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Niching Down is hard

May 20, 2018

Books

Welcome back, this week I am going to be discussing ‘Niching Down’, the importance of it, the struggles I have had with trying to come up with a niche and then hopefully I can give you some tips about finding your niche.

What exactly is ‘Niching Down’?

Niching down can also be said simply as reducing your focus area to something very specific and going very deep into that specific area. Another way you may have heard this is having ‘T shaped knowledge’ meaning having a broad base with a deep speciality.  There are varying levels of niching, for example, Front-end Development is a niche, but React front-end development is a niche inside it.

Why ‘Niche down’?

Why should you niche down? Niching gives you the ability to able to become an expert/taught leader/influencer in that specific area. While doing this reduces your overall focus it increases your value and allows you to be a ‘bigger fish in a small pond’. The bigger you are able to be, the better you can be and the more known you are for doing that specific thing.

Concerns

Anytime somebody brings up niching down the first concern is usually always won’t niching down reduce my value, I want to be a jack of all traits! First of all, as stated earlier niching down reduces the number of people available for the job/area and if you become really good at it you can be the best in the world at that niche thing. Jack of all traits is impossible if you think about what you do, you’re likely not doing everything in most cases you are doing just 4 or 5 things and the list you are good at and known deeply is probably even smaller than that. If you don’t believe me, list of the things you do and then what you are really good at, you will be surprised at what you find out. There are plenty of stores about people and companies niching down and them doubling their business or their salary, have a look around, google your concerns and see what they are usually* valid but not valid enough to not niche down.

Find a niche is hard and My Struggles

Now you know why I think you should niche down and the benefits of it, I want to discuss my issues with finding a niche. Finding a niche is very hard, it needs to be something you are very interested in as you will be going very deep into it. You are going to need to be interested in it for maybe 1 to 2 years, while there is no problem ever changing your niche if you plan to go deep and be known as ’[insert niche here] person’ you will need to spend at least a year diving into it.

My Struggles

Over the past few months, I have been thinking of ways to take my own advice about finding a niche. It has been hard and I still haven’t found my one “true” niche because yes it’s hard and I always want to learn so much stuff. Over my career my specific focus areas have changed, I was a DevOps guy when I first started my career focusing on automation, continuous delivery and continuous integration, over the past 2 years I have moved completely over to Full Stack web development. The more and more I dive into Full Stack Development I realize how much there is to learn and why it is impossible to learn everything. I mean just with the Javascript frameworks (React, Angular, Vue, Ember, etc, etc)…it gets quickly impossible to really learn all of them in depth.

Tips for Finding your Niche

Whilst I have had my struggles and I still haven’t found that one niche, I still want to give you some tips I have found useful to help me reduce my interests/focus that I hope will lead to me discovering ‘the’ niche.

  • The first Question I asked myself was ‘what do I really enjoy doing?‘. Once I had a list of things I enjoy doing, I then would ask myself the same question for each of that item in the list and then again and again until I really found the areas I have interested in. An example of this for me is:

    1. Full Stack Development
    2. Front-end

      • React
      • etc…
      • Angular
      • etc…
    3. Back-end

      • Python
      • Flask

        • etc…
      • NodeJS
      • ExpressJS

        • etc…
  • Once I had a list of things I liked I did the same with ‘What do I hate doing?’ and this had a surprising effect on me. When I started thinking about what I didn’t like doing some of the things in my ‘really enjoy doing’ list started to appear on my hate list which I taught would have been impossible but it wasn’t.
  • Once I had the hate and like lists, I would cross out any items that appeared on both lists as if I am in two minds about a certain area it’s is unlikely I can see myself doing it for 1 - 2 years.
  • Then I started crossing things off that only had a few levels by asking myself ‘Could I see myself doing this or a combination of this for a year or more?’ and ‘Do I really love doing this? or is it something I have just always done?’

After doing this you should have a much shorter list than what you started with and you can go from there. This is where I currently am in my niche, the next steps are TBA for me as I need to really think about each of the items.I do really love Front-end development and I think my niche will be somewhere in that huge field. When I do find it you will know as more than likely this blog will change focus.

Conclusion

I hope you guys enjoyed this post and the tips help you on your way to finding your niche. If you guys have any tips or feedback on the post feel free to reach out to me on twitter @jaythewebdev.

Until next time,

Jason


Personal Blog by Jason Lloyd.
I talk about programming, life, self-development and everything in-between.