2014 has been a very busy year for me. I’ve spent a lot more time this year learning about technology that I would have never given a second look at previously. I’ve become more adept at learning new technologies, and have turned the corner on “learning a new programming language/technology is hard” to “feed me more”, and have revitalized my desire to make my work awesome.
If I had to give credit somewhere, I’d pin it on Katrina Owen and James Edward Gray II, and, subsequently, Cal Newport and his fantastic book, “So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love”.
Sometime early this year, I was listening to the Ruby Rogues podcast and, during the picks, James selected what he said was a book recommendation from Katrina: “So Good They Can’t Ignore You” by Cal Newport. I figured that, if these two high profile developers that I looked at for wisdom and wit were both saying this was a must read, then it was a must read.
As someone who had been doing development professionally for nearly ten years, I was at a point in my career where I felt like I didn’t quite know where to go, but I knew that I couldn’t stay in the same place any longer. I thought back to how much I used to enjoy programmming; even the excitement that just thinking about writing a system driver gave me.
I had stagnated. I enjoyed programming, but I didn’t love my job the way I had hoped I would.
Having been the lead software engineer where I work at for the last 4 years, it has taken this most recent year to show me what I can do if I will just get uncomfortable and spend time learning and refining myself. Whether that’s new languages, new technologies (or anything else that can have a skill level), deliberate practice has helped me map out what I want to learn and why I want to get great at it.
I know I’m guilty of hawking other books to friends and colleagues, and for good reason, but this is one of those books that, if you are planning to work in the technology industry at all, you need to read this.