People think you must grind in your spare time to grow effectively as a software engineer.
That's not true.
In fact, I'd say being effective means using what you have wisely—effectively using the time at work instead of letting all 8 hours fly by.
I make sure I grow effectively at and outside work.
Always remain genuinely curious.
Don't let things slide. If you see something in a conversation on Slack or hear something in a call that you don't understand, ask right away!
The more you know, the better it is for both you and your team.
I like to take notes of things I don't understand and research more when I find the time to do so. This way, I dive into things I don't know instead of just getting a quick explanation.
Run after challenges!
That feeling when you're nervous about picking up work because it's out of your comfort zone. That's exactly when you should be diving in relentlessly.
Don't shy away from challenges. When we struggle, that's when we grow. That's when we're on the right path. So embrace the struggle and get excited about it.
If you hear someone working on something interesting, ask them if you can tag along.
Remember, the more challenging something is, the more you'll learn.
Regularly ask for feedback.
Once a month or every other month at least.
Ensure you don't just get positive feedback. You want feedback that helps you grow.
What should you continue to do?
What should you stop doing?
What should you begin to do?
When asking for feedback, ask for examples too. Examples will help you better understand the context and scenario.
Yes, receive feedback from your manager!
However, also ask for feedback from your peers. The people you work with every day. Ask them and tell them you genuinely appreciate their feedback since it helps you grow.
Pair and mob programming are amazing.
I love them for multiple reasons, but one of the reasons is how much you can learn from someone else.
I know many aren't a fan of consistent pair and mob programming. That's okay. Here is one approach you could take:
If someone is working on something interesting, challenging or something that you're not familiar with, ask them if they could schedule a session where you get to tag along.
Tell them you'd appreciate it. To learn from them and for them to help you grow. The session doesn't have to be long and can be a one-time thing.
Use your calendar wisely.
Block out time for both work and learning. For instance, reading 20 minutes a day compounds enormously over time.
Another tip is to block out 30 minutes daily to focus on your learnings.
You got 8 hours. Don't waste your time. Use the time to your advantage, and don't let the time use you.
You don't have to grind in your spare time to grow effectively as a software engineer.
Yes, it's good! You'll grow even faster.
However, it isn't necessary.