A couple weeks ago I traveled back to my second home in Boise, ID to speak on a panel for Boise Startup Week. The main topic of the panel was how to build apps that actually help people. There was a lot of good discussion about UX design, MVP, watching users perform tasks you want to help them with, A/B testing and many awesome ideas that I love exploring. All extremely important for engineers to understand.
Interestingly, 90% of the audience attending the panel turned out to be students who are about to enter their first job after college. While they were curious about all the awesome techniques we shared for making the product chime with users, they were there because they wanted to know how to succeed in a job they were about to start. One of the questions that an audience member struck a chord with me.
“How do you find a career you are passionate about? Do I have to keep on switching jobs until I find that passion? I do not want to do that.”
Yes, yes you may have to do that. Unless you already know what you want out of your career (then it is probably your second career or you are a very sophisticated 21 year old), or happen to fall into the dream job you did not know you wanted, your first job is probably not going to be a perfect match. I was lucky and my first job was in a really cool startup where I learned things most engineers don’t until later in their lives (like how to build a successful company, how to deal with your customers directly and how to build a product that actually helps people). But even in this awesome company, I soon found myself feeling like I needed something else.
Gah! I needed to try quite a few things before I found a position where I truly had a ton of fun going to work every day and forgetting the flow of time entirely because of how engaged and excited I felt about solving the problem in front of me. How do you find out what you are passionate about?