Things I've Learned Along The Way

18 December 2020

A mantra for a healthy software developer

Recently I pocketed the coveted Developer of the Year 2020 award from Digital DNA and to say I was surprised is an understatement. I am deeply humbled to have my work recognised in this way. It seems like a good time to briefly reflect back on how I got here and it's nothing secret, or revolutionary. Mostly just hard work and a bit of luck, just like most other things in life.

However, I've picked up a few key mantras over the years and still abide by them. Again, this is nothing that hasn't been said before but sometimes these things bear repeating nonetheless.

Wear the white belt

Naturally as you practice and progress at your profession, you might be seen as an 'expert' in something or 'proficient' at something else but it pays to remember your initial thirst and drive.

Always be a beginner. Always be humble.

Take a break

Look after yourself. Step away from the screen. Stand up, walk around. Make a coffee. Do some excercise.

I've solved more bugs taking a walk than I have staring at my computer.

And you'll feel better too. You're not a machine.

Enjoy it

It's unlikely that, in any job, every single day is going to be hugely fulfilling and amazing but if you don't like it, change it up.

Seek adventure

Push yourself out of your comfort zone, a little at a time. You're probably not going to reinvent everything overnight but sitting still forever isn't likely to bring you any joy.

With carefully selected, paced progression, measurable results and clear, achievable goals you'll thank yourself later.


Listen to others. Actually listen and respond with respect. You never know it all.

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Niall Kelly

Principal Engineer