Succeeding in the tech industry is about more than just sharpening your coding skills, says Mike Borozdin, the senior director of engineering at DocuSign who previously worked at Microsoft for three years.
Borozdin had one piece of advice for aspiring engineers and developers.
“I would advise folks in software to do one thing, and that’s write,” he told Business Insider. “Learn how to write … It’s actually useful. You need to know how to express yourself. And it’s really tough for a lot of engineers to step up and do public speaking.”
Learning how to write well is important for a few reasons, Borozdin said. It’ll help engineers explain their work more clearly to managers, bosses, and potential clients. And it also makes it easier for programmers and developers to claim proper credit for their work.
Borozdin said that at one previous job before working at DocuSign, he had handed off his work to a manager and wasn’t really acknowledged for his contribution.
“I was like, ‘That’s my idea, how did I get lost in the shuffle?'” he said.
Presenting ideas more clearly and more prominently could help avoid this type of situation. Plus, if an engineer does write a really great piece of software, there’s a chance he or she will have to communicate with others more frequently anyway.
“Once you create a successful piece of software, you’re probably going to be writing English as much as you’re going to be writing Java or Objective C,” Borozdin said. “I’ve created multiple pieces of software at DocuSign that went viral, and people liked them and wanted to use more of them. And I probably wrote 10 times the documentation and explanation, and answered questions in paragraph form. So that’s one of the simple things that I think a lot of people overlook.”
That doesn’t necessarily mean developers need to put a lot of focus into learning how to write – it should just be something that’s considered and not overlooked entirely. Working on writing skills can be as simple as writing more emails or keeping a blog.
“You don’t need to stop being a hardcore coder,” Borozdin said. “Just add a little sprinkle of skills to express yourself.”