How to get noticed at work

If you want to get noticed at work, you must become the best at something.

If you want to get noticed at work, you must become the best at something. This might sound obvious, but it's a common mistake many people make. Perhaps they think they can just coast through a project by checking all the bare minimum boxes. They show up, do a decent job, and go home. While those things help, they won't guarantee that you progress through your career quickly or even get noticed at all. You need something tangibly impressive about you, and for that to happen you have to be amazing at something.

“You should focus relentlessly on something you’re good at doing, but before that you must think hard about whether it will be valuable in the future.” - Peter Thiel, Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future

To become an expert at something, there are three essential things you need:


If you want to be an expert at something, you need to be ambitious about it. If you're not willing to put in a lot of work, chances are good that you'll never be the best. Having the end goal in mind will help you plan the steps on your journey. I recommend creating a S.M.A.R.T. goal to help break things down into a formula that will help you achieve your vision. For your ambition to lead to success, you also need self-motivation in place so that you can keep working hard after your ambition has waned a little bit (because it will). A few common goals for software engineers might look like the following:

  • I want to be promoted to Senior Developer in the next review cycle.
  • I want to become a certified AWS Solutions Architect by the end of the year.
  • I want to start a YouTube channel to talk about my favorite tech stack in the next 6 months.

Starting with concrete goals like this helps you work backward from the end state and create actionable steps to get you there.


Coming back to the Peter Thiel quote above, knowing what you're already good at is often the first step to understanding where you should focus next. I discovered that I loved working on the front-end side of websites. I also happened to be mainly working for companies building large-scale applications with Angular ( a JavaScript framework ). After taking a step back to consider those two key data points, I could easily identify my niche.

I would become an Angular expert.

However, I didn't just stop with the technical skills. I took it a step further and created a personal brand. I wanted my name to become synonymous with the Angular framework with everyone in my professional network. I started writing articles on Medium talking about Angular subjects. I gave talks at multiple Meetup groups about Angular. I attended the largest Angular conferences in the country. I spoke to every Angular expert I could. Using that strategy, I was able to create a personal brand and a knowledge base that would help me land multiple high-level Angular roles for years to come.


It takes time and effort to become good at anything, and most people don't want to put in this kind of investment. Take advantage of this. Everything we do is an investment. You're always learning more about something. Whether you're learning about how to complete all the side quests on that new open-world video game or building your projects in AWS, you are what you do. Act accordingly.

For software engineers looking to level up, I recommend doing a mixture of tutorials found on sites like Udemy or YouTube and building your own projects. Pick some skills that build on what you're already good at and dive in!


Using the ingredients above, it is possible to become an expert at something. Unsurprisingly, experts get paid more than generalists. Don't be afraid to stand out from the crowd by becoming someone renowned for a specific service or skill. Then once you achieve that expert-level knowledge, start telling anyone who will listen about it. It might take extra effort to become specialized, but rest assured that it will pay off for years to come—you'll never have to worry about not getting noticed again!

Just make sure the thing you choose is valuable now and in the future. While you could argue that the popularity of Angular has waned in recent months, the lessons are applicable to other newer frameworks as well. Not to mention I learned the most important skill of all on my journey, how to master something. Once you understand what it takes to master one thing, mastering something else is much more straightforward.