Developer Tea

Taking Advantage of Your Time as a Student

Episode Summary

School will be starting soon and in today's episode we're talking specifically to students.

Episode Notes

In today's episode we're talking about taking advantage of unique positions we are put in as a developer to learn and grown. If you're a student heading back to school, or going through a life change, this episode is for you!

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Episode Transcription

It's about the time that students are headed back to school and in today's episode I want to dedicate a few moments to talk directly to you as a student. And this is also completely relevant for people who aren't students, people who are in your careers, or maybe you are in the learning process. And you have some future that you are seeking after as a developer. You have some kind of growth in mind. After all, this podcast is for driven developers. And so you're driving towards something. In today's episode, we're going to talk about how to take advantage of whatever unique position you find yourself in, particularly for students in this episode. But once again, you can find those unique factors of wherever you are in your career. My name is Jonathan Cutrell and you're listening to Developer Tea. My goal on this show is to help driven developers find clarity, perspective, and purpose in their careers. Throughout your career, you will find yourself in a unique position, no matter where you are in that process. So for students, you're in the unique position of not having a boss. You have your peers, your student peers, and you have your TAs, maybe the people that are also kind of like peers, but they have some oversight. Then you have your teachers, you have your advisors, but you don't really have a boss. You don't have someone who is kind of dictating whether or not your actions are going to affect your livelihood. You don't have a job to lose. We've brought up the philosophy of stoicism on the show before, not because it is the one true philosophy, but because it has some really good applications to our career path and it can help us see these positions, these unique scenarios as strengths. It may feel like right now all you're trying to do is get through school so that you can get hired. It feels like an obligation or just something to check off the list of things to do. But the truth is, when you're a student and in every other stage of your career, you have some unique characteristics of that stage in your career. We've already mentioned maybe the main one for students that is you don't have a boss. No one is going to kick you out of school for doing less than optimum. You don't have to hit perfect performance to continue your schooling. And even failing a class is not going to drop you entirely out of a program most of the time. What does this afford you? What does your circumstance afford you? This is kind of the key question, the one that I want you to take with you and use this question as a tool. We're going to provide some answers in this episode of what the circumstance of being a student affords you. But I want you to take that question and hold on to it and refer back to it, write it down because it's incredibly useful, not just in this scenario, but in future scenarios. What does your circumstance uniquely afford you? We're going to take a quick break and talk about today's sponsor. And when we get back, we're going to talk about what you can do as a student to take advantage of this unique circumstance that you found yourself in. This episode is sponsored by Linode. With Linode, you can get a server in the Linode Cloud deployed in just a few minutes. With Linode, you pay for what you use. You have hourly billing across all plans and one price add-on services. You can deploy and maintain your infrastructure simply and cost effectively using things like Linode's manager, their API, and even their CLI. It's easy to provision, secure, monitor, and backup your cloud. Linode features native SSD storage, a 40 gigabit network, and the industry's fastest processors. You can pick from any of the 10 worldwide data centers with new data centers in Toronto and Mumbai. And here's the important part of today's sponsor message. Linode is hiring and they are providing $20 worth of credit for all new customers. If you're interested in working at Linode, head over to slash careers. If you'd like that $20 worth of credit as a new customer, head over to slash Developer Tea. That's slash Developer Tea. You can use the promo code Developer Tea2019. That's Developer Tea 2019 at checkout. Thanks again to Linode for sponsoring today's episode of Developer Tea. So if you don't have a boss as a student, then she comes as no surprise that you have a lot more flexibility with what you choose to do with your time. You also tend to have more flexibility with the types of projects that you choose to do. For example, if you are in a computer science degree, then you likely have some kind of project that you have to create on your own. Certainly at the later stages of that schooling, you're probably going to have labs and that kind of thing where you can create something purely out of your own imagination. Now, here's the critical factor. A lot of people go through these degree programs and they don't take advantage of that freedom. They don't take advantage of the freedom to do the things that they want to do. And instead, they view the grade as the goal. They view the GPA as the goal. They view simply getting out of school as the goal. I'm going to challenge you to think differently about your situation. And instead of thinking about your schooling as having the only primary goal of getting a decent grade of pumping up your GPA, then pressing your teachers or impressing your colleagues, I want you to fast forward into one year or two years after your degree. Imagine what you're going to put on your resume. If someone asks you, what are some interesting projects that you've worked on? Or what are some interesting problems that you've solved? What is something that you've done that you are proud of? If someone asks you those questions, can you take what you are doing today and to those questions? Can you respond to those people? Can you put that on your resume and be proud of it? Is it something that people are going to care about beyond the grade? Remember, you have the freedom to choose what you want to do with your time for the most part while you're in school. Now, it doesn't mean that you slack off and you don't care about your grades at all, but instead, you can choose to put the extra effort in and decide to solve more interesting problems for those elective projects. Explore more esoteric subjects and read more esoteric books. Choose to take a different path through your schooling. Pay a little bit more attention to the story that you'll tell about your time as a student, rather than just simply trying to get through so you can finally get a job. Now, hopefully you can see how this applies not only to students, but also later in your career. When you have the option to choose a challenging problem, when you have the option to choose a more interesting path, consider the story that you'll tell in the future. What does this next step that you're taking? What does your agenda for this day and this week and this month? What does that do for your future? How do your present day actions feed into your long-term goals? Thank you so much for listening to today's episode of Developer Tea. I hope this was challenging and I hope it was inspiring, especially for those of you who are jumping into your semester and you're choosing your classes or maybe you're getting your first assignments. This is an exciting moment and it's a critical moment both for your schooling and also for your long-term career. Thank you so much for listening to today's episode. Thank you again to today's sponsor, Linode. Head over to slash Developer Tea and use the code Developer Tea2019 to get that $20 worth of credit as a new customer on Linode. Thank you so much for listening. Today's episode wouldn't be possible without the spec network and our producer Sarah Jackson. My name is Jonathan Cutrell and until next time, enjoy your tea.