It dawned on me today as I was talking about my website and projects and such that my "get it done" attitude is great for my personal ambitions and project goals, but it may not be the best plan of action if I'm ever going to show off the stuff I'm writing to prospective employers.
I think I'll have to go back and take a look at the criticisms I received on the code that's out there now and do some re-working to make them a little more "professional" and not 2000 lines of spaghetti code thrown into a JSP page. Throwing in some J2EE best practices wouldn't be bad while I'm studying for my certifications either.
This isn't nearly as fun as just getting the code out there (which I know I haven't done lately) - but one of the reasons I'm trying to produce cool apps is see what opportunities they open up. I lay awake at night worrying about my family's financial future and the only real tools I have to fix that is by increasing my technical output and making contacts along the way. It's not like I can go back in time and become a Lawyer or something, so I need to continue along this technical track as best as I know how. I do feel a little like I'm in the technical-backwaters here in Madrid, but this new job looks like it might fix that. From the conversations I had today, it looks like these guys are really focused on the right technologies and practices, etc. and there might be opportunity for advancement both here in Madrid and abroad. That's what I'm looking for...
You have to think to yourself... are you going to spend the rest of your working days as a code-monkey or are you eventually going to be in the CTO's position. And if so, how and when are you going to get there? I mean, I like being a geek and getting my hands dirty, but there's limits to that... I've played that game for close to a decade now. It's getting time to look for that opportunity to transition to something more maintainable as my family grows and my mind slows. Literally, I can't keep learning new APIs, technologies and programming techniques as I go into my late 30s and 40s... it's just not going to happen. Every year that passes, internalizing new technology takes a little more effort and my mind gets a little more muddy on new concepts. Keeping up with tech and learning Spanish over the past year or so nearly broke me. As whingy as it sounds, there were days my mind just could take any more. I'm seriously slacking on the Spanish part now because I can get by, which opens my time and effort up to all sorts of other tech which is great... but it's not going to last forever. And also, there's going to be a point - and maybe I've reached it already - where more/newer/better technical understanding does not mean financial security.
I probably should have thought of all this back in the late 90s in San Francisco when I was pulling down the big bucks, but oh well. Live and learn. ;-)