In It To Win It: What Working In Politics Taught Me About Being a Developer

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When I worked on political campaigns, I valued measurable results above all else. Every day, I counted how many voters we persuaded, how much money we raised, and how many volunteers we recruited. Motivating myself and others to work incredibly hard for months on end required a belief that those numbers mattered, which would lead us to victory on Election Day as long as each of us did our part and hit our goals. But sometimes, even if we did everything right (or so we thought), we'd still come up short in the end, and having achieved my goals wasn't much consolation. Campaigns taught me a lot about working on a team: even though we had individual roles and goals, we also shared a collective responsibility to do what it takes to win.

Now, as a developer at Metal Toad, I love knocking out a challenging Jira ticket. Solving complex problems gives me an adrenaline rush and builds my confidence. But sometimes I forget that the same lessons I learned about teamwork from campaigns still apply: that my individual contributions are important, but they're not everything. Every day, I strive to write code that attains a level of excellence that I (and Metal Toad) am proud to put my name on. Just doing my part won't guarantee success, because it's not just about the code that I personally write, or the magnitude of problems I solve. We are successful when we help clients solve business challenges, and that means that we need the right solutions and not just the right code. We need to be flexible, creative, and forward-thinking. That's why I appreciate the team of consultants and architects, project managers and developers that I get to work with every day. It truly is a team effort.

Date posted: September 2, 2015

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