By February 15, 2018

I Became A Better Developer By Becoming A Better Person

If you're familiar with Simple Programmer you've heard me talking a lot about soft skills. And what I mean by soft skills are the skills you need (beyond the technical ones) to succeed.

Most people think that only technical skills matter, which is definitely not true. This success story tells you exactly that. How this programmer was able to change this career by becoming a better person.

Wanna know more? Watch this video and find out!

Transcript Of The Video

John Sonmez:  Coding Dojo is a programming school that turns beginners into developers in only 14 weeks. If you're serious about landing a career in tech but lack the formal education or background, Coding Dojo will get you there in no time. With over 3000 graduates to date, over 90% of their grads land jobs within three months of graduating, often making over 70k per year at tech firms of all sizes from companies like Google to local startups. To learn more, visit or click the link in the description below.
Hey, what's up? John Sonmez here from Man, I'm feeling pretty good, I have to say. It's been a little bit of a down period, but I got the fire at least for today. We'll see how long it lasts. Hopefully, for a while. Part of it is I've got a pretty exciting email that I want to read to you guys. I love doing these success stories. I love when you guys send me these because it always amazes me.
In fact, some of your success stories make me jealous. Sometimes I'm like, “Damn. I wish I was as good as what people think I am.” No. I mean—you know, sometimes I struggle with them like, “Man, am I as productive and awesome as I used to be?” As these people are giving me these success stories or kicking ass, and sometimes I have to realize maybe this working your butt off and whatnot, and proving yourself is a young man's game. No. I'm just kidding. I'm just kidding, I'm just kidding. You got to keep on improving your whole entire life, but I really enjoy your guy's success stories and it's really cool. It's really inspiring to me to see—it keeps me motivated honestly to see what you guys are doing.
This one, I'm going to keep it anonymous because it's got some numbers and some sensitive information in here, but this is from—we'll call him—we'll call him Joe. I don’t know. Do we have to call him anything? I kind of want to use his first name. I think I can use his first name because I—how could someone identify you from your first name? We'll see. Well, his first name is Scott. Okay? Or maybe that is, maybe that's not his first name. I don’t know.
All right. He says, “Hey, John. I figured I'd go ahead and share my success story in the case that it may provide some benefit to you. At this point watching your videos over the past year has added quantitatively measurable—added a quantitatively measurable impact on my life. The short story upfront is that I have four and a half years of industry experience as a software engineer.” I want you guys to get this. Four and a half years, okay? “I was just offered a job at a public company for just—just shy of 400K, $400,000 in total annual compensation in a non-San Francisco or New York office.” He even got the hyphenation right on non-San Francisco or New York office. That's pretty good.
That's pretty amazing. All right? Four and a half years' experience, almost $400,000. That's pretty damn good. You see. This is why I get jealous of this stuff. “My story and in the context of anonymity is that I have always been a smart guy and I've been loving/been good at programming since age 13. My career has been going well. I have been recognized as a great programmer, but I'm also a really nice guy and I didn’t even negotiate my previous two jobs because I believed I would get money as a result of being recognized for my hard work.”
Can we all just take a second and laugh at that? Oh, the naivety of so many of us at times, but there's good news, Scott. Figure this shit out. All right. He says, “And it wasn’t until your introduction to defining masculinity that I actually realize that the only reason I was such a great programmer to begin with is because I dumped my life into it so much in order to avoid conflict in the real world.” He said, “My introduction to masculinity.” I think I've got a playlist for men or masculinity, or maybe it's just becoming a better man and attracting women playlist. Pray list. That was interesting for a slip. Go and check that out. What you want to do is click the card and like open up in another window, or click a description and we can continue on here, but you're going to want to check that out if that's appealing to you.
“I realized that my whole life I optimized for being a nice person because I thought that was good.” I'll point you to a video on being a nice guy, which you should check out as well if you have this problem. “It turns out that I was optimizing for the wrong thing and wasn’t actually doing anyone any favors by not being confrontational in general. I'm also married, so why would I ever, ever take any actions to be more desirable to random women?” Good question, right? Why would you do this?
“But you've struck a chord with me a number of times. If I'm not naturally attractive to other women, does this mean that my wife has just settled for me? What sort of relationship should I expect to have if that is the case?” These are good questions. Guys, you need to fucking ask these questions to yourself, okay? That's why I make these videos. You need to fucking ask these questions. Whether you're married or not, you need to ask these questions. All right?
