Reflections from 2007

Hourglass      The beginning if a new year is a common time to look back over the past 12 months to evaluate what you did, where you went, and where you are going.  Without boring you to death, I thought I'd share a few things I learned and a few things I hope to do better in the coming year.


1. If you aren't growing, move

I had become stagnant in my previous job and had known for a while it was holding me back professionally, but it is hard to leave a secure job.  However, last spring it become very clear to me, I was going to continue to get frustrated in my position and this summer found a new opportunity closer to home that I'm happy with.  My new job keeps me working full time in the technology that I enjoy and has cut down on my frustration 10 fold.  I feel less stressed and I'm becoming a better developer every day.

2. Don't be afraid to share

For years, I kept thinking that I should get involved helping with an open source project.  I thought about many projects at many times, but was always a bit timid to dig in and submit patches and new features.  It was easiest to keep on the fringe and do nothing.  Early this year however, I decided to stop procrastinating and do something.  I ran across the BlogEngine.NET project very early in its life cycle and offer to do whatever was needed to help.  It has been a wild ride that has been a great.  I've met a ton of nice people, learned quite a bit, and have a something I'm excited to be a part of.  I only wish I had done something like this sooner.

3. I can't learn everything about everything

I spend a lot of time every week reading, studying, and trying new technologies.  It seems the more time I put in the less I know.  In years past, I tried unsuccessfully to read and learn a little about anything and everything.  In the past I've kept a huge reading list I would never get through a feel a bit lame about not having learned some of this stuff.  This year, I just learned to let go of some things.  I still like to get a general idea of most of the major topics in my development world, but I've focused my studying on smaller areas and going deeper.  No guilt, no stress, and better learning.

For 2008:

1. Get more active in the developer community

I see this as an extension of my open source lesson from 2007.  I can only see advantages of getting more active, learning to know new people, sharing ideas, and working together.  I guess we'll see how I do this, but I think it will be a combination of live events, participation on community sites, and blogging.  I'm already registered for the January Philly Code Camp and Mix 08.  If you're going to either of these, introduce yourself.

2. Prioritize my time better

This will be a daily challenge for me.  I think I made some good strides in this area in the past year, but I want more.  I know my priorities in life.  However, it is easy to get off track and waste time on something that I really don't need, care about, or even enjoy.  I've already started to plan better over the past few weeks and hope to continue to do so.  I need to come up with better ways to take advantage of small pockets of time that I come across as well.

3. Reach outside

Sometimes you just need to add something different in the mix to see how it works.  I've started to read a few blogs that our outside of the development areas I work in.  I hope to find a few more gems over the coming year.  I don't want to study these things in depth, but just get a little insight into what others are learning, enjoying, and interested in.