Wednesday, 13 November 2013

What Software Developers can learn from Sachin Tendulkar's marathon career?

A great career is about to end.  One filled with many many runs that even the best can only dream of.  Yes, we are talking about the one and only Sachin Tendulkar.  As he is retiring, I just thought of how much I learned by just watching him.  That's when I realized why not pass that learning to others as well or at least highlight what we can learn from him. 
This post is specifically dedicated to software developers.  But this can be applied for anyone in any field.
So what are the things that software developers can learn from this great guy?  Here we go with the list.
Passion for the game

One thing that is pretty to hard to beat this guy at a young age or even now is his passion for the game of cricket.  He used to bat, bat and bat without getting tired at the nets day in and day out.  He loved the game so much that he lived it. 

Similarly developers should be passionate about developing great software.  It is the passion that keeps a man going and work never looks like work if you are passionate about it.


Natural Talent

We have to accept that Sachin Tendulkar was naturally a very gifted player.  That showed in his ability to dominate where other players surrendered.  Though this may not be the only thing for software developers, surely natural talent will help them a lot.  So identify your natural talent and march towards your career goals.

Hard work & dedication

If he won a lot of hearts and caught plenty of eyes at a young age due to his talent, his long and phenomenal career and outstanding performance throughout has been due to his hard work and dedication to the game.  

Similarly whether you are a developer, just have this in mind that only hard work and dedication will bring accolades in the long run, no matter how talented you are.  So work hard at your skill till it reaps big rewards.

Brilliant at basics

Sachin was a technically correct player, which meant he was pretty good at the basics of the game and had mastered it to perfection.  That laid the platform for him to enhance his game multifold and whenever he is in a bad form, he would return back to his basics and set it straight.  

Similarly as a Developer, get good at your basics.   Only when your basics are strong, you can really enhance your other skillsets and improvise on it.  If you know how to program, you can easily learn many programming languages.  If you know how basically objects work, you can design your architecture in a very flexible manner.  So the point here is to get good at basics and master them.  They are the foundation for your success.

Learning like a kid

It was not that Sachin didn't make any mistakes, but he learnt to correct them and adapted it.  He was never afraid of learning the game of cricket.  

A software developer should never stop learning till the end of their career.  That is not only keep them relevant in the market, that is the only way they can keep themselves motivated.  Try your hand at a new technology, new open source project, one which you have not tried before to enhance your skillsets.


Sachin was extremely adaptable to different conditions.  He succeeded in all the pitches in the world, be it the fastest, the bounciest, one that contained a lot of swing or spin and he also succeeded in all formats be it tests, one dayers or 20-20s.  Similarly a software developer or a software tester should be adaptable to different projects, long term or short term, different technical challenges or work with different team members.

Understanding of the game

Sachin was known for his deep understanding of the game, not just his batting.  He read bowler's mind, he read the situation, he read the pitch, he read the opposition's strategy and tactics, he exactly knew when to target a particular bowler and exactly when to attack and when to play defense.  

These sort of skills are crucial in software development as well.  First they need to understand how each and every move affects them in the long run and also take calculated risks and their implications for eg.  Making a hot fix, Making a last minute change in the code, etc.

Handling pressure & Criticism

One aspect of his monstrous career is his ability to handle pressure and criticism throughout.  The fact that Indian media and fans generally tend to overreact positively or negatively didn't help the cause much.  However he was determined not to lose focus and took all the pressure and criticism and answered all his critics with immaculate performances throughout.  

Similarly developers should learn to manager pressure and handle criticism appropriately.  It is not going to be a smooth ride, you might be criticized by your peers, leads, managers but you have to accept those and really come out with flying colours with your performance.

Being physically and mentally fit for the marathon career

The ability to stay focussed and fit for the duration is definitely worth admiring.  So he had both physical and mental stamina to withstand the pressures and still deliver consistently over such long periods of time.  

Similarly developers should be fit physically and mentally so that they really can focus on the job at hand.  Once you are fit, naturally you can overcome all sorts of challenges.

Ability to fight back

He was always known as a fighter.  He faced tough injuries and a painful rehabilitation.  But those didn't stop him from making a comeback.  

Similarly developers need to fight back from any situation.  No matter how much pressure they have handled before, they need to withstand and come back great guns.

Dedication for the team

He is always dedicated to the team's cause.  If he makes a hundred and India still lost, he will be deeply disappointed.  

Similarly developers should be dedicated to work for the team's cause.  Because the team and the project is more important than anything else.


Sachin always mentored junior batsmen and taught them more about how to read a game and techniques that works for them, how to handle the pressures, etc.  Almost all cricketers have learned a lot from him just by watching him, so you can imagine how much knowledge he must have imparted into the minds of the cricketers.  

Similarly experienced and senior developers should focus on mentoring and coaching fellow juniors, so that they pass on their knowledge and skill to their juniors.  Experience is a hard teacher and it is not required that the juniors also should learn from their experience only, they can learn from seniors also. 

Stick to what comes best to you

Sachin was a very gifted player, however he didn't have a good stint as a captain of the Indian cricket team.  There are several reasons to it.  But the important lesson that he taught to others is even if you are the best batsman in the world, there is no guarantee that you can be a good captain.

Similarly all developers have numerous career paths to choose from.  They can either go in the technical path wherein they become leads, architects, consultants, etc or they can go for the management path where they become leads, managers, senior managers, etc.  The point here is stick to what comes best to you.  That way, you will have a more fulfilling career.

Do you think there are any other things that got missed out?  Please shoot out your comments.  If you found this post useful, please share it with your circles.  Please leave your Email ID in the section "Get Updates by Email" to the top right to get regular updates from my blog (You don't need to pay a penny :) )

About the Author
Rajaraman Raghuraman has 8+ years of experience in the Information Technology industry focusing on Product Development, R&D, Test Data Management and Automation Testing.  He has architected a TDM product from scratch and currently leads the TDM Product Development team in an IT MNC.  He is passionate about Agile Methodologies and is a huge fan of Product Development, Agile Development and Agile Testing.  He blogs at  AgileDevTest Blog.  He is also an author of a free Ebook "Programmer's Motivation for Beginners".  Connect with him on Google+

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