Reaching professional excellence in Tech

Lessons learned

Fri May 20 2016

... so far

A bit about me

Jhon Jairo Roa Acuña

Technical Team Lead @

Our platform unleashes the power and uniqueness of small business data to streamline and automate activities that are too costly and time consuming to execute by conventional means. 


Universidad Distrital - Electronic Engineering - Drop Out


Universidad Distrital - "Computer Science" - Drop Out


Universidad EAN - "Computer Science" - third time is the charm :3

Formal Education

3+ years as Technical Team Lead

5+ years as a Software Developer

28 years Old


Coding since I was 15


9 companies


+20 software projects

Python Medellín Meetup Co-organizer

+800 Members

Monthly events

~50 people per event

Created 13 months ago

PyLadies Medellín


+25 Students

Weekly classes

Created 5 months ago

+110 Members

PyCon - PyData Colombia 2017


First national Python event in Colombia

10 - 11 February  2017

+200 expected people

Python relevance

Website dev

GUI dev


System Programming

Sys Admin Automating

Data Analysis

Machine Learning

Web Scraping

Scientific & Numeric Processing


WHY do I do what I do?


A bit about LendingFront

Lending and loan management process powered by business data

Our platform unleashes the power and uniqueness of small business data to streamline and automate activities that are too costly and time consuming to execute by conventional means.

We love python :)

We're always looking for amazing talented and passionate people

let's cut to the chase

Tips to become a an excellent

professional in Tech

But not that fast!! :P

Important disclaimer

I'm not excellent

I'm so far from being excellent

There are a lot of things that I can improve

And THAT'S precisely what keeps my heart beating :D

Tips to become a an excellent

professional in Tech

Two parts




Find a Mentor

Point to top people

Want to be an excellent developer?

Contact people that is excellent: Ie, Try contacting somebody from Google / Facebook / Amazon


There are also amazing tech professionals in Colombia

Point to the leaders

  • Colombia dev
  • Ruby meetups organizers in Colombia
  • Bigdata meetups organizers in Colombia
  • Python meetups organizers in Colombia
  • Java meetups organizers in Colombia
  • PHP meetups organizers in Colombia
  • Robotics meetups organizers in Colombia
  • Go meetups organizers in Colombia

Want international leaders?

  • Ruby meetups organizers in US, Latam, Europe, etc
  • Bigdata meetups organizers in US, Latam, Europe, etc
  • Python meetups organizers in US, Latam, Europe, etc
  • Java meetups organizers in US, Latam, Europe, etc
  • PHP meetups organizers in US, Latam, Europe, etc
  • Robotics meetups organizers in US, Latam, Europe, etc
  • Go meetups organizers in US, Latam, Europe, etc

Want international leaders?

Want international leaders?

What is the worst that could happen?

They might simply not reply your message

It's ok

Move forward :D

Github account

Github account

  • Create a github account
  • Try new technologies and share what you did
  • Contribute to open source software project of your preference

Join a community

There is no meetup group in my city :(

That's great: Create one!!!

Read a lot

But, use your time wisely

What is this?

What is this?

"What is Hack? Hack is a programming language for HHVM. Hack reconciles the fast development cycle of a dynamically typed language with the discipline provided by static typing, while adding many features commonly found in other modern programming languages."

Do you feel smart just because you read?

Do you feel smart just because you read?

Seriously, how is that different from this?

How is that information helping me to become an excellent professional?

"The middle class reads novels, tabloids, and entertainment magazines."


Rich people would rather be educated than entertained.


Steve Siebold

Entertainment is fun, and some little times is necessary to clear your mind, that's fine but .... how often are you doing it?


  • Daily novel?
  • Netflix marathons?
  • Walking dead, GOT


Excellence requires discipline!!

“If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.” – Jim Rohn

Educate yourself instead of entertaining yourself with useless information !!!

Books I just finished

"I'm so busy"

No, it's about prioritizing and being disciplined

How ?

When ?

While I take out my cute niece :)


  • 30 min morning
  • 30 min evening


1 hour/day of reading listening books


  • Happy dog
  • A bit less ignorant Uncle

When ?

while flying


Working out

Not everything is available in audobooks

PDF books I just finished

Focus !

