How to Go From Zero to One as a Software Engineer

Breaking into any job field can be tough at first. It took me almost two months for me to land my current job. In this day and age, there are so many coding bootcamps and so many coding bootcamp graduates that it’s getting more and more tough to get an entry level software engineer position.

Sure, there are lots of job positions to fill, but many of those job positions are for mid level and senior positions that require a lot more skill and experience that’s beyond the skill set of a coding bootcamp graduate.

So how can you stand out in a crowded field. How can you go from zero to one?

You need to monopolize yourself.

How can you monopolize yourself?

Let’s face it, if you’re reading this right now, then you’re probably not well known. No one’s ever heard of you except for your friends, family, and your close relationships. If you apply to a position, the hiring employer probably won’t be able to tell the difference between you and the next person that applies.

Do a Google search on yourself right now. Are you showing up in the results? If not then nobody knows who you are. Hate to break it to you but it’s ok, you can change it.

How do you change it so that you get noticed?

Simple: start a blog.

The guys at the Firehose Project advocated in the beginning of the curriculum that starting a blog is important. I totally agree, however, I’ll add one thing to that: you must have a high-quality content blog. If you’re just writing shitty posts, then don’t even waste your time. You won’t add any value, you help anyone, and you won’t show up in Google SEO.

Also, another addition that I’d add to what the Firehose Project advocates is to have your own hosted blog on your own website. Yeah, Medium is great but you don’t own Medium. If Medium wants, they can ban you from their website and then you’ll lose all the hard work you’ve done. Instead of relying solely on Medium, start your own WordPress blog.

So how does starting a WordPress blog help you to monopolize yourself? In Peter Thiel’s Zero to One, Thiel comments that only monopolies ever provide significant and unique value to the world. Think about it. Google is one of the most famous monopolies out there and Google provides enormous value so that you can find websites. The same goes for companies like Berkshire Hathaway, Twitter, and Facebook.

What makes a monopoly?

A monopoly is an entity that is not undifferentiated and doesn’t go from n to 1. That’s what most companies do: they add one extra feature to a product or service that already exists and they market it. This approach usually leads to a lot of competition.

However, the other approach to take is to go from zero to one, which means you are creating something completely new and that’s what you’re doing with starting a new blog.

How is your blog different from other blogs out there. That’s where we bring the differentiating factor that makes your blog completely new and unique: you.

Putting yourself and out there while being honest and trustworthy is one of the most differentiating factors that you can bring to the table. How many other bloggers out there have you read from that have gotten rejected from Airbnb, failed at selling dog whistles on Amazon, and quit premed to become mobile software engineer? None, that’s because I’m unique and I play that to my advantage because no one will ever be me or out do me.

I use my unique qualities to craft something entirely new that no one else has ever seen before. You can do the same too.

If you’re honest and add value, I’m convinced you will have a simple time monopolizing yourself.

No one else has your qualities and your personality. No one else will ever be you. Capitalize on that and monopolize you.

What are the downsides?

Virtually, the only downsides that you can suffer from is time and a small sum of money. Let’s imagine that you decide to start your own blog. Let’s say that you’re not that successful and that you end up not getting any traffic to your blog and you “fail.”

What’s the worst that can happen? Well, for one, you wasted time and you also wasted a little bit of money.

However, Charlie Munger, the vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, says that it’s stupid to look at any situation from only one side of an argument.

Why is that? Because even though there may be a couple of downsides, there are a plethora of upsides.

What are the upsides?

When you’re starting out you’re blog, there’s a lot more upside that can come from writing on your blog regularly than not having a blog at all.

For instance, you can market yourself and become known.

There are so many potential benefits that comes with marketing yourself and few understand this.

  1. You can make yourself stand out on your resume.
  2. You’ll become a better software engineer.
  3. You can get freelance jobs and make more money.
  4. You can make more friends and expand your network.
  5. You can get speaking engagements.
  6. You can show potential employers your expertise through your blog.
  7. You’ll become a better writer.
  8. You’ll learn SEO.
  9. You’ll become a better thinker.
  10. You can start your own podcast.

What are the downsides to blogging?

  1. Minimal costs to starting a WordPress blog.
  2. Time.

Clearly, there’s an asymmetrical relationship here. Like my hero, Mohnish Pabrai, likes to say: “heads I win, tails I don’t lose that much!”

Go out, go from zero to one and create something new, monopolize yourself, and kick ass. As a software engineer, there’s massively more upside than downside that can come out of blogging so what are you waiting for?

Good luck and keep hacking.

P.S. If you think maintaining a blog will cost time or money, then you may like my newsletter. Sign up now.