Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve been catching up with members of our tech community to share the journeys, lessons learnt and advice that has helped them through their careers to date.

In the third instalment of our Tales in Tech series we caught up with Senior Engineer, Luis Fetzner Silva who we placed at Bulb four months ago - the renewable energy challenger brand continuing to revolutionise the traditional energy market.

Having recently celebrated passing his probation, Luis shared with us his advice for Engineers just starting out in their careers and his tips for keeping up to date with the ever-changing tech landscape.

What's your favourite part of a typical workday?

Besides programming, my favourite part of the job is being able to help my colleagues through mentorship and improving our product for our members at Bulb.

What's the most interesting challenge you’ve faced over your tech career?

The biggest challenge that we have as Software Developers is keeping your skill set up to date in the tech market; trying to predict what to change, what to specialise in and what to focus less on. In a tech career you're always learning, there are multiple new technologies coming in so it's difficult to keep up to date. You have to be able to adapt and change direction when needed. When I started, I was working mostly with Flash and then the market changed into HTML5 and JavaScript, so I had to pivot my skills. 

You should try to become a T-Shaped Developer, that means that whilst you’re specialised in something, you also have a big broad view of other tools and skills so you can understand when things are changing and adapt with the market. 

Do you attend any meetups? Or how do you stay ahead and keep yourself up to date with new technology in the market?

I’ve always gone to meetups but even more so since I moved to the UK, they’re great for making new connections and understanding how things work, so it's a good way to learn. I mostly go to react events and also try to go to online conferences once a quarter.

In terms of keeping myself up to date, I have subscriptions to various online learning platforms: O’Reilly, Linux Academy and Coursera are all really good, you can watch videos, read books and take online courses. I also use Twitter mostly for work. I follow tech pages and people and use that as a tool to keep up with the market.

You need to find the right balance between challenging yourself but not pushing yourself too much on top of your work, as you don't want to burn yourself out.

What advice would you give to a Junior Developer just starting out or perhaps considering a career in tech?

A few pieces of advice I’ve learnt along the way...

Use the internet - there’s loads of good free content on the internet that can give you some understanding on what different tech careers are out there and the different directions you can go. It can be quite overwhelming when you first start as you can pick up programming tools but might not know where to specialise or grow, but there's a lot of content online that can help.

Learning is a marathon not a sprint, you have to be consistent and it can sometimes be hard to maintain. Choose a tech stack that you can keep up with and not something that you have to constantly spend hours studying or working on. 

Work smart not hard. Sometimes it's better to stop and relax, take a step back and grab a coffee. This often helps me when I’m struggling and might have a brain block. Take a pause and come back to it to optimise your work. Working hard doesn’t always mean you’re doing a good job, or that it is sustainable. 

Stop starting and start finishing. Basically, don't try to learn everything, try to learn a few things really well. Don't just keep starting lots of different projects that you can’t finish as you won't learn anything. Focus your efforts on more focused and relevant projects.

The only way you know that you're growing is when you're uncomfortable. If you feel too comfortable and able to do everything at work you're no longer learning. Try and find a way to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Not too far that you become too stressed but try to constantly look to be uncomfortable. If you've already mastered something you're not learning, you're stagnating.

A massive thank you to Luis for taking the time to speak to us and sharing his advice for keeping up to date with the technology market. If there are any additional useful tools or platforms that you’re using to update your skillset, let us know! We would love to share them.

During these testing times it’s as important as ever to celebrate each other and share our experiences. If you’re interested in telling us your story, please get in touch! We’d love to hear from you and to share your journey with our tech community.