Personal targets and goals for 2015

Posted on Wednesday, 21 Jan 2015

With 2014 now out of the way I always feel like it's a good idea to start 2015 with a blog post outlining my targets and goals for next year ahead.

As a software developer, the main benefit you get from setting yourself yearly goals like this is it forces you to look at your existing strengths and weaknesses (we all have weaknesses, we just need to be honest about them) and areas that you feel can be improved. This means that throughout the year as you work towards improving these areas that are lacking, you're focused on exactly were you need to spend time to improve to ensure that year on year you're going in the right direction and that in 3 years time when you look back at yourself 3 years ago, you'll see that you have improved and haven't stagnated.

I always feel it's important to set yourself only a few goals, 3 or 4 at the most. Setting yourself anything more can start to become unrealistic and can often result in you not spending enough time on each goal, or spreading your time to thin, resulting in no noticeable improvement over the year.

So here are my goals for 2015:

Goal 1: Get dangerous with Javascript

Whilst I've always been comfortable writing JQuery, and to a lesser form Javascript; I've always felt that my knowledge in the area was patchy. I can get by with it, but I feel there is room for improvement.

As I consider myself a polyglot programmer I feel being dangerous with Javascript will be another string to my bow as a software developer for the following reasons:

  • Whether you love or hate Javascript, there's one thing for sure and that is that it's here to stay.
  • Javascript is a great transferable skill to have. You may move from one language to another (say C# to Java, or .NET to Play Framework or Ruby), but providing you're still working on a web stack then your Javascript skill remain.
  • I strongly believe that having strong front end skills is a great way to separate yourself from other developers.

So this year my main goal is to improve really develop my Javascript knowledge and skills.

Goal 2: Contribute to more open source projects

Having always been a great supporter of the open source software movement (not to mention a consumer of open source software too!) this year I'm keen to find some projects to get involved in. I'm also keen to get working on developing and open sourcing some more projects.

Whilst I have contributed to open source projects in the past, I don't feel I've added as much value as I could do. Generally a lot of my contributes have been documentation and UI related issues, which, whilst important - don't give you the added valuable feedback and learning you gain when committing code and having other developers review your code.

As well as contributing to existing open source projects, I'm also keen to start a few of my own. Whilst I do have one or two projects currently on my GitHub account that have users, I'm keen to write some more as I find writing a plugin or a piece of software that other's find useful is a rewarding experience.

(Since writing this post I'm already on my way to acheving this goal which you can read about here).

Goal 3: Increase the frequency of my blog posts

Another of my goals this year is to increase the frequency of my blog posts.

Having only started blogging this year I've found it an incredibly rewarding and valuable experience. It's great getting feedback from other people and writing blog posts about programming topics really does help drill the subject matter into your brain.

When starting out blogging I felt no one would take much interested in some of the subjects I wanted to discuss - especially when you take into consideration the plethora of other great resources/developer blogs online. Yet I've been pleasantly surprised by the attention some of the posts has received. So this year I'm going to try and improve on the frequency of my blog posts.

I'd really like to achieve a blog post a week but whether I can get my thoughts out on paper that quickly is another story.

Bonus Goal: Achieve over 8,000 points on Stack Overflow

Over the past few months I've become quite active on Stack Overflow. I particularly enjoy answering questions relating to StructureMap. At the time of writing I have 2,266 points to my name - with an aim of making it to 8,000 by the end of the year. This, I feel is going to be a challenging figure to reach, but one that is achievable.

I've found that Stack Overflow is another great resource to learn from. Especially when answering questions that you have no solid knowledge of as they force you to research the subject enough to construct a solution to the user's problem.

Conclusion

So, there we have it; my 3 (4 including the bonus) goals to aim for this year. I've tried not to have too many as I don't want to spread my time to thin, and I feel each goal requires enough work to make achieving it a challenge, yet providing me with enough value that by the end of the year I'm a better developer than I am at the start.

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