“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you've got to focus on. But that's not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I'm actually as proud of the things we haven't done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.” - Steve Jobs

Focus !

"If you count the time I'm in the office, it's probably no more than 50-60 hours a week," he said, but added that "I take a lot of time just to read and think about things by myself... if you count all the time I'm focused on our mission, that's basically my whole life." - Mark Zuckenberg

Work on your personal branding

Publish videos

Create your own blog

Write some articles

Write some code

Github (again)

Connect with people with common interests (again)

Update your LinkedIn profile

Keep updated about trends and news

NodeJs(Javascript) vs Tornado (Python)

Latest topics (Python)

Latest topics (Python)

Latest topics

Not only read about IT, read about the market

Identify the actual pain points of your company's clients

Software development  is not about amazing technical practices

Software development is 100% about solving problems. 100% about solving clients problems. 100% about solving society problems. 100% about solving world problems.

 amazing technical practices are key to software development

but is not it's ultimate PURPOSE

Not only read about IT, read about management and metodologies

Management 3.0

Surround yourself with great people

"Good people hire people better than themselves. So A players hire A+ players. But others hire below their skills to make themselves look good. So B players hire C players. C players hire D players, etc." - Guy Kawasaki

“Make sure you’re hiring only A-players. Hire a few B-players, he said, and they hire B’s and C’s, and pretty soon the whole operation is going to pot.” – Steve Jobs

“If you want to be a leader who attracts quality people, the key is to become a person of quality yourself.” – Jim Rohn

Always ask for feedback

And much better if is not sugar coated 

Positive feedback will make you feel fine :)

That's good and also important


NEGATIVE feedback

Is KEY to identify what you should work on!!!

Don't worry when you ALWAYS receive negative feedback

That means that you should work harder!!!


Worry when you ALWAYS receive positive feedback

That might mean that there is no room to grow...

And might be time for a change...

to keep growing

"If you are the smartest person in the room you're in the wrong room"

Compare yourself to the excellent people

people say...

“Comparisons are odious”

I would rather say...

“Comparisons are great to grow”

Because it will show you what is missing to reach your goal

What does "being excellent" means?

It's all about doing comparison and identify the best

Spend your money wisely

What if you stop liking you job?

...and you haven't saved any money

...or you have to make the monthly payment of your beautiful car

...or make the mortgage payments

You might have to keep working for money


Imagine yourself in 'extreme' situations....

  crappy job with big bucks vs amazing job with 'just fine' money


This doesn't mean you have to work for cheap

This means: take a job because you love the challenge...

That's way different

... if there are also good bucks


... if the pay is 'just fine'


Excellence won't come if you focus on offers that mean big bucks

Excellence comes if you focus on offers that mean big challenges

Become a mentor

Be open to help people that want to grow and ask you for advise

  Don't look for a new job , look for your next obsession

 - Jhon Roa :P


"Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” - Victor Hugo

Sorry Vic, I'm not quite convinced.

"Ideas Are Cheap — Execution is Worth Millions. The difference between dreamers and winners."

How about....

"Nothing is more powerful than a human being with purpose"



“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

- Mark Twain


This might help

Yes, is available via audible :3

Interrupt your  game of thrones reading for a week and give Simon a try ;)

Game of thrones can wait

Your life purpose CAN'T


It all comes to ONE single rule

  • Others aren’t willing to keep writing
  • Others aren’t willing to keep learning
  • Others aren’t willing to look foolish
  • Others aren’t willing to think bigger
  • Others aren’t willing to give more
  • Others aren’t willing to get up earlier
  • Others aren’t willing to ask for help
  • Others aren’t willing to test and track

"The man who does more than he is paid will ALWAYS BE PAID FOR MORE THAN HE DOES."

"In order to join the 1% you gotta be doing things the other 99% ain’t willing to do."

Final thoughts

if you follow these tips, it won't make you excellent

But will certainly put you a bit closer to it 


Jhon Jairo Roa Acuña


Reaching professional excellence in Tech

By Jhon Jairo Roa

Reaching professional excellence in Tech

Some tips to reach professional excellence in tech that I have learned from my experience in the industry

  • 1,843