Goals for 2016

2015 has been a year in which I’ve learned more about myself. This helped me in writing Psychology for programmers, which discusses psychometric assessments and personality types, and is the first of a 3 part series on creativity  published on SimpleProgrammer.com.

I’ve learned that it is almost always a mistake to make decisions that commit a large amount of your time on a whim.

Last year I published my career objectives and new year goals and my main objective at that time was to go from 0 to 1000 points on StackOverflow.

It was a spur of the moment decision. It seemed like a challenging but possible goal, but within a couple of weeks I was already regretting that decision. I don’t spend much time on Stack Overflow at work, and after I get home after work I’ve lost any enthusiasm for it. I was right to think it was possible to achieve, but wrong to think that was what I really wanted to do or that it was the best use of my time.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have huge admiration for developers who give up a lot of their time to help others on Stack Overflow. I am going to keep on using it and will eventually get a credible score.

The last developer survey shows developers with more than 10,000 rep earn about 40% more than those with 1-100 rep.

But we can’t do everything in our careers and it is better to focus on the things that we are most passionate about.

There will always be times when a bad idea seems like a good one. When it involves a lot of your time it’s important to examine your motivations and understand why you want to do it. It’s also worth considering what things might demotivate you, and whether you can mitigate those demotivators.

New year is the most popular time of year to make resolutions. The spur of the moment ones are the ones that are most likely to fail.

I’ve been much thinking about what goal for 2016 I should commit to for a lot longer this year. I thought of the 12 pluralsight learning paths in 12 months challenge in August and have been thinking it over ever since. Is this a bad idea? Could I actually do it? Why would I want to do it? Would I be highly motivated for a month or two and then get bored and tired of it?

I have found it useful to list out my motivations and any possible demotivations:


  • World 1st. Nobody in the world has accomplished this before.
  • Will help me to gain expertise in the areas I am interested in for my career.
  • Can help blog readers by giving study advice.


  • Nobody is paying me to do this. It’s a lot of unpaid work with no guarantee of it ever leading to more money.
  • There’s not going to be very much time left for going out socialising or having fun.
  • Could get monotonous, especially if the course topics lack variety.
  • If I take a long holiday abroad one month, or get sick, finishing the learning path is going to be extra difficult.

I really want this goal to be something that many other ambitious developers find to be interesting. To make it more relevant, I will be doing Twitter polls each month (or every two months if the results are very close between two options) so that you can decide which learning path I study and report on next.

I hope to discover many new things that I can share with you and help you to get more out of Pluralsight. I don’t work for Pluralsight and can give you entirely honest feedback on these learning paths.

Here is the goal:

Finish watching a learning path each and every month in 2016
By the end of 2016 have passed all available assessments for all courses in each learning path
Include at least a couple of 50+ hour learning paths.
Flexibility in which learning paths, but at least one learning path for each of these fields:


Do a blog article each month that is related to the learning path just completed.
Do some practice work related to each learning path.

It’s important to me to remain flexible over what courses I do. I expect that at least one learning path will be one that doesn’t yet exist. There are exceptions, but I’m generally more happy to be doing new courses than learning 3 year old technology because that’s more than a generation in software engineering.

I’ve had many successes and failures this year. The things I’ve failed to get done were the ambitious things that I either started for the wrong reasons, or suspended temporarily in order to accommodate other work and then never got started with again. I am disappointed that my open source project faltered but my 2016 goals mean that will likely need to wait until 2017 before it can be resumed.

I feel that I am gotten slightly better at blogging in 2015, although the amount of traffic I’ve received is less than it was in 2014 (20,908 views in 2015 and 24,392 views in 2014). I actually blogged more articles in 2015 than in 2014. I think the difference is that I put more effort into marketing my blog posts in 2014.

Overall though it has been a great year. A number of projects have been achieved at my employers company, and outside of my day job my personal highlights were:

Reaching 300 Pluralsight courses and posting my Top 10.

Successful developer career strategies featuring Troy Hunt, Kyle Simpson, Julie Lerman, Mark Seemann, Cory House, Scott Allen and Ayende Rahien.

Meeting John Sonmez when he was in London and becoming a monthly blogger on SimpleProgrammer.com.

Doing the Teacher of the Year award, which went to JavaScript author Dr Axel Rauschmayer.

Books to read in 2016:
JavaScript – The Definitive Guide (David Flanagan) (Most of the way through)
Black Swan (Nassim Nicholas Taleb)
The Obstacle is the Way

One thought on “Goals for 2016

  1. Pingback: The Unofficial F Sharp Learning Path | Zombie Code Kill

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