Swizec Teller - a geek with a hatswizec.com

    Swizec's articles in the "mindset" category

    I aim to write mindblowing emails with real insight into the career and skills of a modern software engineer. "Raw and honest from the heart!" as one reader described them.

    Below are 55 articles filed under mindset. Enjoy ❤️

    Software Engineering Lessons from Production

    Join Swizec's Newsletter and get insightful emails 💌 on mindsets, tactics, and technical skills for your career. Real lessons from building production software. No bullshit.

    "Man, love your simple writing! Yours is the only newsletter I open and only blog that I give a fuck to read & scroll till the end. And wow always take away lessons with me. Inspiring! And very relatable. 👌"

    ~ Ashish Kumar

    Join 15,883+ engineers learning lessons from my "raw and honest from the heart" emails.

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    4.5 stars average rating

    Always have 3 answers

    How do you stand out as an expert amid tech layoffs?
    July 1st, 2022

    Coding forces you to understand the problem

    Programming translates fuzzy understanding into exacting specifications. That’s why it’s hard. The Illusion of Explanatory Depth reigns supreme
    June 22nd, 2022

    A lesson on expertise from a great mafia movie

    You cannot make something good until you understand who you're making it for.
    June 16th, 2022

    There are no bad teams

    it’s the leader, not the team
    June 3rd, 2022

    Writing software is like kicking a can

    Writing software is a playful process of exploration and discovery. Like a game of kick the can on a Sunday walk.
    May 25th, 2022

    The role of a senior+ engineer

    "Every product org should have a senior+ engineer whose job it is to run around and make everyone else more productive" 🤔 That IS the role of a senior+ engineer
    April 26th, 2022

    When to join and leave a company, project, or trend

    Timing changes everything. Who do you think has better engineers? The team that built Google from 9 million daily searches in 2000 to 1 billion in 2009, or the team that launched Google's 10th chat app last year?
    April 7th, 2022

    How to give and receive feedback

    Feedback can save an airplane from crashing, or upset everyone around you. But for you personally, honest feedback is the fastest way to become a better engineer. Fixing what you're bad at is where the gains hide.
    March 4th, 2022

    Be their shit umbrella

    because if you go to bat for the team, the team goes to bat for you
    February 16th, 2022

    Quick tip for system design interviews

    What are system design interviews for anyway?
    January 28th, 2022

    What is the goal of engineering?

    How can you know you're succeeding if you don't know where you're going?
    January 20th, 2022

    Try to work for a brand

    Brand helps your career in subtle ways.
    January 14th, 2022

    What to do when bugs are whack-a-mole

    What do you do when every bug you fix creates 5 new bugs? You could laugh and move on, or realize it's a sign of bigger issues
    January 6th, 2022

    When it’s okay to work overtime

    Not all overtime is bad overtime
    December 11th, 2021

    Small choices can wreck your codebase

    wanna see the strangest looping construct I've found in production code?
    December 3rd, 2021

    What to expect in senior level interviews

    Interviews are terrible. Stressful, time-intensive, loosely correlated with on the job performance. They're the least terrible way we have to hire.
    November 25th, 2021

    Getting from junior to senior

    The difference in salary between a junior and senior engineer can be orders of magnitude. Many multiples at least. But what's the difference in mindset that gets you there?
    November 19th, 2021

    How defensive coding leads to bloat

    Defensive coding is an important lesson and over time and engineers it leads to massive bloat, if you're not careful.
    November 15th, 2021

    What's more productive, a team or a talented soloist?

    Engineers *hate it* when you say it doesn't matter how good they are because a team will outcode them any day. But it's true, you can't build something big on your own.
    October 15th, 2021

    Meetings – a senior engineer's secret weapon

    Boo meetings, yay code, right? There comes a time in your career when coding is no longer your highest impact contribution. Might even be holding you back. 🙊
    October 1st, 2021

    How to rewrite your app while growing to a $100,000,000 series B

    When you're in a company desperately trying to meet demand, *ship*. You'll have money, time, and professionals to fix code later. Even if you start with jQuery.
    September 18th, 2021

    A great engineer knows their tools

    Earlier in my career when I thought I was god's gift to engineering but wasn't, I failed one of those stupid interview questions that "have nothing to do with the work". It was a great question.
    September 9th, 2021

    How to ask for help

    what makes a senior engineer stand out in an interview? No it's not the amount of side projects or their leetcoding speed. It's knowing how and when to ask for help.
    August 27th, 2021

    Reader question: "When do you fix tech debt?"

