Senior Developer Mindset

5 Crazy Things To Get Your Developer Career Unstuck

Are you feeling stuck?

You’ve been writing code for a while but you feel like by now you should be a bit further ahead in your developer journey? 

Are you sick of traditional advice like doing more online courses and side-projects? Or wait a few years to get more experience?

You’ve also probably been told that the solution for you to get to the next level is some new library or framework you haven’t heard of. But deep inside you know the answer cannot be that simple. 

Today I will share with you 5 things that might seem either crazy or common sense. Regardless, they will take your developer career to a whole new level. 

These principles boil down 10+ years of experience writing code.

They have nothing to do with your tech stack. But everything to do with your overall success as a developer. When put in place correctly, they will help you reach technical mastery and get your career to a whole new level.

Let’s start with the first and most important…

1. Do The Thing.

What if I told you that all the challenges you are facing in your developer career are due to one thing only? 

And that thing has nothing to do with a new fancy JavaScript framework, Data Structure, or Design Pattern. 

You feel stuck because you fail to do “the Thing”.

You think about it. You plan to do it. But you still don’t do it.

What is “the Thing”?

The Thing is anything you need to do right now to move your career forward. It can be applying to jobs and doing technical interviews if you are looking for a new job. Or it can be learning more TypeScript and Testing if you are looking to become a Senior Developer. 

The Thing is what you are most afraid of.

It is what you should be doing instead of buying more online courses. Or starting new side-projects that are going to end up nowhere. 

Do the thing. Keep on doing it. Succeed. 

For example, in 2019 I was obsessed with writing. I bought tens of books about becoming a writer. I watched YouTube videos about writing. I bought online courses.

After months of doing that, I realized I didn’t get any better. 

The catch?

I was doing everything but the thing: writing stuff. 

Just like many of you I sometimes struggle with laziness and fear of failure. I postpone. I procrastinate and I find excuses. I avoid doing “the Thing”.  

Yet, as I got older time taught me a valuable lesson.

The clock stops for nobody. 

The juice of life goes to the people who do things instead of thinking about doing things. 

Now, when I find myself procrastinating, I ask myself, what are you running away from? What is the thing you should be doing but you're not? Then, I jump in and I do that thing. 

Get into the habit of doing “the Thing” whatever it might be. And your developer career will reach a whole new level.

🚨P.S. Are you looking to fast-track to the Senior level with quality resources, feedback, and accountability? Click here to join our Free Community - The Senior Dev Academy. 🚨

2. If You Want To Take The Island, Burn The Ships.

The reason you give up so fast on your developer goals is because giving up is too easy. It is cheaper for you to fail than it is to succeed. Because there’s no penalty.

For example, let’s say you want to get a new, better job.

You realize you need to improve your technical interviewing skills. You decide to practice some Data Structures problems. The first days are fun, but by the end of the first week, you are already tired and quit. 

You tell yourself, that getting a new job and making more money would be cool, but it can wait.

On top of that, you still have your job. You are safe. So why bother? 

You drop Data Structures and move on with something else. And so your developer dream ends up in dust.

This is why, if you want to succeed, you need to burn your boats.

Have no escape route. When you have no option of turning back, you will turn forward and face the devil in the eyes. When failure is not an option, you will find unlimited willpower.

As Caesar and Hernán Cortés learned, no way out means 100% power moving forward. 

To start theSeniorDev, Bogdan and I quit our highly paid developer jobs and lived off our savings for a full year. 

We told ourselves that we either figured this out or burst in the process. The pressure pushed us to give our very best and to keep going despite the obstacles. We probably would not be alive by now if we had an easy way out.

You don’t have to be that extreme. And to be clear, I am not saying you should quit your developer job. That is a pretty stupid idea in the current economy.

But you do need to make it a lot harder for you to quit.

One way to do that can be to share your goals with your partner. Or commit to your friends to donate a big amount of money to a charity if you fail. Or find an accountability group.

Use the pain of embarrassment to make failure, not an option. It is only under pressure that we see how much we are capable of. 

🚨P.S. Are you looking to fast-track to the Senior level with quality resources, feedback, and accountability? Click here to join our Free Community - The Senior Dev Academy. 🚨

3. Never Negotiate With Yourself.

This one I stole from Kobe Bryant. If you want to reach the highest levels of your craft, you should never, ever, negotiate with yourself. Too many developers do that.

For example, you want to get better at unit testing and you set a goal to write a unit test every day for the next 30 days. The first 3 days everything goes okay, but on day 4, you are a bit tired. 

You tell yourself tomorrow you will write 2 unit tests and catch up for today… Stop right there. You probably won’t do it! You are fooling yourself and you know it. 

