Friday, 22 April 2011

Reading Log and Career Path

I started another blog - "Bernard's Reading Log" recently. Then I realised that since I don't post a lot of stuff anyway, and also because much of what I'm reading that I want to post about is related to technology (some more, some less), I may as well have it all in the same place. Makes my posting stats look more impressive in any case... So I imported that blog to this blog. I've got a few more books queued up that I've read (or am reading) recently - hopefully will get them posted soon.

Regarding the other topic in this post's header; my reading history (which can be viewed by searching for the Tag "Book") gives away the story of what's happened with my career in the last year-or-so. In January 2010 our Development Team Leader left the company that I work with to go out on his own. A bold and respectable manoeuvre, which I believe is working out well for him. For me that meant that I was offered his job - which I accepted.

Since taking starting as a DTL, I have found that professionally, things have changed for me significantly.

Managing and leading a team (I more-or-less do both) is a totally different job than programming. I enjoy it, but it's difficult to say why. If you asked me why I enjoy programming, that's pretty easy to answer - I won't go into it, but I think that anyone who enjoys programming will give you roughly the same answer; best description I've read to-date is here[1]. The buzz of management and leadership is more challenging to define. I started trying to write up a description just now but got lost - I'll come back to this in a later post!

Anyway, as part of my transition to this new world, I thought it wise to seek professional help; I took a leadership skills course in mid 2010. It was led by an American lady (I'll remember her name and post it), she told lots of stories about her career, provided tons of valuable advise, etc; it was a generally worthwhile programme. The resounding message that I took away from it though was that although her overriding advise was to read more about leadership and management, regularly, more than 90% of people taking the programme wouldn't change their behaviour. I was determined not to be in that 90% and as such have kicked off a personal reading programme and am blogging my progress for my own reference, and for the benefit/amusement of anyone who may happen upon my blog.

Something else I've read recently, in the "painless functional specifications" section of Joel on Software (the book[2]), is that it's useful to have strong writing skills, in order to help with writing functional specifications and with day-to-day business in general. That makes sense to me. I guess Joel achieves this by writing tons of blog posts and the odd book. I doubt I'll write a book, but I can certainly put the odd blog post together.

So, in summary, my blog has changed tack, somewhat. Still technology oriented, but now leaning toward the leadership and management side of things. Most likely this just means it'll become more wordy. I'll start chucking a few more pictures in for good measure - they may be random (e.g. in this post they are of a trip I took to Hong Kong with my family in 2004). In any case, I hope it's a change for the better, and I hope if you happen upon my scrawlings here, you find them at least amusing!

[1] The Mythical Man-Month, Addison-Wesley, 1975, p.7-9.
[2] "Painless Functional Specifications": http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000036.html

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