    Long time reader Phil asks when do you fix the tech debt you used to ship faster. Heroic efforts don't work. The real answer is "always" – a mindset of gardening.
    August 17th, 2021

    Tech debt is a tool

    If your house was on fire, would you mow the lawn first?
    August 13th, 2021

    Pay yourself first

    Profit is not what's left after expenses, expenses are what's left after profit.
    July 30th, 2021

    What I learned from Software Engineering at Google

    When I first picked up Software Engineering at Google I thought it was another one of those FAANG books full of lessons that make no sense at human scale. I was surprised, lessons apply to teams as small as 5.
    July 16th, 2021

    Your career needs a vision

    In his book, The Art of Science and Engineering, Richard Hamming says the key to a great career is vision. What does that really look like?
    July 14th, 2021

    Why a coding AI like Github Copilot won't take your job

    It might. What's your job? If you're in the *"write code to exact specifications"* business ... now's a good time to start leveling up. The AI's not ready yet.
    July 7th, 2021

    How to own projects like a senior engineer

    The best skill you can learn is ownership. The second best is to let go.
    July 2nd, 2021

    Do important work

    Next time you finish a project, ask yourself: *"Might this work be important?"*. Add the polish.
    June 19th, 2021

    Why you need a positioning statement

    High value experts use positioning statements to say what they do for whom. Most engineers don't have one. 🤨
    May 14th, 2021

    What matters in a senior engineer job interview

    Degree matters if you have nothing better to show, consulting and BigTech backgrounds are negative, too many seniors can't code.
    May 7th, 2021

    Flow good for programming, not engineering

    Friend, how good are you at your best? ... Nobody cares. How good are you at your average? What about your worst?
    April 24th, 2021

    Your luck & opportunity surface area

    Here's a comment that resonated yesterday and you might like. It's about how to maximize the opportunity in your work.
    March 26th, 2021

    How do you know if serverless fits your project?

    The hallmark of a true expert is understanding about the pros and cons of your technical decisions.
    March 25th, 2021

    Can you code faster?

    What slows you down most while coding? It's not lack of skill. It's not lack of ideas. It's uncertainty. Fear.
    February 26th, 2021

    The Magic Function principle

    Write functions, mostly magic.
    February 5th, 2021

    "silicon valley is like hollywood"

    and I don't mean Silicon Valley the place, I mean Silicon Valley the concept.
    January 29th, 2021

    Why you can't find an engineering coach

    Wanna learn boxing? Join a gym, find a coach. Tennis player with a kink in your game? Find a coach. Software engineer with a missing skill? Google, random blogs, fun newsletters, dubious podcasts, noise on twitter 🤨
    January 8th, 2021

    You're not asking for a job, you're selling a service

    You're not asking for a job, you're selling a service. The true question behind every interview is "How can you help us?"
    November 20th, 2020

    How I use delegation to get more done

    Productivity porn shows you how to pack more into your day. Productivity porn is wrong my friend. You need to remove things to grow.
    October 23rd, 2020

    Should you take a pay cut for equity

    Would you take some % of your salary in bitcoin? The joke is that compared to pre-IPO equity, bitcoin is predictable and has a known value.
    October 9th, 2020

    Computer science is not software engineering

    Wow, college was such a waste of time ... when did you ever invert a binary tree outside of an interview? Honestly I never inverted a binary tree in college either ☹️
    October 2nd, 2020

    Why senior engineers get nothing done

    You start a new job and it's amazing. Code all day, clear objectives, easy guidelines, ship a bunch of features be a hero. Then something happens and suddenly you get nothing done. 🤔
    September 11th, 2020

    Why Understanding beats Knowledge

    Understanding beats knowledge every day. To have a strong career, learn to understand, not just to know.
    August 28th, 2020

    Why engineers are worth so much

    Engineers don't do the day to day work, they build assets the business can exploit for years to come. That's the magic
    July 24th, 2020

    What a hockey legend can teach you about career development

    Say your boss gives you $1000 to grow your career. What do you do?
    May 9th, 2019

    What makes you a senior software engineer anyway?

    I used to think a senior engineer was someone who gets a project, understands the context, puts their head down, and gets it done. But no. A senior engineer does so much more than just write code and design systems.
    February 13th, 2019

    How resumé-driven development shapes our industry

    All that once was new is old again
    October 19th, 2017

    Software Engineering Lessons from Production

    Join Swizec's Newsletter and get insightful emails 💌 on mindsets, tactics, and technical skills for your career. Real lessons from building production software. No bullshit.

    "Man, love your simple writing! Yours is the only newsletter I open and only blog that I give a fuck to read & scroll till the end. And wow always take away lessons with me. Inspiring! And very relatable. 👌"

    ~ Ashish Kumar

    Join 15,883+ engineers learning lessons from my "raw and honest from the heart" emails.

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️✨
    4.5 stars average rating

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