Let’s cut the extra fluff, developers get more value out of reading code and case studies. Even beginner developers will know this. It’s obvious isn’t it?

However, Divyansh Singh, Head of Engineering at Utter, thinks this is not so obvious. In his meetup with HelloMeets early October, he shared many actionable points with developers, and how consistently following them can bring growth in their career.

Following are sum of insights Divyansh has gathered through his years of working in 4 different startups as a developer.  He has grown from being an iOS developer to now Head of Engineering at Utter, an English learning App for blue-collar workforce, used by 5 Million+ people.

“Startups need developers who can keep evolving and grow consistently. To build a fulfilling career, you need to keep leveling up consciously” - Divyansh

Let’s dig into what he shared for you all.


1. How to become an extremely important person in startups

The era of isolated tech department is ending swiftly. With more merging of different roles like Product Managers with tech backgrounds or Marketers building websites, and rise in the importance of professional’s personal branding, developers need to up their game.

How?

By being the go to person for people who need help. Do maintain boundaries, but in initial stages of your career, don’t deny helping anyone with your skills. Get yourself involved in important projects that need coding.
It helps in two ways:

  • Makes you dependable for your teammates from other departments. Maintain that vibe with consistent work, and your team will start seeing you as person who gets the job done.
  • Gives you exposure. If you ship something functional for your startup, it gives a boost to the startup and your resume.

2. How to get “enough” experience as a developer?


Start looking at it as ‘specific’ working experience.

Example -If  you started as an iOS developer and you want to move to API development, you’ll need experience in building APIs.

Keep working on side projects. If you’re studying formally or doing online courses, build products that let you apply your skills. Create small projects in whichever development platform you want to learn.

Consistently add to your skills, keep learning new languages and frameworks. And become a full-stack developer — someone who can build a whole product on their own if needed.

Build complete products


It helps in 3 ways:

  • Makes you stand out. Not many beginner developers publish their projects and write about them.
  • You get exposure to various use cases, types of applications, platforms and experiences.
  • When recruiters see your published apps, it conveys to them your commitment to learn and adapt to new projects

While building complete products, ensure that you understand the market and user response. Make different kinds of people use your app — 3 techies, 3 Power Users of Apps, 3 Casual Users.

This will allow you to build a feedback loop and know the users who are going to use your tech better.

“Do it to learn, not to just earn money. Target to gain experience.” - Divyansh

Try freelancing


It helps in 2 ways (along with giving valuable experiences and portfolio upgrades):

  • Gives you a chance to come out of your regular working environments
  • Lets you understand how well managed you are, and how you can drive yourself without external managers and superiors giving you directions.


Publish your apps and side projects, even if you’re just starting out” - Divyansh


3. Keep filling the gaps in your knowledge with online courses


No one can know everything.

And a lot of formally trained developers fall short when trying out something new, because they’ve missed learnings basics.

Divyansh recommends doing one course each month. Practice your fundamentals, and add to it by studying new technology. Invest a good amount of time each weak learning new things, fill the gaps in your hands-on skill and theory.

There are so many courses online, how do we choose what to pick up?
Here are the best free courses you can look at, they’re recommended by Randall Kanna, the Head of Community at Gumroad, Ex-Senior Engineer at Eventbrite -

Introduction to Computer Science:

  1. CS50: Introduction to Computer Science by Harvard
  • This is only for basics, those who feel their colleges didn’t do justice in teaching them the right thing, this course might help you clear up fundamental knowledge.

Algorithms:

  1. Data Structures and Algorithms Specialization [From University of San Diego]
  • This course has a ton of topics and sections. Do one per week, and you’ll be sorted.

2. Advanced Data Structures  [From MIT]

  • If you really want to kick things up a notch.

Operating Systems:

  1. Introduction to Operating Systems [From Georgie Tech]
  • This will give you basics of threads, concurrency, distributed systems and more.

2. Operating Systems: Three Easy Pieces [an E-book]

Databases:

  1. Stanford offers a free online course on Databases

Mathematics:

  1. MIT offers a Mathematics for Computer Science course
  2. You can find more such courses on this website → TeachYourselfCS

You can also check out Randall’s book - Standout Developer here → https://t.co/mlGF2kr9b6?amp=1


4. When applying for developer roles at startups

You'll get questions and problems to deal with. Solving problems should be your forte.

Focus on exposing yourself to various use cases, it gives you an applicable collection of thought + actions. It’ll make problem solving second nature for you.

Startups are the best place for you to grow. It will also give you more impact on the product, as the whole pipeline will be in front of you. This exposure gives you the ability to build your own products.

But before reaching in a startup, you need to be selected by them. So, here are a few things that will allow you to stand out while applying.

Randall Kanna reviews hundreds of resumes regularly, and here’s are her tips:

How to make employable resumes

  • Add 1 or 2 bullet points to give details about what you’ve worked on. Don’t just write “worked on iOS application”.
  • Use an resume template that stands out. Check out Canva to make really visually pleasing templates.
  • Use consistent formatting, fonts, spacing and design elements. If you use bullet points, use only one type.
  • Don’t make resumes too long. Keep them really short - 1 or 2 pages maximum. Convey more weight with your Github profile links.
  • When writing work experience, give numbers. Don’t be generic. Say things like “Tech lead for ‘XYZ’ project that helped the company reach ‘ABC’ new users in 3 months”.
  • If you have about 48 hours to spare, submit your resume to ZipJob. They offer a free resume review from an actual person.
  • If you have a few days, finish a new certification which you can add in your resume.
  • Add side projects that showcase your skills.

5. How to build a good profile?

LinkedIn

  • Join linkedin groups. You can use them to explore opportunities.
  • Keep getting endorsements from colleagues, mentors, friends, team members, freelance employers. Write about your expertise and post them on linkedin groups. This will help you gain trust and credibility among your peers.


Github

Divyansh says “Github is your actual resume.” for developers.

  • Github is THE place to display your projects. Keep publishing your projects there
  • Keep reading open-source projects on Github
  • Keep writing articles on different use cases

Pro Tips

  • Read Code and Case Studies - start with small open-source projects
  • Read and understand the the approach of builders
  • Avoid using packages, make your own packages, to understand what is going on underneath.
  • Case studies are the best way to learn products and experiences with tech
  • Ensure that wherever you work, that workplace lets you grow
  • At the same time, create your own online presence - on Medium, LinkedIn and dev-communities
  • Do online talks and share your knowledge with others who know less than you


Although this blog is summary of the meetup with resources, the live experience is 100x better and higher in learning output. Divyansh’s meetup was lit with questions and specific use cases that many developers brought to attention.

We thank Divyansh for his time and wisdom - you can contact him here → https://www.linkedin.com/in/divyansh92/

For more meetups like these, check out www.hub.hellomeets.com or subscribe to our updates, so that you don’t miss any such awesome interactions with startup experts.