Over the weekend I did some brainstorming and decided to do a personal assessment of my skills. Last week I opened myself up for freelance work. This is something I haven’t done in a couple of years. There are some new front-end methods and frameworks that have become popular that I have started to dive more into. My initial thought was I need to compete. Then my inner competitive nature told me that I should strive to be among the best.
When I first brought on my associate developer, he was brand new to this industry and eager to learn. Identifying what we did here, and what we needed, I tossed CodeCademy.com at him. This was a two-fold approach. First, I was completely buried trying to figure out how to do complete two sales channel integrations and a Magento build. Second, their courses are terrific and have practical programming exercises already in place. This would have taken me the better part of a day or two just to get something basic in place.
I’ve decided that if I want to build myself up to the top of the developer heap, I need to take myself back to the beginning. Taking a course or two of languages and frameworks I have worked with will give me one more perspective on where I am and what I need to do to reach a level where I can take on more projects and better provide for my family.
19 months ago, we were blessed with a gift from God. Krista, my daughter, was born 3 1/2 months early, giving us 3 1/2 more months of life with her here on earth. It was a shock, scary, confusing, and completely unexpected. It was one of the greatest experiences of our lives. It was also financially taxing as we lost my wife’s income and added a third person worth of expenses. We lost her 100% coverage medical plan, she worked for a great health system, and replaced it with an 80/20 + $1500 deductible healthcare plan. I’m still fortunate to have a good plan, but it did add more costs.
So here I am in the midst of a financial adjustment in life, and I want more for my wife and daughter. We’re doing ok, but I want to be able to be able to make school decisions easier. Save for her college life quicker. Fix up my house better. Take her places throughout her life. Its time to make a move of working a little more and moving to a better life for them.
Back-end programming is my strongest aspect. I had a job a couple of years ago where I had the chance to work under a very seasoned architect and skills OOP thinker. I learned a lot from him and our Senior Developer. Bring Magento 2 into the picture, and I learned a lot about design patterns and refined those OOP skills within the Magento 1 & 2 frameworks. From this stand-point, I am going to continue growing with PHP and learning a little bit about Java.
Front-end programming is something I’m good at, but I want to be great. I want to feel like I’m the best again. I have jQuery down, but am going to grow my knowledge of Angular, node.js, React and Bootstrap. I want to poor more mobile experience and knowledge into my brain. I want to be able to pump out fancy interfaces that performance well and are fun to use just as efficiently as I can on the back-end.
Personal growth is something that should never stop. Calling yourself a developer and calling yourself a leader in tech are two entirely different things. I want to be among the top 3% in my field and achieve the ability to provide the type of life for my wife and daughter that I desire. Refining my skills and rebuilding certain areas of my brain will get me to these goals.