It’s been an amazing year of ups and downs. Our family is fortunate that we’ve had many more high’s then lows and sometimes I lose sight of that. The new year is a great time to reflect on the past year and to look forward to the new year. I’ve been forming this post in my mind for a while now. Thinking back to everything our family was able to accomplish. And if you’re interested I’d like to walk you down our journey of 2007.
In January I was working at a place that I didn’t feel comfortable in. It was stressful because I just wasn’t happy with where I was, and where I was going. I was a below average software dev and didn’t know which direction I wanted to go or whether I wanted to seriously take on software as my craft. I eventually decided that I was unhappy because I didn’t feel that my skill sets were up to par and that I really wanted to jump into this exciting world we call .NET development. The world of C and VB6 quickly lost it’s charm and a dispute with a co-worker about use of racial slurs was the end for me. I developed the fire in my belly to get better.
I began the first of 5 courses at SAIT to work towards a C# programming certificate. I started heavily reading blogs, in particular JP’s. I have to say that his passion for development was so contagious that I felt I truly could excel at software development and I was having fun while doing it. As I finished off course textbooks one after another I came across a post by Justice Gray where he planned to read several books in a span of several weeks. I looked up JP’s book list and made it a goal to devour every book on that list. I haven’t finished them all but I have read quite a few of them now.
In February I started work at MediaLogic as a full fledged C# developer. I’m fortunate that they saw potential in me and took me on as a junior to help me grow. The environment here at MediaLogic allowed me to flourish in ways that I never imagined possible. I also started to listen to more and more podcasts at this time. It became a ritual to either listen to pod casts or read books while riding the bus to and from downtown every day.
In April, I attended that Calgary Code Camp. I was looking through my notebook the other day and found a slip of paper that had a schedule for presentations that I wanted to attend at the Calgary Code Camp in April. The slip had presentations by Terry Thibodeau, James Kovacs, Jean-Paul S. Boodhoo, Steven Rockarts, and Donald Belcham. As I read over the slip I realized that at the time I wrote on the piece of paper and at the time I sat through they’re presentations I never thought I would be able to actually get to know some of these people or even be able to fully understand some of the content they delivered. I’ve now had the privilege of shaking hands with many of the above mentioned names and I think (I think…) some of them may even know me by name. In August, I stared at what I thought would be a record low bank balance. I remember feeling quite scared, feeling like I had no control and was quite worried about how I would be able to keep our family a float. I remember a lot of sleepless nights, which I now realized helped me excel even faster. Failure was not an option.
In September, I read a couple of books by Robin Sharma and attended a live presentation by him. I remember thinking that I thought he would be taller. But it seems some of the greatest minds make up in thought for what they lack in height.
I also remember staring that the ThoughtWorks web site for weeks reading through everything that I could, contemplating about whether I was ready or whether I would make the cut. I read about Martin Fowler and about a company who’s values were inline with my own and offered opportunities that I could only dream of. I eventually decided to take the plunge and apply, I figured if I didn’t have what it takes at least I want to find out what I need to focus on.
In October, I spent the month heavily studying towards my first MCTS exam. I travelled up to Edmonton and shook hands and had lunch with the legendary Justice Gray, where he introduced me to several other passionate developers up in the Edmonton community. In November, we celebrated my daughters first birth day. I completed the first exam towards an MCTS designation, I attended the infamous week long Nothin’ But .NET Boot Camp, had my in office interview at ThoughtWorks, began my fifth and final course at SAIT, and caught the very last presentation at the Alberta Tech Festival by Gerard Meszaros. In December, we celebrated a wonderful Christmas filled with family and joy. We hit a new record low bank balance but realized that it might be the last for a while when I received an offer for full time employment at ThoughtWorks. The new year will no doubt be one of the most challenging ones so far. Bring it on 2008!