especially at the workplace.

To win in the office, you’ll want to build a network of allies which you can tap into. The last thing you want during a crisis or an opportunity is to have someone screw you up because they harbor ill-intentions towards you – all because you’d enjoyed a brief moment of emotional outburst at their expense.

Another reason to hold back your temper is your career advancement. Increasingly, organizations are using 360 degree reviews to promote someone. Even if you are a star performer, your boss will have to fight a political uphill battle if other managers or peers see you as someone who is difficult to work with. The last thing you’ll want is to make it difficult for your boss to champion you for a promotion.

6. Seek to Understand, Before Being Understood

The reason people feel unjustified is because they felt misunderstood. Instinctively, we are more interested in getting the others to understand us than to understand them first. Top people managers and business leaders have learned to suppress this urge.

Surprisingly, seeking to understand is a very disarming technique. Once the other party feels that you understand where he/she is coming from, they will feel less defensive and be open to understand you in return. This sets the stage for open communications to arrive at a solution that both parties can accept.

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Trying to arrive at a solution without first having this understanding is very difficult – there’s little trust and too much second-guessing.

7. Think Win-Win

As mentioned upfront, political conflicts happen because of conflicting interests. Perhaps due to our schooling, we are taught that to win, someone else needs to lose. Conversely, we are afraid to let someone else win, because it implies losing for us.

In business and work, that doesn’t have to be the case.

Learn to think in terms of “how can we both win out of this situation?” This requires that you first understand the other party’s perspective and what’s in it for him.

Next, understand what’s in it for you. Strive to seek out a resolution that is acceptable and beneficial to both parties. Doing this will ensure that everyone truly commit to the agreed resolution and will not pay only lip-service to it.

People simply don’t like to lose. You may get away with win-lose tactics once or twice but very soon, you’ll find yourself without allies in the workplace.

Thinking win-win is an enduring strategy that builds allies and help you win in the long term.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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