Posts Tagged ‘Career Development’
So as it turns out there are a couple guys that work at my company that are going to school for computer programming. I was helping them with homework a week ago and I suggested we start a weekly code discussion in one of the conference rooms. I even invited my new assistant.
Tonight was the first meeting and it was great. I talked with them about language choices, writing readable code and just general programming practices.
For a long time now I’ve been pretty much a solo programmer — I only got an assistant in the last few months. But lately I’ve really been trying to reach outside that bubble and connect with more developers. I’ve even tried enlisting other people to help me with projects simply because I want to collaborate with more than one developer.
If you aren’t already communicating with other developers then you need to, even if it is only on a virtual level (like Twitter or blogs). However, getting a group of developers in front of a whiteboard for a causal chat is probably a hundred times better.
It probably isn’t that hard to find a few developers near you — They don’t even need to be very experienced. Just gather a group of people and come up with something for them to do…
For example, here are a few of the ideas we came up with…
- Review Code
Each person in the group starts a small, personal project that they work on in their spare time. Each project is reviewed by the group in the next meeting. We can try and help them solve the problems they are having or simply perform an informal code review on their project.
- Team Project
Start a medium sized project that the whole team can work on. Introduce the rest of the team to source control and explain how it works. Assign responsibilities to each team member and discuss, as a team, what role should accomplish.
- Let Everyone Teach
Have each person teach something new they learned that week. It doesn’t even need to be the same language that everyone else is using. Take this as an opportunity to let some of the less experienced members explain what they know.
You can be a great developer without doing something like this but I personally recommend it. The internet makes it easier than ever to contact people that you would have never had the chance to meet — but why not try to meet some of the local developers while you’re at it.
It’s always fun to look back on your career and see where you were and how you got to where you are now. Its also interesting to see the points where your life took the big turns, normally from a single moment or discussion with another person.
I’m not talking about the ‘Big Guys’ like Hanselman or McConnell (order is random ;)). I’m talking about the little moments that happened from parents, bosses or just people we met along the way.
Without these events we might be using different languages, working with different technologies — Heck, we might not even be programmers anymore. It seems to me we ought to thank those people that helped guide us to where we are today – even if it was inadvertently…
My Thank You List
Got me a programming book for our Commadore 64 when I was 6, fixed the computer every time I screwed it up, kept me focused on art and design.
Brought home my first “real” programming language Toolbook from Asymetric – Wasn’t playing with a kid language anymore (…well, I was, but you get what I mean)
The company I worked at didn’t have a software development department when I arrived – Without this guy I wouldn’t have a job (or even had the chance to learn all I’ve learned)
Probably said the most important statement in my professional career – “Classic ASP? I was under the impression that all real software development was done using either .NET or Java!” — or something like that. In any case, that was the kick in the pants I needed to really try and become a professional.
Where do I get the time to blog? Or work on my projects? Or do contract work? Or listen to me sort out a problem when she really just doesn’t care that I think that an implementation of some WebControl is poorly designed? Without my best friend I wouldn’t have ever had the time. (Someone needs to keep the brats away :))
Cheesy But Relevant
Yeah, this is kinda a cheesy, out of the blue, mushy blog post – but take a moment and really think about it. You are where you are because someone helped you make that decisions – even if by accident.
So? Who do you need to go tell ‘Thank You’?
Made another icon real quick today – I didn’t like the existing Reflector icon (since it looked terrible on my dock). I made a quick on to tide me over until I can make a nicer looking one.