Learning goals for 2022

With 2022 well underway I’ve realised it isn’t too late to set a couple of personal development goals for the remainder of the year.

Last year I was working in the infrastructure team at DrDoctor. Over the course of the year I learnt many valuable things:

  • Bicep (infrastructure as code)
  • Azure DevOps pipelines
  • Azure networking (virtual networks, subnets, how to isolate App Services and keep data private in a cloud first world)

All of these areas of growth were infrastructure related, not terribly surprising given I was in the infra team. This year as new opportunities have emerged I have been moved back into a Dev team, which means new opportunities for growth.

As I was thinking about what personal career development goals I wanted to set for the year ahead I wanted to break them down into different areas.

Areas for growth

I’ve grouped the different things that I want to spend time learning about into different groups. This helps me to get a sense of what the end goal should be having an effect on.

Tools and techniques

Docker / Containers part of the motivation to finally deciding to learn about Docker and Containers is from a career opportunities point of view. A lot of jobs these days expect some experience of Docker. In the past I have dismissed it as unimportant, however as I am slowly exposed to it from others I work with I can see it has potential to be really useful. I don’t want to be stuck in the past.

Azure Container Apps following on from the above point about Containers, they need somewhere to run. I suspect that for the majority of companies spinning up Kubernetes is a mistake and completely unnecessary. But that does leave the question of well where do I run this container then? