End of year recap
It’s that time again. Time to reflect on my themes for the year and see how I did on them. This is an annual tradition of mine to see how I am doing in general. I find it is a useful accountability tool for myself to make sure I am not wasting too much time on unimportant things and am spending the time that I would like on personal development.
Theme 1 -Regular Blog Updates
This theme was an epic failure. I count 21 posts for the year. Less than half of last years posts. I could make a couple of excuses but it all comes down to the major changes in my life in 2016. It started in February with the birth of my 3rd child. The first 3 months of a new baby wipes you out mentally and physically so that already made things a challenge.
After that I made another major life change, I took a new position as a Principal Engineer at a startup company. This was a great change for me and I am really happy to be working on a new exciting project. Back in April I was working on a major architectural project at my previous company and all of a sudden 3 different recruiters hit me up with 3 interesting opportunities. Like most people in software development I see about 3 – 4 job inquiries per week from various recruiters. I would say 95% of these positions sound terrible, so it is pretty easy to dismiss them generally. I was in a very good position in my previous company so it is also easy to be selective about what you are willing to take. So to see 3 really good opportunities at the same time where the work sounds exciting, the companies sound interesting and the pay is very competitive is most unusual for me.
I started down the road with the first company, when the second recruiter contacted me. So I started talking with them and it is at this time I realized that the first company wasn’t going to be a culture fit for me. Their culture would require that I fly to Portland every 6 weeks to meet up with the other development team there and that was just too much travel when I have 3 young children. The morning that I was going to do my onsite interview with the second company a recruiter that I have talked with for about 8 or 9 years dropped the 3rd opportunity into my lap. Another startup position which had me interested. I arrived for my onsite interview at the second company and we spent some time discussing the type of Software Development that I enjoy doing as well as what I would like to do ideally with a software architecture. The interview went great and about 3 hours after I returned home from that interview I was contacted by my recruiter and he said they wanted to move forward with an offer. I was pretty excited by everyone I had met so I didn’t end up moving forward with the 3rd company as I had found what I was looking for.
Theme 2 – Read Lots of Books
As expected this fell off for the year compared to the previous year with all the new changes in my life. But I did really get back into it in the fall here and have read some good stuff. On the religious side I have been working on Last Testament by Pope Benedict XVI, and The Confessions by St Augustine. On the programming side I have been working on Functional Programming in Java by Venkat. I can’t recommend this book enough it is absolutely amazing. In Non Fiction I read Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance. This book is also amazing to understand a part of the country that is often ignored. Anyone who was confused by the election results this year should really read this book as I think it lays out why middle America is so angry. Anyway that is a small selection of what I have read or am reading.
Theme 3 – Work Stuff
My third theme was some work stuff that I wanted to get done. That didn’t happen due to me changing jobs, but at my new company I have a new list of things that I want to get done for 2017.
Theme 4 – Swift
Theme 5 – More work stuff
Again I didn’t hit this theme as I left my previous role before I got to this, but I did do something sort of similar. When I was interviewing for my current role I mentioned that I would like try doing a micro service architecture built around Spring Boot. I felt like this might make for more maintainable code long term. One week into my new job I was tasked with rolling out this architecture and designing and implementing the first micro service. We had 2 sprints to get it done. It took a big push, but we made it and it was a huge success. Later this summer we rolled out the second micro service. The other developers have been very happy with this architecture and it looks great from both a scale-able application standpoint and from a devops standpoint as Spring Boot is built with devops in mind which really makes it easy to roll out new services. We will be beginning our 3rd Spring Boot app starting with the first sprint of 2017.
The other aspect of this theme which is relevant to my new role is there are certain aspects of our legacy app’s architecture that I would like to evolve and improve and I have already begun working on that. I am reworking the persistence layer to more heavily lean on Spring Data JPA and less raw Hibernate. I am also reworking the Controllers to use the latest Spring annotations like GetMapping and PostMapping as well as the way we wire the services with the goals of just making all new development on the older platform faster and more lightweight.
Theme 6 – Open Source Contributions
This was a failure. I did some reporting on issues so I at least tried to work through issues I saw, but with the new baby and new job I was far too short on free time and mental energy to dive into another code base and try to contribute to it.
If we just want to score this on what I hit it looks pretty bad. That being said I am really happy with my year. It has been a great year. As I said in the post laying out the theme, it doesn’t really matter to me whether I do these things what I care about is personal growth. That is part of the reason for themes and not concrete goals. And on the growth concept this has been a fantastic year. The year turned out completely differently than it started out and I am really happy with where I am. Over the next few days I will lay out the themes for 2017 for me.