3 lessons from 10 years as a software engineer

At the end of 2017 I left my job as a software engineer in the industrial automation, after 10 years. I decided to throw it all down the drain and start over from scratch, in copywriting.

Here’s 3 of the things I’ve learned.

Studying to learn is ok, but on the job, learning is exponential

After 3 months they fed me to the sharks. Without any prior knowledge apart from some impractical basics, I was boarding a plane for my very first on site client job. And a $300k contract to get signed.

When faced with such pressure, you’re forced to deal with the challenges. You win with creative solutions that have nothing to do with what a book might teach you.

Logic and linear thinking are valuable skills

Yes, being able to think multidimensionally is great and necessary in today’s uncertain world, but logic and linearity still have their own place.

In a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) program, you write thousands of lines like these:

For every input there’s an output, but the logic can get messy and overwhelming fast, when you deal with robots, and shit.

Being able to think logically and linearly is how you create effective systems and mental models that simplify reality to make it more manageable.

Bugs are a part of the process

I used to think those NASA engineers type of experts were bulletproof. If they have THAT kind of responsibilities, they MUST be flawless and always confident in their ability to fix problems and come up with the perfect solutions.

There are no perfect solutions. It’s just human beings trying to figure it all out the best way possible with the knowledge available at the time.

Bugs and mistakes happen, it’s how you deal with those and what you do to avoid them happening again that makes you an expert.