Well, I am about 8 years into my career in web development. I have spent most of that time in e-commerce jobs. During this time, I realized that, on one hand, I was pretty good at consulting work, due to my ability to talk with clients, but on the other hand, I did not like the long hours, and the poorly planned projects (usually utilizing a waterfall methodology; not to say it is a bad methodology, but the way all my previous employers implemented it, was bad.)
During my e-commerce jobs, I mostly enjoyed the work, the clients, and the teams I worked with, but I needed a change. I was burnt out!
For the past two years, I have been working on the UI of a computer network visibility product. I moved from waterfall to agile, from consulting (building out a small project/product for a specific client) to product based work (by feature), and from the e-commerce industry to the network security industry. I have enjoyed the change in pace and focus. My current employer is more interested in sustainability, future focus, innovation, employee growth and work/life balance. It is challenging work, but I feel it is more fulfilling for me. I do enjoy my product team, and the ability to continue to think and focus on one product, in one industry, in new, innovative and creative ways.
At the start of my career, I was the web developer on the bottom, just doing the work I was told to do. I have, over these past years, studied leadership and process topics, to try and increase my utility to each employer I have had. I have practiced things like leading a team, convincing others of looking at things in a different light, making tough choices in stressful situations, among other things. I feel like each new job and position bring new situations where I can use and hone these skills.
My current position is allowing me to focus the team on more innovative ways of thinking, mostly in a covert, bottom up way, but with the full support of my management team. I have been supporting others by showing them other ways of thinking and doing, ways that they may not have thought of before. I am involved in hiring and mentoring members of the team as well. I am researching new process improvements to (hopefully) better enable each individual’s contribution to go further, to help our team to continue to give it’s members ownership and autonomy. I am also blazing a trail forward, by creating my own innovation-driven projects, giving others a process to follow. Basically, I am going to “create a path”, as Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
Someone has to do it, why not me? I have felt that my ability to read people has helped me in these tasks, so I feel well suited to them. I enjoy the mentorship, and especially enjoy seeing others grow into their better selves!
I have recently been more active in my local developer community, reaching out to other developers, new and old, to share what I have learned, and to learn from them. There is something about reaching this point in my career, where I realize that I know so little, and the best way to increase what I know is essentially through “crowd-sourcing” my education. There are so many smart and creative developers out there, and I still have so much to learn!
I have come to a point in my career where I:
- Feel like I have some say over what I do for my career
- Need to expand my career in ways that are good for me
- Need to reach out into the broader community online and offline
- Share what I know
- Learn from others
In support of these things, I am going to:
- Create “experiments” on a more regular basis
- Create more fully featured projects, building on these experiments
- Learn read, and practice architecting systems, building software, and improving team processes
- Learn, read, and practice leadership and team building skills
- Contribute to open source projects
- Highlight others’ posts and experiments
- Review books and resources
(I am also in the process of studying data visualization and data science, in support of my projects at work, so you will see some of this also.)
A Call for Support!
I really want to round out my knowledge, and push the boundaries of what I can do. I hope that this will lead me in a more rewarding and fulfilling place in my career. I also want to contribute more fully to the developer community that I am a part of, as well as provide more value to my team at work.
Won’t you help me?
See this space for future “developments”! 🙂