By January 29, 2019

Soft Skills: From Mediocre To Million Dollar Developer ?

Let me tell you a story about how soft skills transformed my career as a programmer and how it can do it for you too.

Once I started out as a programmer, I was making good money, not gonna lie. But I wasn't making the money I WANTED to as a software developer.

Things started changing when I started improving my soft skills. Skills like communication, marketing, sales, writing, etc. I started getting job offers LIKE CRAZY and I ended up making $1M as a software developer a few years after.

These are the soft skills you should be improving if you want to make REAL MONEY as a programmer:

05:11 Writing
05:45 Talking
06:59 Marketing & Sales

So… Wanna know how improving your soft skills can have a HUGE impact on your programmer career? Watch this video and find out!

Transcript Of The Video

John Sonmez:  Today, I'm going to be talking about why soft skills are so important for software developers. Stay tuned, because I'm going to give you a couple of tips to improve your soft skills by the end of this video.

What's up, guys? John Sonmez from If you're just joining me for the first time, welcome to Simple Programmer. I'm going to tell you a little bit of the story about myself and my career, and how I ended up making a million dollars, so stay tuned here. Make sure that you stay until the end of the video.

The way that Simple Programmer kind of came about is it started out as a personal blog of mine. I basically wanted to create a blog, somewhat technical blog to teach people that software development was not that hard. It wasn't that difficult. It was simple. Making the complex simple was the tagline of Simple Programmer at that time. It wasn't a business, it was just a personal blog.

What ended up happening was I started blogging, I was blogging like three times a week. First, it was just my coworkers and some family members that were reading the blog, and eventually it started to gain some traction. It got posted on some sites on the internet and a lot of people came in and started commenting. A lot of nasty people. And when you first expose yourself to the internet, you will definitely cry under your desk a little bit for a little bit of time and then you get stronger or you die.

I didn't understand at all which was that all these people started reaching out to me, and these companies to offer me jobs. I had all these opportunities that started coming in front of me, and I started to realize that what was happening was, there was a soft skill that I was becoming good at that was causing this. And that was the soft skill of communication. I learned how to communicate, how to express myself in words by putting together these blogs posts, by writing these things, that ended up making me more valuable.

Now I learned how to market myself and my reputation obviously had a great effect on that, but that's also part of a soft skill. Up to that point in my career, and it was a pretty long career. This was 12, 13 years into my career. I was a senior developer, I was making good money but it wasn't crazy money. You understand what I'm saying? I want you to make crazy money, with one of those machines, those guns, those cash guns, just psh, psh, psh, psh, psh, psh. That's what I want you to make.

I learned the skill of marketing myself, because up until that point, I had focused on my career, on developing my technical skills, on becoming a better programmer, on becoming a better software develop, on learning on these technologies and reading all these books on technology. And it's great. It's good. Don't get me wrong. It's good to know what the fuck you're doing. It only got me so far.

What got me to crazy money, what helped me to earn a million dollars and more was learning soft skills. Learning how to market myself. How to communicate to other people. How to basically present myself in a good way. How to negotiate, and have discussions with people, and to share my ideas, and how to manage interpersonal relations, and to develop emotional mastery, personal development over myself. To build my confidence. To build my speaking skills. I started getting somewhat famous in the little niche that I was, and especially in my community, and I started getting all these opportunities.

So I started making courses for Pluralsight. Making all these cycled courses, and again, and improve my communication skills, and improve my ability. All these things I hadn't been focusing on. I was reading personal development books.

I ended up writing the book Soft Skills because a book publisher reached out to me and said, “Hey, we want you to write a book.” At that time, they thought I was going to write a technical book. They wanted to know what technology you're going to write a book on, and I had to say to them, I said, “Look, honestly,” I said. “If I'm going to write a book, I'm going to take the time to do this. I want something that's going to be super valuable. I want something that's going to stand the test of time, and if I had to say what is the most valuable thing that I can teach a developer today from what I've learned from my career …” and at this point I was making some pretty damn good money. I was billing over $300 an hour just for regular programming work. Now it's more than that and I don't do programming work.

But I said to him, I said, “Look, I'm going to write a book about soft skills, because that's the most valuable thing.” Because of all the things and all the technologies I've learned in my career, that single thing that made me the most money bar none was developing my soft skills. Was developing all of those things that most people don't focus on.

