Career Objectives and New Year Goals

“Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us” – Pressfield

If you’ve read Why Moving To A New Job Improves Your Skills, you will probably have picked up on the “what do I do next?” feeling.

This is something that I have been thinking over and I’d like to start getting involved with Stack Exchange, especially Stack Overflow. I’ve used Stack Overflow on a very casual basis for a few years and have had a number of excuses for not using it more seriously. For a long time I’ve felt that I probably “should” be contributing to it, but putting it off. Developers with low or no reputation on Stack Overflow, may or may not be very good developers. Earning a high reputation takes a lot of time, and it is unglamorous and unpaid work, so it is not at all surprising that most developers do not do it. But in my experience, developers with high reputations on Stack Overflow are always skilled developers, and I believe that the time they invested is one of the reasons why. I also want to continue doing the Pluralsight courses, reading books and getting involved with local user groups and various online developer networks.

“Right now a still small voice is piping up, telling you as it has ten thousand times, the calling that is yours and yours alone” – Pressfield

February update: I found that I was adding more and more things to do and not giving myself enough freedom to learn new fun things on an as and when basis. This to do list was became as much of a burden as a help to me. Then I decided to rewatch Richard Seroter’s
Productivity Tips
(I had watched it a year ago and forgotten some key points). I think Richard has some really good advice, and I will be using it to help manage my workload more effectively.

BIG GOAL: To be internationally known as a top quality Full Stack Web Application developer and craftsman, by the end of 2017.

To do before 2015:

  1. ☑ Improve on the A-Z of JavaScript page. – 31st Dec Updated!
  2. ☑ Read Professional ASP.NET MVC 4 – Completed 2nd Jan 2015. This is a useful book. Just the security chapter on its own is worth the price of it.
  3. ☑ Learn the basics of Python by following along with Python Fundamentals – I will be needing these skills at work soon but not just yet. 18th Jan complete. I am found this course hard work and a lot less fun than I hoped it would be. Only by the end of the course it introduced basic concepts for professional development: unit testing, debugging, installing 3rd party modules and packaging releases. Still I did learn quite a lot from it that will be a useful primer for more advanced Python courses.
    Update 28th March: I have now watched Scott Allen’s Learning to Program Part 2 course and found it to be a much better introductory course for Python

Don’t let the noise of other people’s opinions drown out your own inner voice – Steve Jobs

To do by end of January 2015

  1. ☑ Pass Querying the Entity Framework course – 10th Jan done
  2. ☑ Complete and pass IDisposable Best Practices course – 9th Jan achieved. I really enjoy Elton Stoneman’s courses because they take a specialist area and go into enough depth to make you feel you really understand it well by the end.
  3. ☑ Complete and pass Application Instumentation Using Log4Net course – July 27th complete (was lower priority)
  4. ☑ Complete and pass Build your own application framework with MVC5 course- 4th Jan completed and scored 100%. This is the best course on ASP.NET MVC in my opinion. However it is not for beginners.
  5. ☑ Review and feedback on the #NoEstimates e-book – completed book 6th Jan, feedback sent and reviewed here
  6. ☐ Increase assessment scores of MVC 4 Fundamentals and Building Applications with MVC4 courses to 100% – Fundamentals still at 90%, Building Apps 100%
  7. ☑ Complete and pass LINQ Data Access course- 31st Jan Done!
  8. ☑ Any of the above goals that I didn’t achieve in 2014

To do by end of February 2015

  1. ☑ Complete and pass Hack Yourself First course (3rd May scored 100%. Long course but well worth watching)
  2. ☐ Any of the above goals that I didn’t achieve in January
  3. ☑ Learn the Shadow DOM, Imports and Native Alternatives – 1st Feb complete

“Being busy is a form of laziness – lazy thinking and indiscriminate action” – Timothy Ferriss

To achieve by end of June (1/2 year objectives)

  1. ☑ Watch 300th Pluralsight course
  2. ☐ Increase average Pluralsight assessment score up to 94% (need to redefine as % no longer shown on website)
  3. ☑ Watch Advanced Techniques in JavaScript by Kevin Murray – complete
  4. ☑ Watch JavaScript Fundamentals for ES6 by Scott Allen and Joe Eames
  5. ☑ Watch Advanced JavaScript by @getify (watched and recommended)
  6. ☑ Watch Node.js for .NET developers
  7. ☑ Learn how to increase web performance with Website Performance by @getify (24th Jan finished – great course) and Web Performance by Robert Boedigheimer (9th Feb completed)
  8. ☐ Sit down for an hour at the computer doing nothing except answering or editing Stack Overflow questions
  9. ☐ Unlock vote down privilege on Stack Overflow (125+ rep)
  10. ☑ Build on the Python Fundamentals with Unit Testing Python and The Python Developer’s Toolkit
  11. ☑ Read first 3 chapters of Blender 3D Noob to Pro
  12. ☑ Watch and follow Digital Tutors Your First Day In Blender
  13. ☑ Produce a list of quality blogs to regularly read and comment on, and start doing that
  14. ☑ Restart the daily exercise programme
  15. ☑ Finish the War of Art Book One – done 16th June
  16. ☑ Unfollow anyone and everyone non-essential on Twitter (down from 2001 to 600)

