Alisher Aliev is not only working full time as a developer and tester at TietoEVRY. He’s simultaneously doing his master’s degree in software engineering. His long term goal? Becoming a software architect. Here are six of his best pieces of advice on how to get more out of your time.
1. Get a proper schedule
Take some time to go through your coming week and plan it. If you use either an Outlook or Google calendar to plan your days, put in deadlines and get a proper overview of your schedule. You’ll get way more out of your time than otherwise. I usually also make lists that I can check off while keeping track of coming tasks and deliveries. Basically, it’s just about making sure that you know what’s waiting and that things don’t fall between the cracks.
2. Be clear on what your end goal is
For some time now, I’ve known that I want to be a Software Architect. My first Bachelor’s degree was actually in Mechanical Engineering, but in the middle of my studies I took programming courses and I liked programming so much, that I applied for a second Bachelor’s degree in Software Engineering, which was then followed by my current Master’s program in the similar field.
With eyes set on my new goal, my current courses focus on software design, project management, architecture, and engineering – the skills I need to reach my main goal. I think it’s important not to get “lost” in all the possibilities we have and instead stay focused on what the end game is. For me, that’s what has brought me motivation. I have been reading and studying about the duties of software architects and I prepared a preliminary roadmap to become one.
3. Ask proactively for growing opportunities
It's important to be clear with your manager about your career. Ask them how you can grow in your company, what technologies you should further learn and ask other colleagues for advice on the intranet. I, for instance, spend a lot of time looking at our training programs at work. The latest was an Azure Bootcamp, which helped me in achieving an Azure Development certification.
I make it a habit to ask my manager to put me on projects relevant to software architecture. Thereby, I get to work with some of the best-in-class architects and developers we have, learning a lot from them.
4. Make preparations in time
Time is usually short. So, for example, I try to make as many of my meals as possible in advance. It’s great to finally get to use the food containers I have at home to store food in the fridge and take them out when it’s time for dinner. Although I enjoy cooking, it is hard to find time for it during a busy week. So, everything that can be made in bulk, stored and frozen is a big plus – like for example lasagna! I also tend to order food, but that’s less economically sustainable to do on an everyday basis. I try to replicate this habit for other things for instance chores and cleaning too.
5. Take time to relax as well
I think it is important as well to set aside time to recharge your batteries, so I usually keep weekends free to go out with friends on hikes or to do other things I don’t have time for on the weekdays. But also during the weekdays, you have to squeeze in mental breaks – like for instance taking 15 minutes for a round of “Among Us”. Do some home exercise with Youtube playing in the background or just go outside for a short walk. I think it’s a common misconception that “busy people” never take time to relax. If you’re organized, you have time to relax too.
(Among us can be a great way to take a short and social break)
6. Dive into the right environment
As my main goal is to become a software architect, I try to make sure my environment matches that wish. So, working as a full-stack developer in TietoEVRY is a really good way to get a broader understanding while studying. This way, I get to work with very experienced developers and “masters of code” every day. And by interacting with them I also get a boost of motivation I can use for my studies. Simply put, I see the practical side of my studies through my work.
I’ve also gotten the chance to visit Haaga-Helia university and give talks to other students about working as a developer – that was really motivating!