Should We Put Less Emphasis on Technical Competencies?

If you aspire to create a successful tech venture like Facebook, Google, Microsoft, or Amazon, a sound understanding of programming languages like Python, Rust, React, Ruby, PHP, and NodeJS is crucial. While technical proficiency is vital, there are other crucial elements to consider, such as creative problem-solving, strategic vision, and innovation, to achieve success in scaling large products such as Slack, SafeBoda, Jumia, Twitter, or Uber.

Many people wonder if a solitary programmer, powered by a steady stream of coffee, could have created today’s successful digital technology giants. However, it is widely acknowledged that such innovative applications require collaborative effort and teamwork, and that technical prowess alone is insufficient. This underscores the importance of teamwork, implying that the ability to work in a team is just as important as coding skills, if not more so.

During a collaborative project alongside a software developer, we discovered a significant lack of expertise in the field. Unlike the typical professional hesitancy to accept constructive feedback, this individual was not receptive to any suggestions that could have helped improve the quality of their work. This created a challenging situation as we had to constantly review and amend the work they had produced, which ultimately slowed down project progress and, in some cases, led to subpar work that was not ready for publication.

During my time in boot camp with a different squad, I had a unique experience with a teammate. Despite having technical limitations, he was always eager to learn from his peers. He wasn’t afraid to ask questions and would persistently seek clarification until he fully understood a concept. Furthermore, he consistently updated us on his progress, no matter how small the task was. Surprisingly, he was more motivated by constructive criticism than praise. Whenever someone lauded his work, he would inquire how they would have approached the task differently and what improvements could be made. If he saw that incorporating the suggested approach would boost product performance, he would actively work to implement those changes in his subsequent assignments. Working with him was a gratifying experience, as it pushed me to reassess my own motivations for certain tasks, even though I had more experience than him.

While technical expertise is often cited as the driving force behind the success of a product, a broader view reveals that it is not the only factor. Our team’s success is attributable to our collective ability to stay open to new ideas and stay connected with one another. Given the ever-changing landscape of user needs and technology, it’s essential for our team to continually learn and adapt to new technologies. For instance, JavaScript has seen a meteoric rise over the last three decades, dethroning the BASIC programming language’s popularity from the 1970s. To maintain our success, technologists must be willing to explore and progress with diverse technologies.

Although anyone can potentially learn how to code, not everyone has the inclination to continuously embrace new ideas and methodologies. Some individuals may lack the ability to accept constructive criticism, and others may not be comfortable with making even the slightest of personality adjustments to feel more confident in their interactions with others. Sadly, not everyone is transparent, and these characteristics are often connected with an individual’s inherent traits that cannot be altered in the short term. We have observed firsthand how rigid perspectives of some individuals can hinder the progress of a product that aims to become the next Amazon.

Changing from a negative attitude to a positive one is a challenging task that requires a lot of hard work and persistence. Nonetheless, certain people have the ability to quickly grasp coding concepts and become proficient in Django applications by delving into the documentation. Both Emotional Intelligence (EQ) and Intelligence Quotient (IQ) play a pivotal role in workplace success. In my opinion, since it is relatively easier to improve one’s IQ than their EQ, Works has been successful in recruiting individuals with higher IQs since its inception. If you want to enhance your IQ, it’s critical to concentrate on developing your EQ.

Undoubtedly, an engineer who uses their emotional intelligence as much as their intellectual capabilities is incredibly valuable.

Before we part ways, here is a quote from a successful writer.

Eric Jensen once said, “The mind and heart are intertwined; one cannot think or learn in isolation from the other.”

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