“The battle must be fought anew every day” – Pressfield

To complete by end of July 2015

  1. ☐ Anything not done by end of June
  2. ☑ Watch and follow Introduction to Modeling in Blender
  3. ☑ Read first 18 chapters of Blender 3D Noob to Pro online book
  4. ☑ Continue regularly blogging and reading blogs
  5. ☑ Prioritise and eliminate all non-essential bookmarked Pluralsight courses until only 10 or less (down from 63)
  6. ☐ Reduce the number of imperfect assessment passes down to less than 100 (from 104)
  7. ☐ Reduce the number of failed assessments down to 5 or less (from 8)
  8. ☑ Keep doing regular exercise
  9. ☑ Finish reading the War of Art
  10. ☑ Finish reading the 4-hour work week
  11. ☑ Watch Responsive Web Design course (Ben Callahan)
  12. ☑ Reach 1,800 Twitter followers (you can follow me here)
  13. ☑ Evaluate Visual Studio 2015

“Many a false step was made by standing still” – Fortune Cookie

To complete by end of August 2015

  1. ☐ Anything not done by end of July
  2. ☐ Read first 89 chapters of Blender 3D Noob to Pro online book
  3. ☑ Keep doing regular exercise
  4. ☐ Reduce bookmarked Pluralsight courses down to 5 or less
  5. ☑ Submit a guest post article to Simple Programmer
  6. ☑ Reach 2,000 Twitter followers (you can follow me here)
  7. ☑ Continue regularly blogging and reading blogs

“What gets measured gets managed ” – Peter Drucker

To complete by end of September 2015

  1. ☐ Anything not done by end of August
  2. ☐ Read first 128 chapters of Blender 3D Noob to Pro online book
  3. ☑ Reach 2,200 Twitter followers (you can follow me here)
  4. ☑ Keep doing regular exercise
  5. ☑ Continue regularly blogging and reading blogs
  6. ☑ Submit a guest post article to Simple Programmer

To complete by end of October 2015

  1. ☐ Anything not done by end of September

Pluralsight goals to achieve by end of 2015:

  1. ☑ Pass 300th course – 3rd October done!
  2. ☐ Increase average assessment score up to 95% – 14th November: 92.9% average pass mark over 311 courses
  3. ☑ Watched 350th course – 28th December 363 watched
  4. ☑ Reduce number of bookmarked courses down to 10 (from 63)

“No one is free who has not obtained the empire of himself” – Pythagoras

Authoring and self practice goals to achieve by end of 2015

  1. ☐ Become an established user on Stack Overflow (1000+ rep)
  2. ☐ Hackerrank – fizz buzz golf ALL the languages!
  3. ☑ Become closer to an expert in JavaScript by doing more AJAX at work and reading Raushmayer and Flanagan
  4. ☐ Complete the A-Z of JavaScript (split out into new categories)
  5. ☑ Rebrand Zombie Code Kill with new header image
  6. ☑ Write a blog post each week for at least 3 months
  7. ☐ Add headshots to Teachers page
  8. ☑ Contact Teacher of the year finalists as per schedule

“Lack of time is actually lack of priorities” – Timothy Ferriss

Social goals

Books to read by end of 2015

  1. ☑ Code Complete book (Steve McConnell)- July 26th complete
  2. ☑ Rapid Development – complete
  3. ☑ Domain Driven Design (Eric Evans) – complete
  4. ☑ Growing Object Oriented Software book – 24th Feb complete
  5. ☑ The Power of Habits (Charles Duhigg) – 31st May complete
  6. ☑ Developer Hegemony
  7. ☑ JavaScript The Good Parts (Douglas Crockford) – April complete
  8. ☐ JavaScript The Definitive Guide – Chapter 8
  9. Exploring ES6 (Dr. Alex Raushmayer)
  10. ☑ Soft Skills (John Sonmez)
  11. ☑ 4 hour work week (Tim Ferriss) – read cover to cover
  12. ☑ The War of Art (Steven Pressfield) – Complete
  13. ☑ How to win friends and influence people (Dale Carnegie) – July Complete
  14. ☑ Motivating People (Robert Heller) – completed 30th June
  15. ☑ Writing for the web (Robert Ashton and Jessica Juby) – 29th July – Complete
  16. ☑ The Filter Bubble (Eli Pariser) – November completed
  17. ☑ The Software Craftsman – 28th December completed

Rough Plans for 2016:

  • 12 learning paths in 12 months
  • Keep writing at least one blog post each week with no exceptions
  • Full makeover for this blog site.
  • Complete side project and release as Open Source
  • Start public speaking
  • Get involved with a podcast
  • You Tube videos
  • Increase average Pluralsight assessment score up to 96% or reduce number of imperfect assessment scores below 50
  • 7,000 Twitter followers

“Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.” – Steven Pressfield

Further Reading
Using Stack Overflow and other Stack Exchange sites course
Will a high reputation in Stack Overflow help to get a good job

Follow me on Twitter

3 thoughts on “Career Objectives and New Year Goals

  1. Pingback: My 2015 Personal Goals

  2. Pingback: Teacher of the Year 2015 Finalist Kate Gregory | Zombie Code Kill

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