Tag: prospects

Notes to my younger self – Dark Clouds!

Notes to my younger self – Dark Clouds!

Welcome to part four in my series of what I’d like to tell myself if I had the chance to pop back a few years. In part 3 I’d essentially been forced into looking for another role as I could see the dark clouds surrounding the job I was currently in, funding was obviously an issue. It was not rocket science to know it wasn’t going to be far off that if I didn’t jump I’d be pushed.

Things were looking very gloomy!

Moving forward

What the heck was going on!

  • Left university
  • Non programming job
  • Dev Job – in name only
  • Non programming job
  • Fun programming job, but as stable as a tower made of jelly

Having now been in the world of development for almost 20 years, so it’s easy for me to say there will be something else to come along. At the time it wasn’t so. What can you do? What could I have done better?

You’ll read elsewhere in feel good blogs or twitter snippets that no one needs to extra hours, that a role should never require lots of extra effort and if it does then you should leave. But in reality, this is not true. It would be awesome if it was, but it isn’t. Certainly not in the lower ends of the development market.

In this instance I was fortunate to find another role close by. I had time to look, which took a while but when that opportunity came up I made sure to study for the interview. It was a Java role, I really disliked Java, I didn’t know Java (J2ME is not the same), but somehow I passed the interview and various tests they gave 😎. Then after getting the role, I actually found the role wasn’t really Java! RESULT. It was a new language, and what’s more I actually liked it.

Try different languages, they are not all the same! You may find your niche in an area that you hadn’t seen before.

Few years later, in very similar circumstances, had I learned from the previous lessons? No, actually I hadn’t… 🤦‍♂️Did I see the company in trouble, nope. Should I have? Yes. Was I prepared for what was to come? Actually I was!

What is KEY?

Experience! But what if you do not have any, you need to get yourself some!

Shortly before my 3rd enforced job move I had started up my own blog. I started this up before I knew my job was in trouble. Why did I do this. Was it to get followers, fame, status or fortune? Nope.

I wanted to put up some examples, so that when I got stuck I could look at my own code and help myself and if I discovered something that I had issues finding online then I’d put up the solution for that as well to aid others. I spent a fair amount of time doing this. Actually when I was working, but I didn’t have any work, I’d be experimenting with code. Creating small chunks, cool visualisations. Testing the latest, greatest libraries and blogging about them.

This was KEY to what was about to become my best years as a developer!

After being made redundant, I had to get into the contract market. My blog was such a selling point to anyone wanting to hire me (it’s changed a lot since then, don’t even think most of it will work anymore – written in Flex/Actionscript).

Contracting was a completely different ballgame. But it was great. So always be positive 😃 Even in the adversity of what was happening, I had some of the most wonderful experiences, all because I was made redundant (again) and the only places I could work were many miles away.

Take away

This is what I’d like myself and others to take away. Enjoy your work. Highlight your work. Take time to get your foot on that ladder, and make sure it stays there. In the early years you will need to invest in yourself. If not directly with your employer, you will need to spend those extra hours doing research and finding new items, probably in your own time. This WILL set you up in a good way for when trouble hits – and it does!

So go, have a rummage in your head. What problems do you see around you, what are your hobbies, do your friends, or yourself grumble about structures etc. Look for small areas you could improve something. Maybe someone has already solved it. Does that mean you shouldn’t? No.
Just give it a go, but keep it small and simple or you will never finish.

Give it time, and the sun will come out 🙂


Mentioned last time I’d share my experiences of team cohesiveness and being part of a team as it’s fairly crucial in ways I did not understand in my early years. But this post took a different turn. Watch this space for the next post, and I’ll see if I can cover it then…