“I tried to experiment making eye contact with women and not breaking it.” I guess we'll have to queue up those videos here. I got a series of videos on this and it's a serious experiment. He says, “I tried your experiment of making eye contact with women and not breaking it. As long as I wasn’t in an ambiguously safe location such as the subway or the streets, doing so generally resulted in subtle and seemingly involuntary positive responses that, for me, I would have previously considered an anomaly. I learned about framing, getting women to warm up to me, was the softball, but the exact same concepts can be applied to my career with how I interact with peers and management.” So true. This is a very true thing. This skill set is highly applicable.
“I dress better. I'm more well-groomed. I make eye contact. I don’t apologize. I tell people what I want and I tell people when I have a problem with them. This is now my belief. It is now my belief that men's measure of attractiveness to women and the ability to successfully manage a career are one and the same, and that hypothesis is consistent with the premise that women are instinctively attracted to status, which I also learn from your channel and read more about independently. Now, I believe that the more real-world problem I actually have of resisting tangible temptations is better than my previous problem of being a person that is barely noticeable to the opposite sex.” Okay, that's good. That's a better problem to have. I agree. It is a problem, but it's a better problem to have.
You see. You can't really make a choice unless you have freedom to make choices. If you don’t have options, you haven't made a choice in life. When you tell someone that you value them or you make some kind of a choice and they know you don’t have any options, it's not special. When you do have options and you make a choice, you're actually choosing. That's the difference and that makes a whole big amount of difference in a relationship.
Anyway, he says, “Ironically, I'm also 31 which was the same age you also claim was the year that most males become men. I read your book. I need to treat my career as though I'm managing a business, not a social network of friends to arbitrarily create. I started job searching not even intending to necessarily leave, but I will take actions that I believe to be good and let the chips fall where they may. The night before the interview with the company I'm going, in which you're going away advice to one random individual who was also going to interview, was to make the interview panel like you. This is immediately what I started to optimize for in the interviews themselves.” There's a lot of gems in here. This is true and this works. I want you guys see a real-world application in this, okay?
He says, “I felt the questions became easier for an architecture interview where the interviewer says, ‘You're missing this item as a hint.' I shouldn’t respond with, ‘Yeah, I was going to get to that.' It is actually better to respond in a joking manner with, ‘That's an excellent idea.' During all of the talks with the recruiters, I wasn’t a humble job seeker this time. I presented myself as an individual that generally got what I wanted because I knew I was worth it. I negotiated from an initial offer or at least magnificently better than last time, in part because of being comfortable asking the uncomfortable question of getting even more money even when the initial offer was a life-changing amount.” Man, when people have the balls to risk it all when they're already getting it all, that is—that's the ball's requirement, right? He says, “At the risk of sounding like a jerk. Then again, how would the recruiter even respect meif I wasn’t a jerk when it mattered.” True. “All of that, to say, some fraction of my income can be attributed to your YouTube videos which ends up coming to a pretty substantial amount of money.”
This is cool. I love getting an email like this because I love to see you guys succeed. There's lot of gems of wisdom in this email and just the application that Scott took to some of these things that I'm talking about. These are the reasons why and I'm talking to guys here. As a guy, it is important to understand and embrace masculinity and to not accept the general neutral society view of humanity that is so prevalent because that's not going to get you very far in life. It's not going to get you what you want and just embracing this and understanding these things can have just life-changing effects.
This is not just for men. I mean some of the things that Scott said in this email about how he changed his personality to being the kind of person who goes after what they want, tells people what they want, tells people when he has a problem with them and whatnot, and realizing that he doesn’t want someone in his life who just settles for him. Those are really important concepts that can really change your life.
Anyway, congratulations Scott. Awesome. I mean I can't believe what you've been able to do. Not just the accomplishments in your career and financially, but mentally. The mental transformation is really what I consider to be the biggest success that you've gone through.
I hope this is inspiring to you guys. Let me know if it is. I give Scott a congratulations here and I would love to get more success stories from you guys. Just send me an email at and I'd love to hear your success stories, and I wish you all luck.
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About the author

John Sonmez

John Sonmez is the founder of Simple Programmer and a life coach for software developers. He is the best selling author of the book "Soft Skills: The Software Developer's Life Manual."