The New ABC: Always Be Creating

The New ABC: Always Be Creating

Who’d wake up on a Saturday at 8:30 in the morning to write a post on Medium? Why would anyone, for that matter?

Would you?

I have spent a good chunk of my ten years as a software developer trying to increase my knowledge and skills to reach the next “big thing.” Continuous learning is one of the main challenges of this profession. However, this can sometimes be strenuous. Indeed, we are always at risk of falling into a comfort zone.

Last year, we implemented OKRs at Nearsoft as an organized way of keeping track of our objectives. I found out that this helps me to be more disciplined. It helps me to organize my goals and later to reflect on them.

I have always included objectives and key results that have to do with improving my current skills and gaining new ones. For example,

  • Read weekly mailing lists to keep up-to-date (e.g., Node Weekly, JavaScript weekly, and HTML5 Weekly).
  • Complete the Pluralsight course Node.js for .NET developers.
  • Dedicate at least two hours per week to learning and practicing tools and technologies pertinent to my current project.
  • Read one book: Apprenticeship Patterns.

All the items in this list have something in common: passive learning. Even though the Pluralsight courses include practical exercise I really did not do any exercises and mostly stuck to the reading part.

the-new-abc-always-be-creating-side

Always Be Consuming

When we become software craftsmen, we take on the commitment of Always Be Learning. However, we often make the mistake of absorbing too much information. We take a long time before we “get our rear in gear” to assimilate what we are learning.

We become “infovores,” obsessive-compulsive information consumers. And this not bad. Actually, it puts us a bit ahead of most people who do not read a thing.

Always Be Creating

I came across an article in which the author spoke of this idea of “Always Be Creating,” similar to the “Always Be Closing” mantra in sales.

I believe it can also apply to us as software developers. This not only helps us to learn in a more effective way, but it also allows us to share more, collaborate with our team, and make something tangible that can be useful to others.

The Always Be Creating mantra has been reflected in my OKRs. For example,

  • Do at least six challenging JavaScript code katas in codewars.com, and focus on using ES6 features.
  • Write three posts for Nearsoft Jobs blog.
  • Propose three new exercises for .NET pair programming.
  • Work on a breakable toy and put it on GitHub (USE ES2015, Babel, JSPM/system.js, and other tools).

And This Is Why I Write Blog Posts on Saturdays

This week was not very productive as far as my goal of Always Be Creating is concerned. So, in order to feel good about myself and meet my OKRs I came up with this post.

I want to improve in this regard and a good first step is to have the discipline to create something at least once a week. Even if it means doing it on Saturday.

I hope I have thrown in my two cents’ worth towards someone else’s professional growth and mine as well.

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