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A career in software engineering is not the same as being good at coding. The field of software engineering has been evolving for decades. As the technology frontier gathers momentum professionals have to recalibrate to fit in or they become obsolete even before they can realize it. This trend is inevitable. Is it avoidable?
Yes, to some extent. Reinventing a career overnight is impossible but staying within competing distance is possible. The answer is the same old boring strategy, planning. One has to define a flexible framework to tackle changing times. The efforts to get a great professional life might cost personal space. Is this trade-off mandatory?
No. Understanding the skill set, market fit, and opportunity cost can help in coming up with a practical career plan that doesn't overwhelm the personal life. A good career plan is a key to peace of mind in the chaotic universe of software. One doesn't have to plan every day of their career. Just having periodic checkpoints and a set of goals to look forward to are a great start.
Loans, pandemics, recessions, and many other factors will impede progress. Having a simple Plan B will ensure you have enough to get started again. Not all plans need to work, just the fallbacks shouldn't fail.
Software engineering is more about being human than about machines!
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