Beyond Pull Requests — What Fuels the Greats

Lakin Mohapatra
3 min readNov 26, 2023
https://www.cs.virginia.edu/~evans/cs4414-fall2013/static/classes/class3/slides/Slide47.png

We all have tough slogs of coding work that blur one day into the next. But the legends of our industry like Linus Torvalds and Alan Turing were fueled by higher creative callings. More than just compiling code, they envisioned world-shaping systems like Linux and the earliest computers.

The Power of Dreams:

What sparks the greatest engineers to realize such outsized visions? Is it simply innate genius? Perhaps in part. But I believe most reach incredible heights through consciously cultivating large dreams:

  1. Dreams of democratizing access to knowledge and tools, as Larry Page and Sergey Brin did with Google
  2. Dreams of unleashing new realms for creativity through unprecedented interfaces like Steve Jobs.
  3. Dreams of connecting the world and advancing understanding as Mark Zuckerberg enacted.

There’s an infectious optimism and idealism common across such luminaries pushing the bounds of possibility. The daily coding matters greatly, but mainly because it lays the foundation for their grand ambitions. Their sights extend far beyond pull requests to positively impacting human destiny.

I think that orientation separates good coders from remarkable visionaries.

Here are some dreams and career goals that great software engineers strive for:

  1. Build Breakthrough Products
    Create widely used applications that fundamentally transform how people live and work. Think iPhone or Kubernetes-level impact.
  2. Advance the State-of-Art
    Make significant research contributions pushing the boundaries of software capabilities, such as new programming languages, frameworks, techniques etc.
  3. Cultivate Global Communities
    Start and lead vibrant open source communities with millions of users around pioneering technologies built collectively.
  4. Achieve Financial Freedom
    Attain economic independence and flexibility to pursue projects based solely on passion versus the need for paychecks.
  5. Write Influential Insights
    Publish books/blogging/papers sharing deep industry insights and advance thinking that influences the next generation.
  6. Solve Hard Problems
    Architect solutions to complex technical problems with creativity such as scalability, security, reliability issues limiting software reach or capability.
  7. Gain Peer Recognition
    Receive prestigious honors like the Turing Award recognizing career achievements and remarkable contributions to the field.

Aiming High Pushes Boundaries:

While achieving any one of these aspirations would be a monumental feat, it’s the act of aiming high that truly pushes boundaries. Great engineers understand that their daily coding endeavors matter because they lay the foundation for grand ambitions that extend far beyond pull requests. The infectious optimism and idealism common across tech luminaries inspire a new generation of engineers to dream big, push limits, and positively impact human destiny.

In the world of software engineering, the pursuit of greatness goes beyond mastering programming languages and crafting efficient algorithms. It involves nurturing dreams that have the power to shape the future. As we celebrate the achievements of the industry’s legends, we are reminded that each day presents an opportunity to code not just for the present but for a future where software transforms lives on a global scale.

So, what inspiring software engineering goals fuel your passion and excitement to wake up each day?

--

--

Lakin Mohapatra

Software Engineer | Hungry coder | Proud Indian | Cyber Security Researcher | Blogger | Architect (web2 + web 3)