I was tempted to not write this post. My motivations are changing a bit and growing strong technically isn’t one of my top priorities nowadays.
Reflections on 2013
Last year was very interesting for me. It’s the first time I didn’t really have a home. I’ve split my time between India, United States, and South Africa, (ok, I was in Toronto for a few weeks too). During that time I’ve reflected a lot (probably too much). My work was split between training new software developers and developing tools to deploy the largest and most complex distributed system I’ve ever worked on.
First, let’s look back at 2013 and see how I did with my resolutions:
- Read 7 Languages in 7 Weeks – This was a massive fail. I never even got past chapter 1!
- More Presentations – I would give myself a passing grade here. I’ve started doing more internal presentations, but I’m sure that there’s expectation for me to do more. The problem here is that I really don’t enjoy delivering presentations, but I do struggle when I believe I have interesting things to say and they’re stuck in my head. I definitely need an outlet and will have to figure this out going forward.
- Expand my Ops Toolbelt – This one was definitely a success. I’ve picked up Puppet, Ansible and MCollective. Also, I feel that I’ve grown quite adept at Continuous Delivery pipelines and Vagrantizing development environments.
Development Goals for 2014:
2014 is going to be a different year for me. I don’t really care about goals as much, but want to build better habits. I’ve reached many of my goals only to regress behaviour after the goals have been achieved. I’ve realized that many of my technical goals were due more to my ego and fear of looking dumb in front of colleagues and clients. I’ve realized that I actually have a pretty good personal brand, and that people respect my abilities. I’ve proven myself over and over again, and it’s time for me to believe it myself.
Increase Signal to Noise Ratio
Social media tax is too high for me right now. It’s time to start culling the amount of inputs I have. At least I’ve deleted my LinkedIn account. I’m going to have a daily unfriend/unfollow 1 person, until I feel things are a bit more manageable. One small victory in 2013 was deleting my LinkedIn account.
Improving my e-mail habits are up there as well. Things like not checking my e-mail before work is a habit that I plan on picking up. I also need to write less e-mails. E-mails beget more e-mail.
- Facebook Friends at end of 2013 == 480
- Following on Twitter at of 2013 == 627
OK, I’ll sneak in a technical goal. I want to simply understand what the hype is around Docker. I tend to be very slow to catch onto trends. There’s enough hype around Docker that I think I should at least understand what I’m missing if I do miss that boat.
Do Meaningful Work
4 years ago I left CBC for ThoughtWorks. I don’t regret the decision at all, but I now understand what it’s like to do meaningful work. Working on Radio 3 was fulfilling work, and I’m still proud of what was created, and have strong connections with the people I worked with there.
The tough part about the consulting business is that you can potentially work for money hungry organisations. I personally don’t want to help retail vendors sell more shirts, or banks earn more interest. ThoughtWorks does do a lot of meaningful work, and I’m going to do something I find more fulfilling. Another stint in India doing ThoughtWorks University would be something that would satisfying this need.
Being a competent developer, I think I owe it to society to do what I can for a greater good. So I’m looking at contributing to MailPile as a first step. The open government space is something I would like to explore as well.
I think 2013 was a bit of a downer because of what’s been revealed by Edward Snowden. The numerous large scale theft of e-mail addresses and passwords have also lowered confidence in IT as a whole. Let’s not talk about Obama Care. It’s frustating to see the industry that I love so much do so much harm, and become so untrustworthy. 2014 is going to shape to be an interesting year as a result of these events.