Welcome back, It's been a long time since my last post (although not long enough if we're being honest). Don't worry this is not going to be about Wordpress or technical stuff. This time I want to talk about something more personal, so I hope you enjoy it and maybe learn something from my experience.
If you read the title it can sound 'clickbaity' but there is some truth to it. I want to talk about something that you never get to learn in college or any online course that I know and that is, talking with clients. I know that sounds a little ambiguous but I'll explain more, first let me take you back around 5-6 years, when I started my first job as a developer.
My first real project was to create a site for the IT branch of my university. So the department told me what to do and I built it; as simple as that. The next job I had, I was involved in creating an accounting software (it was as boring as it sounds).
This software was meant for retail, so we didn't have an actual client to work for. The client was whoever would buy the software. So, following this pattern, I always had a team to work with. I had a boss who basically told me what to do and that was it. All the decisions were made by the team. Personally, I think it was a great way to work. The communication was fast and simple.
Let's fast forward to 2020 and this is when things got interesting. When I started working at Maniak I knew the business model was different. We were selling a service, and now we didn't have the final decisions. All of the decisions were made by another party (usually the guys with the money). Now there was another factor to consider and things moved a little slower because of this. When I started working on this kind of projects I knew the Project Manager had constant communication with the client about decisions, timelines, requests, etc. This was new for me. Before, I never had to worry about sprints, creating demos and having tons of meetings with different teams. That's when I discovered a whole new side of being a developer that I had no idea existed.
The first time I got to work on one of these projects I didn't know that I was going to do actual talking with other people (outside of my internal team). That was exciting and terrifying at the same time. The first reason was that we didn't have the same native language, so I wasn't sure if the communication was going to be effective. The second thing is that I had never been in those types of conversations, so I was at a loss for words (I didn't know if I should even speak).
Bottom line is that I wasn't ready. I had no experience talking to clients. My conversational English was very rusty and I'm not the friendliest person. But I was really surprised of how it went. The client was much nicer than I expected so the meeting went really well. Decisions were made and my input was even heard and taken into account. Sometimes we forget we are a team and we want to reach the same goal. I had just discovered one trait I didn't know I had and it has really paid off.
You might ask why I'm telling you this boring story. I'm doing it because having rapport with clients, having efficient communication, and simply being friendly is something that is going to help you immensely in your career. You can start working on it if you find yourself in the same place I was.
In college, I was never told I would have to get good at talking to people, making fast decisions or being a project leader. It can be scary when you get to that point. It was, for me. But I learn just by watching my coworkers and tech leads. I can tell you now, doing all of this: going the extra mile, getting to know the clients or whoever you are working for, it's only going to help your project and your personal growth.
Don't be afraid of making decisions too. I remember on my first projects, I was hesitant of speaking up or going against the decisions that were already made. The more experience you get on different projects, the more you get to learn the in and outs so you know what works and what doesn't. That's when you start giving your input on things, that's how you get to be more involved in projects. The client and you coworkers will start noticing that, so as long as you keep delivering high quality results, they'll want to work more with you.
This is just a short story of some things I've learnt on this job and one of the aspects that I love the most. Now I know not every client is perfect and there will always be bumps on the road, but that is a story for another post. Let's just wrap up for now, thank you for reading.