What is a pro coder’s most important tool?

Greg L. Turnquist
3 min readDec 1, 2023

It’s not a grab bag of programming languages, though speaking multiple languages is useful.

It’s not that shiny new M3 Max MacBook Pro maxed out in cores & RAM with the 8 TB internal drive either. (Want to see how quickly Apple turns this article from edgy to antique with their high speed rollout of Apple silicon?)

And it’s CERTAINLY not that that Samsung 49” curved monitor (which can double as a boat anchor in an emergency!)

Nope.

While those are powerful tools, there is something else of much greater value. In fact, it’s such a powerful tool, you can’t buy it. At least not directly.

This asset that will pay ever increasing dividends for the life of your career can only be possessed when you invest your own personal time.

Professional relationships.

The people that you meet and serve as you forge your path are the most important thing you can add to your portfolio.

Remember how I said you can’t buy it with money? That’s true. Only an investment of genuine and sincere time will grow this bountiful asset.

You see, the thing this world runs on isn’t money or greed, though it’s easy to see the cynical side of things. This world runs on value creation.

When you provide value to others by solving problems for them, they will appreciate it on a deeper level than any business transaction ever can. As coders, our job is to solve problems for others. Look for ways to help others, to provide value, and eventually that genuine investment will pour back into you.

Remember me saying sincere investment earlier? It’s true. If you take a shallow approach of helping something simply to bum a favor off of them, it won’t work.

You can smell someone using you like that, right? Well other people sense the same coming from you. So put aside what you need right now, and instead simply listen. Find out what they need. And strive to meet that need.

Sometimes you’ll get paid right away. Sometimes you won’t. Sometimes you won’t see anything came your way for years. Or perhaps never, from that person.

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Greg L. Turnquist

Sr. Staff Technical Content Engineer at CockroachDB • YouTube Content Creator at https://youtube.com/@ProCoderIO • Best-Selling Author • Coffee Lover