2011, Where do I go from here?

2011, Where do I go from here?

Rene Rubalcava | January 3, 2011

A little late to the party in terms of getting my resolutions written down, but better late than never. This past year, I have pretty much lived and breathed one Flex enterprise project at work. I am essentially the sole front-end developer/designer/architect/tester/victim of this application. I've learned a lot and I'm grateful for that, but I have also learned that I want to branch out to more than Flex/Actionscript as my specialty. I want to not only be a GIS developer, but I want to be a "Developer". Of course, I have family goals of spending more quality time with wife and kids, having a happy family and a healthy year, but these are my developer growth goals. So here are my goals for 2011.

  1. Enhance my Javascript skills. I know enough Javascript to get some simple things done, but I really want to bring these skills up to par.
  2. Expand my Python skills. Python is a great language to learn for a lot of reasons. For one, it will enhance my skills working with ESRI geoprocessing tools, which is always a plus, but I also want to look at using Python to work with open source mapping solutions. Python seems to be the scripting language of choice in this regard.
  3. Learn Ruby. I have had chance to dabble with Ruby and I love it. This one ties into my next goal, but Ruby is a lot of fun and I think will help me expand on my developer skills as a whole.
  4. Branch out beyond GIS development. GIS development is what I do at work. But I want to expand my skills and start picking up some part-time freelance work that doesn't need to be GIS focused. I'll actually start pursuing work that involves building websites for folks. I'd like to maybe start with a couple of non-profit groups that I can work for free or cheap to build some experience. If someone needs some GIS-centric work done, I'll gladly take it on.
  5. And to tie in to my previous goal, I want to improve my design skills. I'm practicing some PSD to HTML/CSS stuff, so that I can learn to build a site from scratch.
  6. Last but not least, if I have the time, I'm going to go mobile. Android/iPhone dev books are on my Kindle and I plan on using them.

Those are some pretty lofty goals, I know, but I've always been an eager learner. My situation is a little odd. I am not a developer by trade or education. I started doing development out of necessity as a GIS Analyst. I have had no apprenticeship or formal training, but I try to soak up as much as I can from where I can. GIS is my current focus, and I suppose it helps to have a niche, but who likes to be pigeonholed?