Well, I didn’t get exactly what I wanted, but welcome to life. I got a no go on the title change. Apparently it isn’t safe being a “developer” here at the moment, and it wasn’t a good idea to place that title on me. I am going to get more development work sent my way, which is really what I wanted in the first place. The goal of the title change was to get people to do this, so maybe that will be a success. It looks like I need to keep a little more of the work I filter in, for myself.
Since I am actually much happier doing Python and Django work, this may not be such a bad thing. As far as I can tell, I’m one of the safer people around here should layoffs start up again. That gives me a good foundation for which to work on my side projects, and launch into that work full time once the economy picks back up.
In other news, the Out of the Darj website is coming along well. I’ve got just a few pages to go and some design work left and we should be ready for the initial release!
Lessons learned: Your enthusiasm doesn’t count as much as the bottom line. Making yourself a niche keeps you safe in tough times and sometimes that’s all you can ask for. I think it’s better to be a little frustrated and safe, than it is to worry about paying the mortgage.
I’ve just found out that my annual review will be next Wednesday. I’ve been looking forward to this. I rarely get the chance to sit down with upper management and discuss my goals, at least in a setting where I feel like anyone may care. I’ve officially requested a re-titling to “Programmer/Business Analyst”. I don’ t believe my current title reflects all of what I do. While it may not actually mean much in the end, it affects the way others view me. I’m hoping to get a mandate to do more coding as part of this title change. This is the most direct I’ve been about this, but after almost a year and a half since I got my certification, it’s getting pretty old. I’m trying to find a way to stand up for myself without making the wrong impression.
Wish me luck, I’ll update Wednesday evening with the results!
That’s a heavy title for this post. I’m referencing an article by Justin James. In the article, the author makes the point that, in today’s world, you can never really become an expert programmer, due to the complexity of the languages and frameworks. He makes a great point. This is one of the reasons why I’ve found it so difficult. It isn’t just a matter of knowing Java, you have to know a laundry list of frameworks to really do anything or get that next job. He says the trick is not knowing everything, but being enough of a generalist that you know where to look. I’m finding this especially true in web development where it takes two to three different languages just to work on the GUI. It’s a good thing we love learning so much…
Lesson learned: You don’t have to be an expert in everything. Get good at a few things and make sure you know where to find the answer for the rest.
I’ll be attending Atlanta Linux Fest this weekend and I’m excited about it. I’ve never been to this large of a technical conference. I believe there are almost 600 people registered so far. I hope to meet some folks from the Southeast and do some networking. There is no such thing as too many contacts. Now just to drag myself out of bed at 4:30am so I can hit the road in time.
I’ve added a section to the Portfolio page to include sys admin scripts I’ve written, and used. I started by adding a quick script that can be run from cron. It will check your external IP against a website and let you know, via email, if it has changed. The local file is ip.txt and should be saved in your home directory if running from cron.
Last night, I discovered some wonderful news. PyCon 2010 will be in Atlanta, Georgia. Here is a a little more info about the event. I will most certainly be there.
I spent much of the start of my holiday weekend learning to deploy Django. I didn’t have much luck deploying to my web host, even though I have a VPS. To avoid messing up any of my other hosted domains, I had decided using FastCGI was the best option. After several hours of trying, it just wasn’t working for me. I’m sure it is something little that I had set wrong, but the frustration led me to setting up an Ubuntu Server virtual machine on one of my computers I don’t use much. I got everything installed and had no trouble setting up Apache to run Django. I’m really glad I did this. I hope to learn a lot more about Apache and Linux security of the new few months, then buy a dedicated box to serve as a web server. For now, the VM is working fine and surprisingly fast. The site is going to be for my local Middle Eastern Percussion ensemble, Out of the Darj.
DjangoCon starts today. I have a local acquaintance who went. Hopefully I can pick his brain when he gets back. Thankfully, they tend to post all of the sessions online, so you can watch them later.
Lesson learned: Sometimes it is better to do things yourself. This is especially true when you are trying to learn and want to understand things from every angle.
I just finished reading the book, The Passionate Programmer, by Chad Fowler. If you read one inspiring career book this year, this book should be the one. It has been a while since I’ve read such a motivational book that doesn’t just repeat the same old stuff.
The book talks about the things that make you a remarkable programmer and will help you build a remarkable career. For instance, the book mentions that many people come to IT because they think it will be a lucrative career, not because they love it. I see this in my day job. I can look around and see people who are only there to collect a pay check and could care less about technology past the door of the office. Do they go home and study to stay up on the latest trends and developments…nope. To really make it successfully in this field, you have to be passionate about what you do. To be passionate, you have to really love it.
At the same time, the Author urges you not to be dogmatic about your choice of technologies. This makes since considering how fast the technologies can change. Ten years ago, dynamic languages were virtually unused and today, thanks to many web frameworks like Django and Ruby on Rails, Python and Ruby have really taken off. Back then, you were cutting edge if you used Java and now that same decision is playing it safe. The Author also mentions that while you should plan your career, that planning should be more Agile rather than following a Waterfall approach. You must be willing to bend with the tides and adapt yourself and your skill set.
- If you want to be great, you have to be passionate about what you are doing.
- Be willing to change you focus. Don’t get so caught up in a particular technology that you don’t see it all changing around you.