What is your purpose?

There's no difference between an IT admin and a CTO

Created on 25 July 2022.

Over the course of many years that will eventually sum up to describe one's career, a person will most likely have multiple roles.

When talking about your role, your purpose, your career etc, a specific question will always come up during conversations: "What is your purpose?".

It just occurred to me that throughout the different roles that I had, the answer to this specific question was always the same: "I find solutions".

Back in the days when I was just starting out, still in college, working as an IT admin, that was how I saw things: People have issues with their printers or computers and I get called to fix them. Fixing them means I provide a solution to their problems.

Later on, as a pure developer, "I find solutions" was even better set in stone. I literally had "issues" or "algorithms" that needed a solution. However, I was still interested in the overall picture. What does fixing this error mean? How does implementing this algorithm help me, or the client or the company? If I wasn't doing this mental exercise, then a good answer might have been "I write code".

One of the most challenging roles that I had so far was called "Solution Architect". Even the name of the role contains part of the answer, right?

Finally, as a CTO, this becomes more real than ever before. Sure, the type of work changes drastically. This also differs from company to company. I know some CTOs that keep developing, keep writing code. Others are strictly managerial. There's no right or wrong here. It's mostly dependent on where the company is in its journey and the current needs.

I do think that the most difficult CTO role is a mixed one. A role where during a single day you need to write some code AND also think about architecture or long-term vision or team or budget etc. But this is probably a topic for a different post.

In conclusion, if we are also going to tackle the topic of "What is your differentiator?" or "How do you stand out from the sea of other developers out there?", this would be my answer: I don't write code, I find solutions.

Whatever my role, the answer is the same. What changes is the scope, the scale and the potential impact.

ps. Even though I am not promoting this blog, if you somehow end up reading this, please take a moment to ponder the question and write your answer in the comments. Include your role (former or current) + your answer. Thank you.

If you enjoyed this article and think others should read it, please share it on Twitter or share on Linkedin.