How Macklemore and Ryan Lewis Have Shaped My Career in Tech

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis recently came out with a new album, This Unruly Mess I've Made. While they may seem new, they’ve actually been doing their hip hop duo thing since 2008. They’ve accomplished some amazing things since then: like being the first independent artists to hit #1 in the Billboard Top 100 since 1994. And did you know that they have their own record label, Macklemore, LLC? That’s pretty cool, but what does this have to do with my career in technology?

Good question, astute reader. I’m here to share with you some lesser-known Macklemore and Ryan Lewis lyrics that have helped me navigate my successful career in technology.[bctt tweet="How @Macklemore + @RyanLewis Have Shaped My Career in #Tech, by @wingchi"]

The greats weren't great because at birth they could paint The greats were great cause they paint a lot Ten Thousand Hours

This one is from Ten Thousand Hours, and is a huge nod to the 10,000-hour rule described in Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers. This is one of my favorites because it reminds me that the people who are doing my dream job got there by putting in the time to be spectacular. There really are no tricks or shortcuts to becoming a master software developer, designer, or whatever you might want to do.

Take John Resig and his most famous creation jQuery. John didn’t just come up with jQuery as it is in 2006. He’s been actively working as a developer since 2002, and jQuery has been in development for nearly 10 years with over 250 contributors.[bctt tweet="There are no tricks to becoming a master—you need to put in the time, says @wingchi"]

Seven bucks an hour wasn’t much money But I be rapping and kicking it on my lunch break Buckshot

While minimum wage in most states where tech is big is more than $7 these days, it’s still not an excuse to trap yourself in a dead-end job. If you care about advancing your career, then use all the minutes you can spare to improve your skills.

Before I went through Startup Institute I was working at a job that had stopped challenging me, so I would spend my down time doing development in a virtual development environment. I won’t get into the legality of such actions. That’s a discussion for another blog post. Anyway, there are so many great cloud services out there these days like CodePen, Nitrous, and Wordpress—you have no excuse not to get online during your lunch break and practice writing code or blogging.[bctt tweet="If you care about advancing your career, use every min you can to improve your skills, says @wingchi"]

See life's a beautiful struggle, I record it Hope it helps you maneuvering through yours Make the Money

So, you’re passionate and driven. You’re putting in the hours to get those skills you need, but you still feel lost. That happens to me all the time. My best advice to you is to find mentors and don’t be afraid to admit what you don’t know.

Firstly, great mentors are the types of people who have struggled with what you’re going through, and they can help you maneuver through it. They are hard to find, and for me it took quitting my corporate job and going through Startup Institute to start building a great network of potential mentors.

Secondly, admitting what you don’t know is an amazing way to open up conversation and get to the answers you’re looking for. I once admitted to my interviewer that I didn’t really understand the concept of prototypes in JavaScript. This allowed me to open up a discussion on how they work, and, in the end, I got a far better understanding for the next time I came across the topic. And, I got the offer.[bctt tweet="Admitting what you don't know opens up a conversation so you can get the answers, says @wingchi"]

On my knees, said "God, please give me a deal" And God texted me back "Don't be dumb, young man, gotta do it yourself" Brad Pitt's Cousin

Seek your own fortune. I firmly believe that no amount of wishing and praying will make you a better developer or salesperson.

I went into my first internship with this sort of mentality: if I sat there and hoped for the best, my superiors would take care of me. I was stupid. The internship ended at the end of the summer, and I was definitely not invited back. There are many things I could have done:

  • asked questions when a topic was over my head
  • asked for career and time management advice from my manager and mentor
  • spoke openly about areas of improvement for myself, and then actively worked on improving myself

[bctt tweet="Seek your own fortune. No amount of wishing will grow your #career, says @wingchi"]

If I can be an example of getting sober Then I can be an example of starting over Starting Over

I’ve never personally dealt with addiction or relapsing. For me, I think to the number of times I’ve pivoted my career. I’ve gone from electrical engineer, to enterprise software developer, to business analyst, to marketer, to entrepreneur, and now I’m a mobile developer.

It can be embarrassing to admit to family and friends that I’ve changed careers... again. But, it is far more important to me that I am truthful with everyone around me when my job function isn’t making me happy. I don’t mean complaining, I mean taking action and pivoting my career, so that I can be an example of getting out there and finding my passion.[bctt tweet="I take action so that I can be an example of getting out there + finding my #passion, says @wingchi"]

The core of my career has been marked by a passion for developing technology to make life better for people. I am currently an iOS developer at Intrepid Pursuits and a Javascript instructor at Startup Institute, and as of writing this blog post my career is very fulfilling. If you’re interested in talking career advice, mobile development, or Macklemore and Ryan Lewis you can find me on Twitter @wingchi.

Photo credit: San Francisco Foghorn via Flickr cc