I have been working recently on a little project where I had to hook together several 3rd party libs. Most of the time spent was about configuring these libs to make them work properly. Nothing fancy.
While working, it came to my realization that I have been working on similar projects recently, where most of the time is about gluing 3rd party stuff, and technical challenges are minimal.
For me, a developer who spends most of his working time gluing(configuring) 3rd party libs, is called a Configurator.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not here to judge the nature of your work, since all of us have to do such type of configuring, maybe to try new things, quickly prototype something, or simply because we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. However, if most of your working time is going on configuring, then I do suggest you are not learning enough now. Actually, a question to ask yourself is:
What’s my competitive edge since anyone can do the same? Doctor Configuration?!!!
In such cases, I highly recommend that you dive deep from time to time in these 3rd party libs. Try to understand the code and the software design choices behind them. Try to fork and submit new new features.
Also, find time to start your own open source project. I have found that sharing code with others is the best way to become a better developer.
Bottom line, you need to realize whether you are in the configurator mode or not, and for how long. Based on that you can plan alternative paths.