How to Make Most of Being A Jack of Multiple Things!

This is an excerpt from the e-book ‘self.debug – An Emotional Guide To Being A World-Class Software Engineer’ written by Karan Kurani. It’s a guide to increasing your skill set as a software engineer to the next level by debugging yourself and your emotions.
Karan Kurani is the co-founder and CTO of DoctorC, which is the leading marketplace in India connecting consumers with easy, affordable diagnostic & lab tests. DoctorC’s mission is to make healthcare simple, transparent and affordable. Karan is an alumnus of Cornell University with an overall experience of 8+ years. He has worked with GREE as a Lead Software engineer and founded two startups Shoutt and DoctorC.
Interview with Karan Kurani, Co-founder & CTO, DoctorC

Here’s an excerpt from the chapter ‘Hacking Skillz – Jack of more than 1 trade’ it talks about how being average in more than 1 thing is easier and more valuable than being excellent at just 1 thing.

Note – This guideline is most useful for the bottom 99% of the practising software engineers. So if you are part of the remaining 1% – you can safely skip this post.

There is a surprisingly easy hack that you can apply to increase your value generally in life. Pick up more skills. It sounds obvious when put on paper but there is one subtlety which makes it a “hack” in my opinion.
For this point, we turn to the excellent Scott Adams’ book – “How to fail at almost everything and still win big”. Speaking about being successful, he says –

“… I tell them there’s a formula for it. You can manipulate your odds of success by how you choose to fill out the variables in the formula. The formula, roughly speaking, is that every skill you acquire doubles your odds of success.”

He goes on to mention that the level of proficiency for a skill is not mentioned because –

“… you can raise your market value by being merely good – not extraordinary – at more than one skill.”
“To put the success formula into its simplest form: Good + Good > Excellent”

This subtlety makes it very easy to execute. You don’t need to be extraordinary, you just have to be ordinary/average. Hence, if you are an average software engineer and you have any of the skills mentioned below –

  • Good at drawing
  • Public speaking
  • Managing people
  • Have a knack to pick up people’s emotions
  • An eye for design in product
  • Spot problems in operational processes
  • Shoot, edit and/or make videos
  • Make original music
  • Sing
  • Writing essays/blog posts
  • Or anything else

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You are immediately more valuable to yourself and your organisation vs someone is who is a very good software engineer only. So if you are a software engineer who can think of product ideas and execute independently (remember you only have to be of an average skill in it) – you have more than doubled your value.
Leverage that skill.
What Does A Software Developer Do?

Just like programming, it’s an adventure to delve into your own mind. You can debug yourself – this book shows you how.  

If you’re interested to learn more about full stack software development, check out upGrad & IIIT-B’s Executive PG Programme in Software Development – Specialization in Full Stack Development which is designed for working professionals and offers 500+ hours of rigorous training, 9+ projects and assignments, IIIT-B Alumni status, practical hands-on capstone projects & job assistance with top firms.

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