Above The Code

Above the code is the idea of work around software development that is not production work.

Work that is above the editor has more leverage than work below the editor. This idea is explored heavily in Developer Hegemony. Engineers are hired to create business value, not program things.

Staying as a programmer, only programming, sticks you at the bottom of the McLeod Hierarchy. Software is labor. Being a laborer is incompatible with moving to manager to executive to owner.

most work in the post-senior dev fork: management, architecture (sort of), entrepreneurship, consulting, training.

Writing seems intrinsic to all of it. writing helps with growth, helps you persuade, and helps you put research together.

The most valuable skill is communication, and most importantly, being able to communicate how you can deliver value. Focus on being able to communicate that value to people succinctly to people who are not in your field.

Removing Programming From Your Personal Branding

#personal brand

Take a "No software" approach to how you brand yourself. Talk about how you increased profits and decreased costs. This is another point of strategic work, and how you talk about it: Talk about higher contexts, talk about results. Don't define yourself by your tech stack. You can learn in stack in 6 - 12 weeks. People will hire talented engineers regardless of the tools they use.

Volunteer to do non-programming work. Volunteer to audit processes, to do research projects, to learn about a domain and bring others up to speed on it. Keep doing so until you can pitch they you can't do delivery work and other work.

Modesty is not a virtue. Instead, the correct tone to aim for is "restrained, confident professionalism." Sales, marketing, and politicking are unavoidable in the programming industry.

Decisions are made by people and emotions, not logic and algorithms. Think about who you talk too when it comes to making decisions. Also remember that people are easy to hack by dressing well and speaking confidently.

Further Reading