I keep getting really great responses from y’all about the this Vue.js specialization email I sent a while ago (https://philipmorganconsulting.com/pmc-vuejs-specialization/).
This one comes from an Angular expert named Lukas Ruebbelke:
Hi Philip —
TLDR I am a recognized Angular expert and I hardly ever talk about Angular to stakeholders. They don’t care.
As someone who is heavily entrenched in this space, I wanted to share my experience over the last two years which has been eye-opening.
For context, I am an expert Angular developer with a book under my belt, video courses on almost every major platform, Google Developer Expert, etc. What I have found is that being a recognized expert in a particular technology is great for opening doors but once I get inside an organization, I hardly EVER talk about Angular. If I am talking to stakeholders, the conversation always ends up around the desired outcome and how to maximize value to the organization. How do we build X better? Faster? Do we build Y instead?
If I am talking to developers, we generally have to take a step backward and talk about fundamental principles of high-quality software. Have you validated this feature with user testing? Are you writing tests? Do you have a continuous integration pipeline? How do you communicate with stakeholders? How do you work with QA? All of which has very little to do with Angular.
In fact, I recently had a very large client standardize on React which presented an interesting conundrum for my team. We opted to buckle down and learn React and the process was fairly painless. Because we had a solid foundation to work from, we were able to get up and running in a couple hours because the differences were mainly syntactic at that point.
What I realized is that the higher you ascend up the ladder in an organization, the less the stakeholders care about implementation details. And yes, frameworks are implementation details and should be optimized via productized services. The people who sign checks care about valuable outcomes which are usually measured in money, time or a hybrid of both. Expertise in a framework is just a marker that you are capable of producing the desired result within the context of the client’s current situation.
If you are building a market position on a framework then you are playing a short game that has an outcome determined by factors outside of your control. I am certain anyone who banked their career on Adobe Flash would agree. If you are building a market position on providing very specific high-quality results that deliver massive value to a specific group of people, then you are free to evolve with the technology landscape.
Lukas, thanks for giving me permission to share your reply here. It’s full of great insights and hard-won experience.
I’ve started to sense the need for vocabulary that distinguishes between technical ability and the ability to create business impact using that technical ability, so I’ve started to refer to the former as skill and the latter as expertise.
I do this because I have an agenda for y’all, and I should come clean about that:
I want you to cultivate self-made expertise. Skill is just the table stakes for building a thriving services business. Expertise is what makes your business special.
Skill creates deliverables; expertise creates impact.
Skill satisfies; expertise delights.
I know these are dogmatic statements–and false dichotomies to boot–but they express in a satisfyingly blunt way where my allegiance lies.
I’m here for those that aspire to cultivate exceptionally valuable self-made expertise.
Maybe that’s you?