While my apprentices are embarking on their job searches for their adventures in software development, talking with them has me reflecting on my past roles and what I like about each.
Hatrack

  • Management – I love wearing the manager hat.  While I stumbled into the manager role through a rocky road, I still enjoyed being in a leadership role and collaborating with the other departments from the management role  Whether it is employee relations, crisis management, project management, resource management… I actually enjoy dealing with all of that.  Being in management really put my leadership skills to work and also challenged me to grow a lot.  It also helped me realize that I love leading from the trenches.  I come from a family of servant leaders, so it’s in my blood and nature.
  • Software Development – I started as a hobbyist programmer, writing Visual Basic 3 applications and talking to Access databases – in the middle of my high school education.  Later in high school, I picked up web development skills – Perl, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. I eventually went for my degree that put the theory behind all of it.  All of my internships and co-op experiences in college were programming positions.  I love problem solving and debugging.  What I enjoy most about debugging is wearing that detective hat and trying to solve the issue.  I also enjoy the data architecture, infrastructure, and user experience sides of things.  Actually, I don’t think there’s a part of software development I don’t like.  External factors may be a different issue, but the process of software development from requirements to release – I’m up for an adventure!
  • IT, The Administration Side – Oh, infrastructure!  I think I enjoy these roles because there’s a degree of control involved.  I really enjoyed my courses in college on web server administration and even on network administration.  To this day, I can still build network cables if I have to – some things are just ingrained.  Database administration and web server administration are my favorite IT areas – I am apparently the Apache/IIS Whisperer when it comes to debugging problems with them, and SQL Server seems to whisper to me as well.  Sure, those whispers come from the log files.  Sure, it’s an extension of debugging. But I enjoy those things.
  • Tech Support – Phone support, desktop support… there was the quick gratification of solving a problem and seeing the end user move on happily.  Growing up in a non-technical household, I was already used to doing tech support for the non-techies, so it was a great start for me career-wise.  I have a way of creating pictures and being patient with my end users which makes it easier to get the job done.
  • Team Coaching – Whether it’s bringing Agile methodologies or helping teams understand each other and building team chemistry, I’ve found the team coach role to be a natural fit for me.  This is a role where I have a lot of conversations that lead to answers to solving problems.  It requires a lot of patience dealing with personalities who sometimes just don’t get along.  Sometimes, the team coach also deals with conflict resolution and other difficulties.  It keeps me on my toes.
  • Instructor/Mentor – Having an official title where I get to show people new things and see that lightbulb come on – that is my current happy place.  I love sharing my passion for technology with people who want to be in the classroom and want to learn these things.  Being in education, I need to stay ahead of the curve and up on technology so that I can make suggestions to keeping the program relevant and updated.  Being a programmer who has many programming language paradigms and syntaxes under her belt makes me very versatile and able to translate between languages fairly well.
  • Community Outreach/Publicity – This is purely in the technical realm, related to my work with conferences and the community.  Networking and encouraging others to get involved with the community – I really enjoy being able to help grow community and promote it.  Whether it’s a statewide conference, regional conference, or even local event, if it’s tech-related, it’s something I can almost always promote and spread through a decent channel.  I’m not afraid to hit the search engines to help identify target audiences – attendees, sponsors, speakers, or even service providers.  From something as small as single digits to something with 1500 attendees… and I’m always up for the challenge of more.

My adventure in tech has been a wild ride so far.  I am very thankful that I went into tech early on – this industry in general feels like “home” for me.  I’m looking forward to seeing where else I may go, as the roadmap ahead is wide open.  So many stories so far and hopefully a lot more to come!