As this is the first time setting goals to measure myself against next year, I don’t really have anything tangible to measure against from the start of 2011.
The one thing I have accomplished though is getting a lot more into development. I started out from an early age as a web designer, got around 5 years commercial experience under my belt and then in mid 2010 after starting a fantastic job at Crafty Devil I started to learn more about development, starting with PHP and Codeigniter.
I enjoyed every minute writing code, even though my code wasn’t anything special for the first 3-6months. Slowly I started to realise my passion for design disipating, I was growing rapidly in love with coding. I still have a strong appreciation for great design and tasty looking apps, but my passion has changed, I now can’t wait to grab the laptop and learn something new about programming, systems or performance, gone are the days spent culminating over single pixel adjustments in photoshop and moving grid lines a few micro pixels in illustrator.
I think I possibly should have been a developer all along, I always struggled profusely with artistic creativity and really treated design as a logical process, which is why most of my designs probably lacked that delight factor all these years. Through education my strong points where always math, ICT, business and accounting which makes sense why I enjoy figuring out how things work and taking complex problems and coming up with an efficient solution.
Summing up 2011
The past year has been a very educational one for me, learning new things daily and vastly growing my skills as a developer. I have got a real passion for what I do and always striving to learn more.
It has been a great help to be surrounded by other talented and wise developers both in Crafty Devil and in the local community, to provide help, alternate solutions and share articles, thoughts and ideas. I love this industry!
Without setting realistic goals, next year I’ll have nothing to measure my personal progress against. I have never made any resolutions or long term personal goals before, soon to be 25, I think it’s time I started.
The goals I have for 2012 are reasonably specific, and I’ll explain them in a little more detail below.
- Contribute to open source projects
- Write at least 2 quality blog posts per month
- Launch and validate 2 apps
- Build a native iPhone or Mac app and have it in the app store
- Build either a native android or windows phone app and have it in the marketplace
Contribute to open source projects
In my day to day work I use a ridiculously high amount of open source software, and up until two weeks ago, I have never contributed anything to an open source project. Sure I’ve shared a fair amount of code on Github, but never contributed to a larger scale, more widely used project.
I’ve had this goal in mind for some time, but never measured against it, hopefully this will give me the push I need to make progress.
Last week I finally made my first public pull request on GitHub to a Pagination module for Play Framework. I’m definitely not bragging about this, the only 1 word that changed in the diff was a css class in the view file, but it’s a start, a very small start which gave me a bit of a moral boost getting that first pull request accepted.
Write at least two quality blog posts a month
This goal doesn’t look too hard to accomplish, but the main problem I always struggle with here is quality. I’ll spend an hour writing a draft post and 10minutes later after a rapid spell check, it’s live on my blog. I then have another read and find some phrase of text that barely translates to human readable english, then goes the mad scramble to change it round before one of my few twitter followers visits the page.
To accomplish this goal and write quality posts I know I need to set more time aside for editing, spending an hour writing a draft post is only the start.
I need to fire a few more hours towards making articles coherant. I have always struggled with writing, rushing things out because I don’t enjoy reading over my own work, we’ll see how this goes.
Launch and validate 2 apps
Over the past two years since I have “become” a developer I’ve come up with some class ideas (at least I think so anyway), started building them and for whatever reason, moved onto something else, leaving these projects stagnant.
I need to take an idea from start to finish, finish being a product launched to beta to validate whether it can work and also whether it can make money.
In 2011 I’ve got the closest I ever have to validation, I had a product almost ready for alpha testing, when I decided to ditch the code and rewrite it based off an API. I doubt I made the correct descision as by now I probably could have validated the idea amongst a few hundred target users.
Build a native iPhone or Mac app and have it in the app store
Having looked at Cocoa touch around 4 separate times last year, I still really want to make an iPhone or Mac app that I can launch into the app store. Sure I’ve launched a phone gap and appcelerator titanium iPhone app into the app store through work, though it’s not quite the same as having a native app in there.
In 2011 I built my first native Mac app, it was a very basic monthly compound interest calculator for my father and really a simple primer on using Objective-C.
I didn’t seem to have any problems understanding or writting Objective-C, the main issue I have is hooking the code up to the interface and making the interface do fancy stuff.
Having mainly done web development up to this point and not coming from a Computer Science university background, I’ve never made a desktop app, and I suppose once you get into this way of working, a lot of the knowledge will carry through to other platforms.
Build either a native android or windows phone 7 app and have it in the marketplace
I’m also very keen to look at the other side of the fence and develop either a windows phone or android application, and have something to compare against iOS and possibly consider which type of mobile app development I’d like to specialise in, if any.
I’m not sure which I’ll be attracted to yet, I’m currently using Java and probably going to be using it a lot more with Play Framework, that may help with writing an android app, but I usually don’t go with the easy option, so I may well get to do a bit of C# this year.
Have to credit our Crafty Devil quarterly retreat in which we were asked to think about our goals for the year and spend 5minutes talking about them. There are probably a few extra ones in here than I spoke about at the meeting, but having more time for these to lament in my mind has helped a lot as to what my goals should be.