Try Not to Become a Man of Success. Become a Man of Value — Einstein.
As a software engineer, understanding the value you bring to your team’s proverbial table is imperative. Ask yourself in clear terms, what exactly is that you do, how important it is to the team’s success and the impact your absence would cause. Because, you may only increase your value once you clearly identify it.
You are expected to write well designed, bug free, efficient code and then improve this skill over time. Imagine yourself as a carpenter making chairs; the difference between the ones she made at the start of her career and ones she makes after years of practice should be night and day. Some of them would stand the test of time as a monument to its creator’s mettle. That’s the code you want to write.
Learn to improve your skill and value. Below are some ideas.
Look at the projects you are working on and how they contribute to you becoming a valuable asset of your team. If you’ve been working on an experimental side project that no one cares about talk to your manager to become mainstream. If you’re actually mainstream for too long an experimental side project might be what you need.
Spend time in understanding the business proposition of your team to your end customers and how it effects the revenue. Yes, money brings a lot of value and you should not ignore that.
Spend time in learning and improving. Look for new technology solutions that can help your team. Spend late hours figuring them out before presenting them as viable options. Build tools to improve efficiency.
Understand everything about your product’s code base, whether you worked on it or not. Never say that I’ve never worked on this part of the code, instead volunteer to fix bugs in it. Be humble and inquisitive and you can gain lot from people around you.
Remember, you can only tell the distance traveled if you start measuring it. A lot is possible once you clearly identify your value over time.