It’s a new year, so in the tradition of setting a few resolutions, here are a few of my professional goals for 2017:
- More Networking
- More Side Projects
- More Reading
- More Writing
- Take Better Care of Myself
All of those things should be pretty easy, but there is the all important question of “Why?”
I work as a senior full-stack engineer at my full-time job, and also work as (the only) infrastructure engineer for my wife’s businesses (1, 2) both of which keep me fairly busy, but as a professional I’m always curious what other people are working on, and what other stacks are out there. In order to start getting more exposure to other ways people are doing things I’m going to start trying to attend at least one meetup a month just to chat with other developers and engineers. A stretch goal to this would be to find one or more conference (ideally within the Greater Los Angeles area) to attend.
More Side Projects
This one is kind of easy resolution as I’ve already started working on another side project. Historically my issue with side projects is that I’m great at working on something for one or two days, but staying focused on it long-term has been an issue. The goal with this resolution isn’t so much to just start a bunch of projects, it’s to work on actually shipping things. I did ship a couple of (very small) side projects last year (both are .NET centric):
- BlockListChecker – A tool to check if an email address is on any of many ESPs suppression lists.
- NuGetVersionChecker – A tool to generate a (very simplistic) report of packages in a package.config file.
I would like to ship at least 6 projects this year (assuming some mix of very simple to somewhat complex).
I’ve always been a bit of a bookworm, although I’ve gravitated towards fiction. I recently got a Kindle Paper-white and have found it to be very easy to read on (even for technical books). I’ve already started reading “The Pragmatic Programmer”, and while the book itself is a bit dated, I’m finding there to be a lot of great content. At the tail end of last year I also signed up as a volunteer reviewer for Manning Publication Review, and have already reviewed one book (which was a fantastic read, I’m excited for the remainder of the book to be released so I can finish it). I’ve been adding programming books to an Amazon wish list for a few years now, and 2017 will the year I’ll try to get through at least a few of them. To steal an idea from “The Pragmatic Programmer” I’m going to try to get through at least one book per quarter (ideally even quicker than that though).
I’m going to assume that as of the writing of this post I have exactly zero regular readers on this blog. There are probably two major reasons for that: a) I don’t write on a regular basis; and b) I need to become a better writer. The nice thing is that the resolution to both of those issues is the same: write more. Writing is a skill like any other, where the more it is done, the better it will become (getting feedback is helpful in that as well).
Take Better Care of Myself
I think every person has this resolution every year. I spend 60+ hours a week in front a computer between my job, my wife’s businesses, and working on side projects/playing games/etc. I do a few things which help: I ride my bicycle to work most days, and try to either go for a long hike or a long bike ride every weekend. There are a few low hanging fruit and a few habit-changes I can make which will make me healthier and also prevent RSI in my hands/wrists (something I periodically struggle with).
- Stop slouching – proper posture would go light-years to keeping me in good shape.
- Drink more water – as my coworkers can attest I drink way to much coffee (3-5 cups most days), and in the afternoon I like carbonated and heavily caffeinated drinks. To start I am going to start trying to drink one glass of water for every cup of coffee I have in the mornings. For my afternoon drinks I’m going to stop with the energy drinks and start sticking to sugar-free soda (which obviously has less sugar, and also much less caffeine).
- Eat healthier – While I get a fair amount of cardio in every day (bike rides and afternoon walks), most things I’ve read lately show that weight control is really a function of your diet (i.e. working out is great for your heart, but if you want to lose or maintain your current weight, calorie restriction is the only real sure-fire way to do it).
Let’s Make 2017 a Great Year
I’ve never tried publicly blogging my resolution before, let’s see if it makes me a bit more accountable. If nothing else, I’ll be able to point my browser to this page anytime I need a bit of motivation to keep on track with my goals for the year. These are all fairly conservative goals, so I’m optimistic of being to both meet and exceed them, which should put me in a great spot for 2018.