Single Greatest Advice For A Young Engineer Entrepreneur

It’s not all about programming.

I’ve seen hundreds and hundreds of technical folks starting businesses with no clue how to run an organization, build a team, manage finances, build UX-driven interfaces, or close a deal.


There’s a certain level of elitism within the software development industry. I’ve been there myself and it’s absolutely transparent whenever you attend a technical conference or join a geek online community and observe a few conversations.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s often instrumental in ongoing professional development and solving critical problems at work. And most experienced programmers are very well aware of the fact that programming isn’t everything.

I’ve been doing training courses since 2006 and worked with thousands of junior developers. Most of them are genuinely in awe of the software engineering industry which is vast and unexplainable at first. There’s a lot to learn and explore over the years.

Great entrepreneurs with a technical background are fully aware of their skill set and their weaknesses. Many spend years to catch up on different industries and improve their professional qualifications accordingly – even if they have business co-founders and after establishing a team of industry experts.

For example, a web application for a business may be a mission-critical component. However:
  1. That web app should present the back-end data in the fastest and most efficient manner through the front-end layout.
  2. Which is built atop the original design created by a graphic/web designer.
  3. Which has been coordinated with the branding team and UX experts confirming the corporate identity.
  4. That same application may utilize more complex queries and stored procedures requiring data scientists or DBAs.
  5. All of that grows and requires a team of network engineers, system administrators, or DevOps experts.
  6. All of those platform and service costs – along with salaries – are to be broken down and managed by the accounting department handling taxes and transactions as well.
  7. And if they are sick, someone may need to handle the recruitment process or deal with the sick/vacation holiday leaves within the HR team.
  8. Progressing at the right pace through the milestones is contingent on solid leadership roles and project managers.
  9. Project managers have landed the deal/funding (in the first place) thanks to the sales or business development department working along the legal team.
  10. The deal was sealed after your business has continuously appeared in multiple online and offline mediums thanks to the effort of the marketing department.

Basically, there would be no need of the web platform without the efforts of a team specializing in plenty of different fields. The application is merely a solution – or the best possible implementation – of a problem that has been discovered, broken down into the atomic details, defined with a business need in mind, and presold to customers paying the salaries.

Since startups cannot afford to hire dozens of rockstars, profiling in each niche, great entrepreneurs hustle and cover many of those areas themselves over the first months or even 1–2 years.

Sticking to your software engineering skill set is important for your professional qualification as a developer. However, entrepreneurship requires a ton of different skills – and the more you’re comfortable with doing yourself during the first year, the easier it will be to scale, save resources, make smart decisions and grow the business until you can hire more experienced folks.