Right now, I am effectively the senior junior SDET in my company’s automation testing movement. The company actually hired a guy who was supposed to fulfill a role like that, but he joined much later than I did, and my name and presence are far more recognizable among our junior SDETs and our overarching quality team than his. Before that, I was the public relations lead and a mentor for my university’s startup club my last semester in school, and I was secretary of my university’s web developer club for my last two semesters in school. Even before that, I had begun leading and mentoring other younger, less experienced students in some capacity as early as autumn 2014, though I wasn’t all that great at it to start.
Some people think I’ve always been a leader. That group consists entirely of people who have only met me in the past two years or so. I am not a natural leader, but I can share what I did learn about leading.
It begins with persistence of presence
My first kinda sorta real-world leadership experience was in the autumn 2014 semester when I was tasked with leading an effort to revamp my school’s electronics club website. I started with eight students under my sphere of influence. By the end of the semester, that number dropped to three or so, and one guy who was much better with design than I was essentially took the whole project into his own hands.
We did deliver an attractive and revitalized electronics club website, but obviously, that leadership experience ended unsuccessfully for me. However, the reason I was even given the opportunity to lead the project by the club president in the first place was because I had been an active club participant pretty consistently for the previous two semesters. I understand now that by sheer participation and activity, over time you will become more and more prominent in your field. Even if your presentations are hard to follow and lackluster, even if you miss some meetings, the more you hang around, the more people, especially newer people, will see you as an expert.
Part 2 here.
Part 3 here.