If there were only one rule on how to succeed in our profession or life in general, it would be the one that says we must find the overachievers in the activity of interest and model what they are doing.
Obviously, they know something that helps them achieve great results…
And one of the fastest, decent ways to success is to “climb to the shoulders of the giants,” a.k.a learn from others and not start from scratch.
This is the exact thing I’ve tried to accomplish by creating this article.
In the following paragraphs, you will learn a lot of details related to their success, including:
- What is the realm of true achievement and contribution
- How to become part of that realm today
- Do you need any formal education and/or other credentials
- How to make side income (if they do it, why not you?)
- How to build your name, create connections and win the best job offerings
- And many other curios stuff
Ready? Let’s do it…
Whenever you show a list of developers you consider “experts,” “thought leaders,” or “influencers,” there’s a risk to offend somebody who’s not on it or who can’t see on it all the people they consider as influential.
So let’s talk for a minute about how I chose the engineers, who are part of my little research…
Then I picked up some of the links that look like a compiled list of professionals. It’s important to note that I don’t know anything about the authors’ processes like:
How did they decide to include somebody in their list?
For this reason, we must consider them totally subjective sources of information.
Nevertheless, when you try to find who are the biggest names in the community, Google shows you these web pages, and you are inclined to believe that they are the most worthy of mention.
But there is more to the story…
After gathering the data that includes raw information from 61 GitHub profiles, 109 social profiles (Twitter, Linked In, YouTube, etc.), and 115 other online sources, I concluded that my final list of developers is somewhat accurate.
Not complete in any way, but accurate…
Because these 61 engineers have a following, counting 4,407,212 people on Twitter and 675,960 developers on GitHub. They’ve contributed collectively to 10,162 repositories, and among these repos are some mega-popular libraries, frameworks, and projects like Next.js, d3, Lodash, Underscore, and more.
Pretty impressive, right?
Let’s see what else I’ve learned by reviewing and analyzing their digital traces.
Lesson 1: The realm of true achievement and contribution
In modern days, hundreds of thousands of people and more strive to be recognizable in our global societies.
They want to be famous and wealthy, but without giving something valuable in exchange for all this. And many of these wanna-be influencers actually succeed in that endeavor, often because of the entertaining factor encoded in their sheer idiocy.
Our world is always starving for funny stuff, you know…
But outside the teenage circles and YouTube or Instagram, there is this realm of true achievement and contribution, where the participants in it work hard and often – work on important things for all of us.
Those fellows are responsible for the transition to a more sustainable economy, the proliferation of the human rights across the globe, the advancement of medicine, and, of course, the digital transformation, among many other fields.
The js developers I found on the Internet are part of that cool group.
I mentioned earlier that they’ve contributed to 10,162 public repositories, and this number includes some of their most popular libraries and frameworks like Next.js, Redux, Create React App, Vue, Angular, RxJs, Svelte, jQuery, Lodash, Bootstrap, CoffeeScript, npm, Node.js, Google Lighthouse, and many others.
Moreover, even if some of these 61 developers are not the sole creators of a popular open-source project, lots of them worked or have been working on fantastic stuff that many of us use daily.
What are the numbers you’re asking?
68.9% of all are notably involved in a famous project, but even those 31.1% that have not yet worked on a “big name thing” are very active on GitHub with 12,872 contributions in the last 12 months (the first group has made 49,319 contributions).
The total number of contributions in the last 12 months is 62,191, and only 1 out of the 61 js developers has no commits, reviews, or opened issues recently.
So the main lesson that I uncovered with my little research is that to be really successful in our field, one must enter the realm of true achievement and contribution. One must play an active role in the community by helping those cool open-source stuff be even better.
And why not – one day to become a creator of a trending project.
Of course, there are several other ways to contribute, and we’re going to talk about the next big one… now.
Lesson 2: It’s a big waste if only you know it
Giving back to the community by helping the npm libraries and frameworks get better is pretty cool because that stuff can be costly and unreachable otherwise.
But writing code for free is not the only way to share your blessings.
You can also give away your knowledge.
Many people are at the start of their web developing journey and they need information, examples and advice so they can grow and become professionals. Also, not everybody has the chance to work on high-scale or cutting-edge stuff, so not everybody has access to the know-how one can acquire by doing it.
You also show off your skills a little bit that helps you find a better job, be more respected, and create connections in the industry (click here for more info).
So it’s one more win-win-win situation in every aspect.
Most of the 61 influential developers actively create and publish educational content. 20 of them (32.8%) are published book authors, 17 (28%) have authored online courses, and 45 (74%) share content as bloggers.
Astonishing 83.6% of the listed names are professional speakers or have some public speaking experience on their belt.
In general, 98.3%(60) of all engage in one or more knowledge-sharing activities.
They like to help us. They like to enlighten us. And they put many hours of effort into doing it.
As should we…
But do we need formal education or rich experience to start doing it?
Let’s see the next lesson I’ve learned…
Lesson 3: It’s not all about the diploma
We are all conditioned to believe that going to university is the most essential key for success in our societies.
So let me tell you something…
That’s awfully wrong. It’s not true.
You can acquire knowledge and know-how in many different ways, and not all of them require you to be a student and get Bachelor’s or Master’s degree.
Yes, many professions require a diploma to practice…
If you’ve chosen to be a doctor or a lawyer, then at some point, you must go to college/university and later – get a license before you fulfill your dream.
But if you want to be a great writer, marketing specialist, graphic designer, web developer… then it’s up to you to decide if an investment of time, effort, and money in a diploma will bring that quality improvement in your career or business, that you seek.
You can study math or how to analyze algorithms outside the campus, you know…
And nowadays, the companies are more open to hiring people with no formal education but with rich experience and deep understanding.
So do we need a diploma to get ahead? Not aways.
And do we need proper education? Yes, perhaps we always do.
(Click here if you need first-class education for free)
But what story are telling us the numbers in my research?
42.6% (26 of the 61) have formal education in a Computer Science field. Some of their credentials are truly impressive. And 19 of them work or worked for a famous company (the facebooks and the googles of the world), that would be 73%.
The most important (and cool) part is that 64,7% of the developers who are known to not possess a diploma ALSO work or worked for a big industry name (the core product or a related open source project).
Including Evan You (Vue), Dan Abramov (Redux), and Guillermo Rauch (Next.js).
I bet they are constantly reading, and learning, and improving their skills. They don’t need someone to tell them to do it. And I bet they consider education to be something you constantly invest in.
So what we have by now?
And, as you see, all of them are pretty busy…
Their duty doesn’t end at 5 o’clock – they do many things that nobody has the right to expect from them. Still, they’re full of initiative and generous enough to share their time, knowledge, and work with us.
So I think that’s the key.