Why proficiency trumps perfection when building a career in tech

BY Mifa Adejumo · 5 MIN READ

Indeed, the legends are true. Somewhere in this vast cosmos, “that someone” resides. All we know is that they are perfection in of itself in the world of software development. Yes, they are everything that you only wished you could be as a software developer in your wildest dream. They have mastered the art of all the programming languages there was and ever will be; creating new ones that are yet to be debuted. They can code endlessly without water and food and still not need any source of respite or sustenance. They are legends of the programming world and everyone, nay, every company in the tech world would die to have them on their team.

If only they existed…

If you’re as smart as I suspect you are reading this, then you probably winced at the entire paragraph before. Intriguing as the idea of there being a perfect software developer out there in the vast cosmos, it is understandable that if ever there was, they wouldn’t be any fun working with. Imagine having to come into the office with someone like that. Imagine trying to set up your workstation, only to hear that person announce that they have done all the projects and tasks for the day. Now, while this might seem comforting to come into work and not have to work, I bet that after the first week, it starts feeling a little less so.

The idea that anyone can be completely perfect at something has always been one of those tropes that most people tend to wince at. Yes, we often use the word “perfect” to describe systems of incredible designs and aesthetics even in the programming world, but the idea of perfection is still one that every software developer understands to be innately false. Yet, a lot of budding software developers can’t help but feel a sense of inadequacy in their skills.


Think Proficiency not Perfection

No one is perfect. No system, nonetheless. But with the right tools, something close to perfection exists, and it is called proficiency. This is something that is heavily sought after here at Tunga. Ideally, as an outstaffer company we get myriads of requests from companies/clients looking for the perfect fit of software developers to join their teams. We can understand how important the qualities they shop for are. Every company, including ours, ideally goes shopping for the perfect employee in a sense. However, it is understandable that most times we end up not getting the perfect employee or software developer, but instead finding the most proficient.

Therein lies the magic; one that even the most beautifully fabricated legend cannot surpass. Proficiency is a cornerstone for creativity, and not just in the tech world. Someone who is proficient at something aspires towards improving and creating value with the skill and knowledge they have gained. A software developer who is proficient at using JavaScript doesn’t usually stop at learning and mastering JavaScript but pushes themselves towards other programming languages/frameworks in a bid to gain more knowledge whilst creating value for others. Basically, if you need to drive on a regular highway, why go the extra mile for a heavy-duty truck license. In other words, proficiency means you have to think about what direction you have to develop your skills, not just blindly going for perfection in one direction while neglecting other very necessary skills.


Proficiency comes with experience

Experience in the tech world is invaluable. Take for instance a newbie who begins a web development course at our academy and after two months of learning and taking tests, joins an open source project that lasts for another month where they are able to harness some of the knowledge they have gained. Now, in three months, hypothetical, they have gained some experience that is able to direct their path further. As the months pass, they choose to focus on learning Python, getting more proficient with the language seeing as they understand (due to the open source project) it’s importance as an open source programming language. In doing this, what began as a two month learning journey at the Tunga academy has turned into a six-eight months proficiency journey with experience.

The above is a hypothetical, but it’s not far from the reality of just how much proficiency and experience are two peas in a pod. At Tunga, we are keen on both because we understand that while perfection means no mistakes whatsoever, proficiency and experience means continued effort despite any mistakes. And that is something we hope that more developers aspire towards. Improve your skills with proficiency and experience and the tech world becomes your very own creative oyster.


Keep at it

With that being said, as a company, we want you to know that whatever efforts you are putting into your developer journey at this point, though it might not seem like much, in time it will count towards the value you would be able to offer going forward. We understand that it can be a tough journey to undertake as a developer when you have your sights set on perfection and it seems you keep falling short of it. We have all been there. As a company, we understand that perfection might seem ideal in finding suitable matches for all the African developers in our database but we know for certain that striving for perfection is a suboptimal approach to becoming a successful developer. In essence, our goal as a company is to guide and help you set the right priorities with respect to launching your tech career.

In a perfect world, the legends might be true. There may exist someone that can code without sleeping and take on multiple software development projects in a single leap. But if we are being honest, wouldn’t that be a boring world to live in? So, why not choose to instead be the proficient developers in this imperfect world of ours and let Tunga be the launching pad of your tech career.