When I Grow Up ...

(Or an excercise in whining and reflection?)

Last year was nearly a big year for me - for the first time in the near decade since I graduated I almost moved on to start a new position at a new company. While the jury's still out on how horribly misguided the decision to stay was, the whole experience forced me to finally sit down and think about what it is I really want to do when I grow up.

My story is probably not all that different from the many who've written code before me and the many more who'll write it after. It all began simply enough just developing the features handed to me working my way up to designing ever bigger and bigger components until one day you're the guy laying out the path for the whole application. All the while gradually moving up the ladder from developer to dev lead to architect and so on - when one day you look up and realize you haven't written a line of code in months. You start to wonder what happened, and a part of you wonders if you've still got it in you. In the decade that passed it turns out you hadn't really thought much about where you were going and rather just allowed your career to happen to you.

That more or less catches us up to the reality where I now found myself. My own personal salvation began with finding more time away from the office to explore more of the technologies that actively excite me. I started with a weekend(ish) Alexa Skill project which reignited a JavaScript passion introducing me finally to some ES6 sweetness as well as piquing my interest in the burgeoning, buzz-fueled world of serverless applications with Amazon's Lambda. With a new-found appreciation for JavaScript and a longing to do something with mobile apps I dipped my toes in the React Native waters with a few small visualization prototypes. What I discovered was that even in those small little projects my creative spirit was re-invigorated. The act of actively learning new technologies, applying it to a real problem AND FINALLY writing code again reminded me that I'm a coder dammit, and I NEED to write code.

With that surely earth-shattering epiphany on the table, what exactly is in store for me ....


At this point all I really know is that while I continue to figure it out I'll work to optimize for what excites me in my current role, and until such a time that I can claim to be a Professional Learner/Technical Prototyper I'll be:

  • writing more code by:
    • finding opportunities to skip meetings and implement features at work (even though I'm more than a little over the Java Spring enterprise-y scene)
    • setting aside time off the clock to code on technologies that actively excite me
  • continuing to jump into the exploding ecosystem of conversational interfaces with Google Actions and Alexa Skill Kit
  • completing a series of prototypes that accomplish some task of merit to be debated at a later time
  • AND sharing more of the experience (because as it turns out I don't hate that either)