Entry level tech career--what should I be learning?

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Entry level tech career--what should I be learning?

Postby jacques01 » Sat May 28, 2016 7:59 pm UTC

I've been in my entry level tech job (Software Developer / Researcher) for about a year and a half. I want to eventually start my own company and / or become a Chief Technical Officer, or some other Tech Executive / Officer position.

I've learned and done a variety of things like web development (front and back), machine learning, web scraping, data analysis, and scripting / automation. I'm even doing a live deployment of an application I largely developed to a sponsor this coming week. But it doesn't scale at all, so it could never be used by any more than a couple dozen of users.

I'm not close to a master or expert in any of the above. I wouldn't even really say I'm a jack of trades either. I just learn quickly and shallowly enough in order to produce the right result / work, "coasting" as one of my friends would call it. So I'm basically a tech coaster. I learn just enough to produce respectable work.

For that reason, I haven't gone very deep in anything. Most of what I know, any smart determined tech person could pick up in under a month. I know these things are particularly important in this day and age:

1. Web development
--> UI / User experience
--> Responsive / reactive web design
--> Scalable RESTful services / API

2. Machine Learning
--> Deep Learning / Neural networks
--> Machine vision (apply ML to images / video / anything visual)
--> Machine signal processing / speech (applying ML to sound or human speech)
--> Creation of new algorithms, understanding of existing algorithms (my background is not math/calculus/stats)

3. Software Development / Algorithms
--> Appropriate data structures and algorithms for a given problem
--> Scalable code
--> Databases (no idea how to model data / make these optimal)
--> Maintainable / modular code

3a. Web crawling
--> Developing smart web crawlers
--> Smart web scrapers

4. Enterprise production
--> Take an idea and scale it for enterprise usage, e.g. If I came out with my own search API,
it better be able to accept millions of requests per second when I start charging developers for API keys

Most of the points I listed are skills which are 100% relevant to my current day job, and also future employment.

Which ones should I go deeper in on my spare time?

My long term goal is to run my own company and / or be a Tech officer, e.g. Chief Technical Officer.

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Re: Entry level tech career--what should I be learning?

Postby Xanthir » Sun May 29, 2016 11:16 pm UTC

You just posted this thread a few weeks ago, my dude viewtopic.php?f=11&t=114739
(defun fibs (n &optional (a 1) (b 1)) (take n (unfold '+ a b)))

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Re: Entry level tech career--what should I be learning?

Postby DaveInsurgent » Mon May 30, 2016 3:16 am UTC

I don't think anyone who *wants* to be a CTO is going to be a very good one. The best are the reluctant ones who, after building a lot of stuff throughout an abundant career working through multitudes of situations, bring an appreciation and understanding of the challenges we face as engineers and can go toe-to-toe with the 'alpha' kinds that get attracted to other C-level positions.

I'm of course talking about real CTOs, not "I am the CTO of a ~20 person startup and I know how to recite buzzwords".

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Re: Entry level tech career--what should I be learning?

Postby Cleverbeans » Fri Aug 05, 2016 2:37 am UTC

Managerial and executive positions are more about soft skills than technical knowledge. You'll need to be good at working a room, making connections and mediation. Time management and self-discipline are also mandatory. While it shouldn't be a factor the reality is that it really helps if you're good looking too so make sure you're tending to your appearance including grooming, scent and clothing. Pick up a few new pieces for your work attire monthly to keep it fresh and don't be afraid to stand out. Beyond that make sure that if you commit to something you honor that. Trustworthiness and hard work are vital keys to advancement. Cultivate the quality of your character and popularity among your peers and you'll find yourself rising through the ranks. Also, suck up to the people who make the the hiring decisions for the position you want. We have lots of evidence that it pays off so leverage that. You'll have to deal with jealousy and other internal politics from competitors so be mindful of that and do your best to ensure they're not sabotaging your chances. The last piece of advice I have is that if you want something, ask for it. Sometimes it's just that simple.
"Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration." - Abraham Lincoln

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