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Winning the professional development lottery

In the whole time I was in the IT field, there were times when I reflected back on the things I did or the companies I work that made me realize that by working there or doing things that way, really made me a better professional or really open my eyes--making the work I do all the more worth-while. If you'll allow me, I like to ask you guys the same thing: would you please share with everyone on JOS Forum some of the key events or employments that really change your perspective. This isn't about awesome compensation or company movie nights--it IS about who, where, or what action change you for the better. Was it a computer club? Making friends at a bookstore? IRC? Joining a world class software company? Starting your own business? Selling software? Looking at the problem from a lateral perspective? New habits? Lifestyle? Any stories would be very much appreciated!

Li-fan Chen
Wednesday, April 21, 2004

for me it was discovering Joel's writings & this forum (this was before I knew about RSS & aggregators).

Prakash S
Wednesday, April 21, 2004

(1) Books are forever
(2) Availability of a computer for practice. I never have had a system at home, so I used to stay late at my first job. We all were staying late on projects, but after working till 11 PM or so, everyone passed out drinking (it was a small startup) and watching porn movies. That was the best time for me to utilize. I sided myself and practiced. I used to go to cybercafes and save HTML files in floppy disks, bring those disks to the office and then read code samples, articles and stuff, and practice.
(3) Internet
(4) JoS

Sathyaish Chakravarthy
Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Books are forever.... refer also to to get another take on this topic

Ignore my ignorance
Wednesday, April 21, 2004

For me it was convincing my employer a hardware distributor to start selling consultingware. It didn't do them much good but opened a lot of opportunities for me as I moved from being a cost to the business to a revenue generator.

Tony Edgecombe (
Wednesday, April 21, 2004

(1) School: MS at nite
(2) Books really help
(3) Employment: Working at a growing company that is actively learning and doing new things ...

Matt H.
Wednesday, April 21, 2004

The hypnotist keeling over while he was working on me ...

Boy, I am on a highway to burnout depression, speeding, and everyone still seems to be overtaking me at high speed.

Just me (Sir to you)
Wednesday, April 21, 2004

For me oddly enough it was the job I almost got.  A little over a year ago I had a dead end job that was not in development.  I had completely almost completely given up after months and months of looking for work.  I was lucky to have a job but not in what I wanted to do and was ready to give up and accept my fate.  I spent almost every evening preparing at least one directed cover letter and resume.  One night I ran out of places and on a whim applied to Microsoft.  I figured since I was primarily a Java developer and no chance.  Well about a month later I got call from a Microsoft recruiter went through a brutal set of phone interviews.  While I prepared for the grueling interviews I found JOS!  I made all the way for a trip to Redmond.  Ultimately, I didn't get the job.  I handled every challenge they handed me but I got nervous and said some stupid things when I interviewed with the PM (I am still smacking my head, stupid stupid stupid!)  But instead of getting more depressed I was motivated even further.  I knew I had what it takes to run with the “big dogs” even if this time I didn't quite make it.  I eventually landed a position at a awesome company, a private company that gives really treats their employee's well.  I never would have made it to where I am now with out the boost in confidence.  Strange, I owe my greatest success to my greatest failure.

Bill Rushmore
Wednesday, April 21, 2004

For me, it was being on a project that was an utter disaster while at the same time reading Steve McConnel's "Rapid Development".

That was the first time I saw software development as more than just hacking around with bits, but rather as a way to accomplish business objectives.

Mark Hoffman
Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Reluctantly I took a management position leading a small (7) group of developers.  That is where I realized that management isn't "the next step" of a developer's career, but a parallel career track.  The team was dissolved a year later due to new Sr. Management team.  But I learned a lot in that year which allows me to be a better Sr. dev/team lead now.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Getting on an embedded project with some other really good engineers, and them being willing and able to let me learn everything I could from them.

Chris Tavares
Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Sending my first bill and getting a big chunk of cash money in return. This was an eye opener. It made me realize that I had better know what Im talking about. From that moment on I bagan to really pay attention to the code I wrote and how it worked rather than the "fire and forget" style coding I had done before.

Eric Debois
Wednesday, April 21, 2004

1995, Getting laid off from a Unix and Mac job, I heard time and time again from agents "any Novell?". I didn't have Novell on my CV, and went back to the agency that I did occasional van driving for. They called a day later, and asked if I could temp at a place they normally placed warehouse staff, but this role was in IT. PC and Novell support was added to my CV 2 weeks later, and the interviews started to role in. I turned down an easy job to travel twice as far for no more money, but the oppotunities were a lot better.

However the original company could have laid me off a dat after my birthday, not a day before - nice present guys!

Thursday, April 22, 2004

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