“I'm not negotiating with myself. I signed that contract with myself, I'm doing it.” - Kobe Bryant (Rest in peace, legend.)

Look, I can write tens of articles about the mindset of a Senior developer. But, in the end, there is no way for me to tell you how hard to work.

And if that’s the hardest you can do. When you are doing a great job or when you are bullshiting yourself? Only you know.

A hint to find out if you are negotiating with yourself is your brain coming up with an excuse as to why you should not do it. 

Oh, my family was in town so I had to stay late for dinner. Oh, my best friend bought a video game and he wanted us to finish it together. My cat was sick so I had to take it to the doctor.

They are all excuses. 

I am sure that if I held a gun to your head you would find someone to get the cat to the vet. 

But, you negotiate it with yourself and then you find a legitimate excuse to quit. If you aspire to be a Senior developer, you first have to behave like one.

Leave excuses at the door. And never negotiate with yourself again. 

🚨P.S. Are you looking to fast-track to the Senior level with quality resources, feedback, and accountability? Click here to join our Free Community - The Senior Dev Academy. 🚨

4. Turn Your Tragedy Into A Blessing.

I might get a lot of hate for this one. At this point, it doesn’t matter. Because the “victim culture” does no good to your success.

Is a great consolation. Sure. Yet, believing you are a victim of your circumstances will stop you from even trying to improve your condition.

I know the world is a very unfair place.

And it won’t change anytime soon. 

Sometimes you do your best work and the promotion goes to another developer. Sometimes you do a great interview and never hear back from them again. 

No matter how hard you work you can still lose.

But still.

You have way more power over your circumstances than you think. At least if you live in a Western country. Believing otherwise will stop you from even trying to improve your life.

I was born in rural Romania. Check the income level over there. Not as bad as in other places of the world, but not the land of opportunities either. 

Looking for a better life, my parents emigrated to Spain when I was 14 years old. I had to emigrate again due to my developer career 7 years ago, this time to Germany.

Being considered a stranger everywhere you go is not easy. For a long time, I used to blame part of my problems on my background. 

Oh, I didn’t get promoted because I am a foreigner. Or I don’t get the chance to talk in the meeting because of my last name.

This belief held me back for years. At one point, a mentor of mine heard me complaining and told me, "Dragos, if you want to succeed, you need to turn your tragedy into a blessing". 

It got me thinking and that’s what I did. I turned all the negatives into positives. Sure. I didn’t start life in pole position, but that taught me the value of perseverance, hard work, and a positive attitude.

Suddenly, my tragedy became a blessing. 

Arnold turned his tragedy, his Austrian accent into an asset. He was one of the few people that could portray the Terminator.

You might not have the privileges that others do. But if you are reading this, you are ambitious. You are probably passionate. And I bet you work hard. 

Guess what, that’s more than enough to make it BIG in the software industry.

The fact that you have it harder than most people will make you enjoy success more. The underdog will always be happier than people who had it easier. Even if they achieve the same.

Victory just tastes better when is earned.

If you want to get to the next level as a developer, ditch the victim mentality, turn your tragedy into a blessing, and focus on the lessons you learned, not the bad stuff you went through. 

5. Make The Deadline Real.

In my 10+ years of writing code, I’ve had good times and bad times. Times when I would get everything done smoothly and progress. And times when nothing seemed to progress. 

One day looking back at my journal I observed a weird pattern…

If I had forever to build an application, I would never finish it. But give me only a few hours and I will get more done than in months. The pressure was like magic, it got me in the zone.


Because of the power of deadlines. When I had a strict deadline I would get a lot more done. And I would do it faster. When I didn’t have a deadline, nothing would get done. 

Sounds obvious. It is not. 

I talk to dozens of developers every week. 

They tell me about their goals. I always ask what the deadline is for those goals. Most times I will get a vague answer, like in a few months or, worse, nothing, I don’t have a deadline. 

Try deadlines instead of motivation. It will work wonders. 

My solution was to set a deadline for all my goals. All of them.

Nowadays I do it by instinct.

Make a habit that when you set a goal, put a deadline on it. This can be getting that new highly-paid developer job that you are dreaming of. Or having a promotion talk with your manager. Whatever it is, add a deadline to it.

This is it. 

Put in place these 3 things and you will take your developer career to a whole new level. Don’t take my word for it. Try them out in the wild and see how they can change your life.

Until the next one, 


🚨P.S. Are you looking to fast-track to the Senior level with quality resources, feedback, and accountability? Click here to join our Free Community - The Senior Dev Academy. 🚨

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