Making Progress

So I started this blog, and haven’t yet got into a habit of posting regularly, but I’m going to change that.

Of course, any new undertaking takes time. A lot of them fall to the wayside. Everyone has stalled or abandoned projects, or grand plans that never quite get anywhere.

I think the thing to do is: just start.

Yeah, it’s clichéd.

But the next part is also important: keep going.

I’m putting off a Programming Languages assignment to write this, because I’ve been meaning to write something for weeks now, and now that I’ve actually started, I want to keep going.

I know once I finish writing this post, I’ll sit down and evaluate the homework assignment, look at some examples, read through the book and some notes, and start putting something on paper. Once I get that first solution to the first problem started, it just gets easier. As long as I keep going.

I know it gets easier because I’ve done it many times before. I don’t even currently fully understand what I need in order to produce the solutions, but I know once I get started, I already know how to learn what I need to know. Then I’ll put that new learning into action by producing solutions to the problems. Then I’ll be done with my last homework assignment of the year! Just thinking about that is motivating. (Of course, I still have to study for finals, but that’s familiar territory as well.)

So I’m trying to apply this strategy to writing blog posts on a consistent basis. Hopefully weekly, at least.

I have to share a great resource that helped me get this blog started. John Sonmez and his blog Simple Programmer has a ton of helpful advice for people working on a career in software development or IT. Several of his blog posts and videos addressed questions I’ve had, and really helped with giving me some direction in developing myself as a marketable software developer. In particular, I came across his free email course for starting and building a blog right around the same time I finally decided to get this blog back up and running. If you are looking to start or advance your tech career, I highly suggest signing up and more importantly reading the lessons and doing the homework assignments in each email.

I’m signed up a while ago, and am just now getting around to doing some of the assignments myself, but the important thing is that I am actually doing them! I’ve seen a lot advice touting the benefits of writing a blog as a student or aspiring developer. Writing about what you are learning can help yourself learn while teaching others. Posting about how you solved a problem can not only help others, but can serve as documentation next time you have the same problem. Building a reputation as a blogger can further your career goals.

It was John’s simple email course that gave me some clear direction to get it all started. I also really recommend his book, Soft Skills: The software developer’s life manual. I’m still in the middle of reading it, but it was exactly the kind of resource I’ve been wanting to learn more about building a successful career in software development.

While I am thinking about it: another great book that I can recommend, one that I know John likes to recommend as well, is Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles. No matter what industry you are in or kind of career path you are on, this book is really helpful for overcoming resistance and becoming a true professional. It’s worth reading straight through at first, but also is the type of book you can just pick up at any time, open to any page, and get a quick piece of wisdom.

Chris Bryant / April 28, 2015 / career development, education, programming, writing