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Dhwaneet Bhatt

Beyond the Tech Stack

career, technology2 min read

When we enter a party, we usually notice the shiny lights. That's a great analogy of what happens when fresh graduates enter the world of software engineering.

When I joined my first job almost 13 years back, everyone wanted to get into Java development. That was the rage at the time, along with the tech stack of most companies in India. It motivated me well enough to find a job where I could code in Java. I see much of this happening today as well - people want to get into MERN or the AI/ML/LLM stack. That makes total sense from the vantage point of a fresh graduate or someone with less experience. You are attracted to the shiny thing because that gives you a chance to excel or make money.

What really sets sound engineers apart from mediocre ones is getting rid of the shiny things mentality, or what is usually called "Resume Driven Development". This is also partly because of the wrong incentives set by companies that expect job applicants to have the exact experience in their technology stack.

Over the years, the great engineers that I've interacted with had a problem-solving mentality. They believed their primary job was to solve business problems and to be aware of technological tools that could help solve them most efficiently within the given constraints. They were good at picking up technologies in the context of the given problem.

The market is broad, and the skill that matters the most is quickly matching a problem to a solution. There is a lot of tech out there, each with its strengths and weaknesses and a learning curve. Yes, being ahead of the curve takes effort, and I don't deny that it is challenging. However, technology should be at the periphery, keeping business at the centre.

Be a carpenter, not someone with several years of experience using the hammer!