Will the development job you’re doing today be around in 10 years time?
Nobody can answer that, but one thing’s certain. There’s never been a time of such rapid change.
Doomsayers say that in the future everyone’s job will be automated and we’ll all live below the poverty line, while a few trillionaires push the buttons. They’ll definitely use the words ChatGPT and AI in their argument.
I say as a species we’re more resilient than that. After all, in the 19th century didn’t we manage the transition from an agricultural to industrial workforce?
Some opportunities close, but others open.
Maybe one day we’ll look back on software development as a job we’re glad we don’t have to do any more. Other roles may replace it which today we can’t even imagine.
The marketplace of tomorrow is digital. Those who succeed in it will be able to effectively market themselves to demonstrate authority, authenticity, and value.
Sorry, but just having a pretty CV isn’t going to cut it.
The Digital Economy
We’re entering the new digital economy, where individuals demonstrate their value online and do work that inspires them to help others. If that looks like an employment contract for you, that’s fine, but it could just as easily be freelance work, consulting, or selling digital products.
In the digital economy, you add value to the world through an audience.
With an audience, you have leverage.
Suddenly, you’re no longer looking for opportunities, but opportunities come to you. You don’t apply to roles hoping to be accepted, but companies apply to you and you choose to accept them. All based on your authority.
If it sounds strange, it’s because it’s new. But I’ve experienced the exact scenario myself having been offered developer roles purely based on my online presence.
There are many compelling reasons to build an audience, but let’s keep it simple and talk about jobs. Everyone knows how they work and why they’re useful.
So, if you were hiring a developer, who would you prefer?
- John Smith, who sent in a 2 page CV and says he knows what he’s talking about
- John Doe, who published a YouTube video that helped you and therefore demonstrated he knows what he’s talking about
The answer is obvious.
But how can we build an audience, create leverage, and eventually write our own paycheck?
Building an Audience for Your Future
Having an audience just means there are people out there who are interested in what you have to say. They trust you and believe what you’re saying is credible.
Of course, to do that you have to actually say something valuable that’s going to help people.
3 years ago, I started writing about a super-specific tool used by Java programmers, called Gradle. I had a lot to say about it because I was using it daily.
What tools or systems do you use regularly that someone else wants to know about?
Like anything worth doing, this takes time.
Time to figure out how to add value to your audience. Time for Google to determine that you’re not a bot. Time for your audience to find you.
95% of people who start this journey with good intentions will quit after 2 months. That’s fine, because being in the remaining 5% is what gives you the edge.
Being persistent is how eventually I became The Gradle Guy. YouTube & Google had no option but to show my content as the #1 search result in many cases.
If building an audience and setting the foundation for your future in the new digital economy sounds like something you should do, here are 3 steps to get started:
1) Choose a topic you have a lot to say about
Pick a topic which you can talk about for 6 months+.
Why? That’s how long it takes to start getting results, so you need some consistency. The topic should ideally be one that you want to explore deeper or something you use/experience on a regular basis.
Feel free to include 1-2 other relatable topics to keep things interesting.
2) Pick a platform
For anyone writing about software development topics, I recommend writing a blog or publishing videos to a YouTube channel.
Why? Either way lets you highlight a problem and provide a solution in a way that’s easily digestible by other developers.
3) Create weekly content for 6 months+ until you become the guru
Nobody will view your first pieces of content. At least for a while. Stick with it, improve, and keep publishing.
Eventually people will start to engage with your content. Interact and help them where you can.
With an audience you not only attract job opportunities, but can eventually market your own digital products and generate advertising revenue for additional income streams. We’ll talk about that in future newsletters.
But building an audience is where it all begins. The first step to future-proofing your development income.