Passion and Discipline

Recently, I talked to an experienced developer and CTO. He asked me to tell him two attributes that I’m looking for when hiring people.

Quite a hard question, expressing all your thoughts and ideas in two words, right?

I told him that I always look for passion and discipline. This article should give you an understanding why I believe that these are the most crucial attributes of a developer.

In general, the developer’s life consists of various challenges. A developer needs to generate output and create value for the project, always try to find the right balance between quality and speed. Besides that, it is important to be well integrated into the team and help your colleagues to become better in their functions. But this is not the end, working on the own skills is fundamental as well. The developer constantly needs to improve his hard and soft skills. In the age of innovation and open source, it is necessary to have a sound understanding of existing and evolving technologies.

Taking all these challenges into account, I think, a developer needs to be passionate and disciplined for mastering all of that.

Passion lets a developer work on topics that look impossible at the beginning. It is the inner voice that keeps him motivated even so a quick success seems to be unrealistic. In such situations “the journey is the reward”, always looking for better approaches and solutions.

On the other hand, it can be dangerous to be only passionate, because it can lead to an infinite loop. Without clear borders and goals, the developer can get lost in the sheer amount of possibilities. Do you know that feeling, trying to build the best solution ever and at some point realize that you will eventually never find the end?

That’s why, I think, discipline is a critical attribute that every developer should have. Discipline lets the developer focus on the goal and outcome. The developer wants to deliver output all the time for making progress. What is more rewarding and motivating than seeing stuff in production?

In my opinion, the combination of both attributes define a super power developer. Especially in tech startups, these attributes play a bigger role than in big corporations because the startup needs to show innovation and progress fast.

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