I started changing the focus of Simple Programmer. That's what it is now. Choose soft skills, because I realized how important that was. And so that's what we teach on this channel. That's what we teach on Simple Programmer. If you go to the articles, if you buy one of our courses, mostly we're teaching soft skills now because it's so valuable. If that's something that's interesting, if you're like, “Okay, I'm sold. I need to learn soft skills. It is going to help my career. I want to shoot money from a cash gun. John, please help me.” Then click that subscribe button. That's the first step, and click the bell so that you're going to get all the videos that come out on this channel.

And then second of all, here's the thing. I'm going to give you a couple of tips here and then I'm going to end the video. Check out Simple Programmer. Look at joining the members site, the community that we there. That's going to be a huge value for you. There's a lot of people in there that are exchanging ideas and whatnot.

Tip number one that I have for you is this. Write. Again, I started off my story telling you about my writing and how that improved my communication skills, and that's because it really does. So what I want you to do is start a blog. I've actually got a course on how to create a blog to boost your career. Go sign up for that course, go do all the homework, and start your blog. Once you start to write … because when you have to write, it forces you to organize your ideas and what you'll find is you're a better communicator in general. You'll be able to talk to people better, and you'll be able to organize your thoughts better. So writing is important.

Number two is, and this is going to sound really simple but it's effective, is just start talking to more people. A lot of times, software developers are very introverted. I'm not going to argue the introvert/extrovert thing. I think the whole thing is bullshit. I don't think we need a label for this. There's not one that's better than the other, it doesn't matter, because I think it's a false label, and you can argue with me and call it … I don't care. I've been through all of it with people. It doesn't matter. Let's skip that point and talk about one thing here which is just talk to more people. Don't say, “I'm shy because I'm introverted.” The two are not fucking connected, okay? Stop that shit. Stop it. It's an excuse.

You need to go out and just start talking to people, and get over that fear. And when I say get over that fear, I mean just let yourself be afraid and do it anyway. Feel the fear, do it anyway. Good book by the way. Just do it. It doesn't matter, because if you start talking to people and you get in the habit of every time you get in that Uber, you're going to go start talking to the Uber driver, and every time that you go to a conference, you're going to start talking to people, every time you see people in line, then you are going to become a better communicator and a better social person. You're going to make a ton of connections, and you're going to see the effects of that. It's all these little small touchpoints that are going to happen throughout your life.

And I'll give you one last tip here. Third tip for developing your soft skills is this. Marketing and sales is not bad. Learn how to sell and how to market, yourself especially. You can't look at this as a dirty thing. You cannot think that people will find your value. It doesn't work that way. The person who is bold and takes action and is confident wins. They win, because they're heard. And it might not be fair, and it might not right, and then the meritocracy that we hope that the world will be, it may not be the politically correct thing but it doesn't matter. It's a dog eat dog world. Do you know what that means? That means that you got to stand up if you want something. You got to be bold. You got to get out there. You got to sell yourself. You got to market yourself. You got to be unabashed when you say, “I'm good. I'm the shit.” This is not about being arrogant. It's not being about being an asshole. It's about recognizing value. It's about being clear.

When you're in an interview, and someone says, “How are your C# skills?” And you're confident. You don't say, “Um, I'm okay. I'm pretty good, I think.” No, you say, “I don't want to toot my own horn but I'm pretty damn good. I can stand toe-to-toe with any C# developer.” And you don't have to say those exact words. If it doesn't fit you, it's not going to work, but what I'm saying is that you got to be confident. You got to be bold. You got to be willing to sell yourself. You got to be able to get on the phone and call up and say, “Hey, I really want this job. What do I got to do to earn it? Let me tell you. Let me tell you what I've got here. I'm good at this. I can do this. I'm telling you, give me a chance. You're going to find that I am going to exceed your expectations. Just tell me what you're looking for. I'm it, man. I am the one.”

If you can sell yourself, if you can market yourself, it's going to go so long, so far in your life. Again, you don't have to use exactly what I'm saying. It might not work for you. It works better for me because it is me. Because that's who I am. I'm just down to earth, just straight shooter. I'm going to talk like that and people are going to appreciate it because they're going to say, “He's being genuine and authentic.” But you got to figure out how to sell. How to market yourself and not be afraid to do that.

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."