Tips, Habits & Grit – What Successful Engineers do to Advance their Careers

Hello #vCommunity friends. Today I’m going to share a presentation that I gave recently at the Atlanta VMUG UserCon event. This was originally going to be a joint presentation between myself and my good friend Ariel Sanchez. Due to a scheduling conflict though, Ariel was unable to attend so I made it my own. The premise is a simple one. What have we as engineers done over the years to be successful? What are some of the tips and tricks that we picked up over the years that we can pass on to you all?

This topic came about over a number of conversations that Ariel and I had over the years. I even had the bright idea of trying to turn it into a book at one point but life got in the way of that. At least that is the excuse that I am going with. I did however write a previous blog post on this topic, which you can find here: How To Be An Awesome IT Professional

This presentation however, is a more up to date version of that post.

The topics that I focused on are the ones that I find most important. This list may be different for you, but that’s OK. Although, if you have other ideas, I’d love to hear them. The topics that I covered are as follows:

  • Be Educated
    • Never Stop Learning
    • Get certified, for the right reasons
    • Know your role, and its expectations
  • Be Organized
    • Develop good habits and routines
    • Create and follow standards
    • Learn how to create and maintain documentation
    • Automate as much as possible
    • Leave a place better than you found it
  • Be Like Water
    • Adapt, improvise and overcome
    • Adopt a growth mindset
    • Be a failure and learn from it
    • Have a Plan B
  • Be Vulnerable
    • “I don’t know” is OK
    • Don’t be afraid to ask for help
    • Find a mentor(s)
  • Be a Detective
    • Learn troubleshooting skills
    • Knowing the answer is not as important as being able to find the answer
    • RTFM – Read the Friendly Manual
    • Create a blog and use it as your own personal help file
  • Be Approachable
    • Don’t be that person……seriously, they suck
    • Break out of your shell
    • Be uncomfortable
    • Try to find ways to say yes
    • Be a good teammate
  • Be Collaborative
    • You’re not alone
    • Share the knowledge
    • Train others
    • Be “social”
    • Participate
  • Be Dependable
    • If you say you’ll do it, DO IT!
    • Earn a reputation for getting things done
    • Always have integrity
    • Do the little things
    • Listen and W.A.I.T (Why am I talking?)
    • Give your full attention to others
    • Volunteer to help
  • Be The Business
    • Know what your business does
    • Know your role in the business
    • Take a business approach to technical challenges
  • Be A Mentor
    • Give back
    • Lead by example
  • Be Rested
    • You can’t be on all of the time
    • Time management is critical
    • Maintain a work/life balance
    • Don’t lose sight of what is important to you
    • Burnout is real
    • Be present
  • Be Relentless
    • Never stop improving
    • Keep learning
    • Ask questions
    • Be curious
    • Be your best self

Check out the slide deck below and please reach out to me at @NScuola on Twitter with your thoughts on what I covered. I hope that these tips are helpful in your career journey. I’m always willing to discuss this topic 1 on 1, to a group, over video chat, the phone, smoke signals, carrier pigeons, you name it. I’d love to get more of a discussion going around this topic as I think it is critical. If this is something that you’d like to see in a podcast or video form, let me know that too. Please enjoy, share and make my slide deck below your own. See you next time.

Tips, Habits & Grit – What Successful Engineers do to Advance their Careers

NOTE: We will be presenting this topic again at the #ChicagoVMUG UserCon on October 24th. If you’re going to be in Chicago, please come by Salon 8 at 4:15 PM and join in the discussion. You can register for the event here: Chicago VMUG UserCon 2019

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