You are not behind in your career.
I have been spending a lot of time thinking about young success stories -- people who have been able to reach high points in industry before you would reasonably expect them to.
In doing my research, I have realized that nobody is behind in their careers. We are all at the point that we should be at today.
The people who have been successful in their career are usually those who have worked hard. They have hustled to get to where they are today.
However, when we compare ourselves to them, we are subject to a wide range of biases.
First, we often forget that the person to whom we are comparing our careers will have had different opportunities. Maybe they went to a better school. Maybe they came from a wealthier family. Maybe they were exposed to a career from an earlier age than us.
Second, we forget that luck plays a part in careers. So, the person who you think is working harder than you could ever imagine yourself doing may only have gotten to where they are today as a result of the luck that they have received. Maybe they just got a good opportunity at the right time, and that set them off on a great path.
The reason I am pointing these biases out is that, when we compare our career success to that of others, we usually do so solely from the perspective of hard work. If we feel behind, we feel as though we have just not been working hard enough. But that is not the case.
I am not exactly sure where I want my career in tech to lead, but I do know that I want to be employed in the technology industry. Tech excites me. It makes me feel alive. If I were to compare myself to others, I would see that there are people who are already leaps and bounds ahead of me.
When you’re young, it’s tempting to make these types of comparisons, and to think that if you are not at a certain stage then you are behind. But you are not: you are where you are supposed to be right now.
If you are breaking into a career in tech, it’s important to remember that everyone starts somewhere on their journey. Many people who are successful today were able to attain that success on account of luck, or factors outside their individual control (such as the quality of their school, or their family’s wealth).
Never let yourself feel as though you are behind. Other people may have worked on more side projects than you. That’s great, for them. But your path will look different: you will do your own things, and explore different avenues that nobody else has explored. That’s where you develop your advantage, in doing your own thing.