Food Pic: Hot day at the grill

An intensely hot day but it was worth it to get these ribs grilled.

Find value in “hobby apps”

Burnout is real so how do you balance your work schedule with the need for continuous learning? Technology changes continuously and employers are constantly seeking for someone who can keep up with the next iteration of tools. Unfortunately, you can’t always depend on finding an employer that will put the value on professional development that you should. There are some high-class employers out there that will take it seriously but you need to plan on doing this yourself. For this reason, consider adding “hobby apps” into your life away from work.

What is a hobby app? A hobby app can be any idea that comes to mind, outside of your work, with which you can practice learning new technologies. There doesn’t need to be a revenue opportunity, it doesn’t have to be the next big business tool, and it doesn’t have to be related to the software you develop at work. Additionally, and most importantly, it should not dominate your personal time. You still need your downtime! However, it represents a personal investment into improving your skillset. You can even repurpose the same idea for each language or tool you decide to explore.

  • Is there a programming language that you’ve been looking to learn?
  • Is there a new technology or service you’ve seen released that grabbed your interest?

These are only a couple of the opportunities where you could sit down once or twice a week in your personal time to implement your idea with new tools. With rapid change guaranteed in the field, spending a small amount of time now investing in your skillset is a wise investment into your future.

Listen, love, and lean in.

Until society proves through its actions and words that all lives really do matter there will be people – hurting people – crying out to anyone who will hear them that their lives matter too.

Listen, love, learn, lean in, and lift up those that are hurting.

Soft Skills: Communication

What does it mean to be effective at communication? There is more to communicating than sending a daily status update or explaining a process. To be an effective communicator means applying effort to verbal as well as non-verbal skills and they can be as important as a trade skill. You’ll find that employers and clients will make decisions about you based on how well you communicate – especially if you’re being compared to others in a competitive scenario like an interview. If you’re seeking ways to improve, then start by seriously considering how well you practice the following:

  • understanding body language
  • being able to clearly present ideas
  • understanding how to use visual aides
  • being able to receive constructive feedback
  • writing where body language is not required to understand
  • displaying empathy while attentively listening

Of all the life skills available to us, communication is perhaps the most empowering.

Bret Morrison, actor

Project of the Month: May 2020

This month I’m working on something new but that would be “new” as in “I haven’t worked on it before” because this one has been on my list for quite a while. The audience is home-based daycare providers and it’s an ASP.NET Core + React + Ionic web app. If the current pace holds, I’ll be adding it to my Apps page very soon!

Never Stop Learning

As a software developer, I’ve experienced quite a bit of change throughout my career. While some skills have always been relevant there are those that are in a constant state of change. Innovation brings improvement to processes, security, and performance at a pace that makes complacency a dangerous state of mind. For example, the mobile app development ecosystem has never stopped innovating – especially with smartphones. App development for the iPhone alone has continually changed since it was first introduced.