So, I’ve been a bit quiet recently. There’s been no blogging and even my twitter activity has dwindled of late so what gives?
Well I quit my old job building software for the legal market and started a new role at Marker Metro, building apps exclusively for the windows eco-system (phone and win 8). During this transition I have been relatively quiet as I wrestle with imposter syndrome and ramp up, therefore I am not blogging or making authoritative statements about the stuff that I am doing. I should however probably be blogging my experiences of learning the new tech and tools. Hmmmm, note to self…
In my previous role I was finding myself in more and more meetings, training people more, fielding questions and generally getting distracted from the reason I do this job, writing code. Don’t get me wrong, I still got to write code and I did enjoy some these other activities to a degree but here’s the thing – you can’t write great code in the 30-45 minute breaks between other activities. You need prolonged periods of focus for that. I was getting increasingly frustrated with what I saw as a lack of productivity in myself.
I’m not going to say much here except that a company culture can wander off course gradually and almost imperceptibly but steering it back can be a mammoth (some say impossible) task.
I learned a heck of a lot from some of the smartest people I have ever met but the subject matter and the slowing rate of change were such that I was finding myself searching for alternative sources of challenges outside of the day-to-day. This is not such a bad thing but if I wasn’t doing that I was unhappy. I needed to be happy just working, anything else is a bonus.
So what to do?
Well, I figured that I’ve been in the same job for 6 years since moving from the other side of the world to New Zealand so I need to find out what opportunities are out there. Rumors had been circulating internally that there were no other good employers in NZ. Pah!
There is a huge problem in our industry, there are far too many developers working in silos being rockstars in their own garages impressing only their mums. Especially in the .Net community. I had a little exposure to the community through speaking at Tech-Ed NZ and user groups so I decided to expand my circle of influence and see what came of it. I went along to meetups, gave a few more talks, started tweeting more, posted a few more blog articles and started participating in open-source.
I met some awesome people like @kiwipom, @kiwidev and @nigelsampson and really started enjoying being a part of the dev community. From that came a DM on twitter and an informal chat before I found my new role. I suppose the lesson here is, get out more ya freaks! And for fucks sake get a github account. What does a potential employer want to know? Can this muppet code? –> github account. Can this code-monkey interact with other reasonable humans without freaking them out, killing them or indecently exposing themselves? –> meetups/the twitters
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an advocate of this “define your personal brand” style of self-promotion. It just seems awfully contrived and disingenuous. Just get out there and start interacting, there are incredibly smart and generous people in this community with a lot to share.
Why this move?
To be honest I wasn’t 100% sold on being a Windows Phone / Windows 8 developer, it is an unproven market and in the case of Windows 8 an immature platform. I have never been a UX kind of guy, I have ashamedly in the past hidden behind that lazy developer’s mantra “I don’t really do UI stuff, you know? I’m more of a back-end kind of guy”. I mean I’d spent the last 6 years building APIs, services, an enterprise workflow system, messaging doo-daddys……so going to an informal chat with Keith and Ben at Marker Metro I wasn’t sure this would be the right move for me. I was curious, but in no way convinced.
But, I left that chat hoping desperately that I would get a follow up. Why? Well here’s the thing – I’ve been inspired by @kellabyte’s mantra “Do Hard Shit!”, this isn’t a recommendation on daily fibre intake but rather a call for people to challenge themselves and pick tasks that they otherwise would not, in the belief that valuable learning will inevitably come of it. There are mountains of things I don’t know about WinRT, Xaml, Mobile development and UX, and here are a bunch of people that know a metric fuckload about things I have no idea about. What’s more, the sheer passion in the way that Keith and Ben spoke about their work and the plans for the company is infectious. Oh, and they have Epic beer on Fridays.
So now I’m head-down soaking up the experiences and knowledge trying to provide value and genuinely enjoying it. Hopefully that means I will be able to share some of that here soon.