Sunday, January 20, 2008

Purpose... it's that little flame...

... that lights a fire, under your ass.

Lately I have been thinking, as young twenty-somethings are wont to do, about what to make of this crazy little thing called "the rest of your life." What follows is a not-necessarily coherent collection of thoughts that have been rolling around in my head over the past days, weeks, and months.

I see a rather sharp dichotomy between two career paths that have the potential to unfold before me. One path is the management path. This would likely involve staying with my current employer and working my way up through the ranks. This could conceivably be done on my current project but eventually it would be time for a change.

Another path is the developer path. Again, this could also be done by staying with my current employer. However, I have noticed that most of the people that make a career out of development are independent or sub-contractors. Most of them also know a very specialized skill and have been doing it for a very long time.

If I take this second path, I can't really see myself continuing to be a developer that specializes in developing code for the big German software company that I currently am engaged with. I would instead want to be a developer that used more classic, less business-focused languages (C, Java, Python, etc.) to build solutions. I don't see this happening with my current employer.

I feel a flow diagram coming on....

Before I do that though - there is yet a third path would for me to say to HR that I am ready for, in the words of Monty Python, "something completely different." I have been trying to get a sense from other people I work with for the variety of projects that they are on and if there is perhaps another division that would be of interest to me. After all, I chose this job in the first place because I wanted to learn about business and how businesses are run. So option three is to switch fields and do more general management/business projects.

This would almost certainly be a move away from software and software development. However, it would be a good setup for some desirable jobs in the future:
- Project manager at large search engine company that rhymes with Boogle.
- Valuable contributor at a start-up of some (any) kind.
- Position at TechnoServe or similar organizations.

There are a number of personal development projects that seem like they would be a good idea to undertake. Some of them can be seen as direct preparation for some of the above jobs. Among these projects:

- Learn Spanish.
- Start learning Google's APIs. Take their tutorials that they post on YouTube (for free!)
- Learn more languages (Python Challenge: get past level 6...)


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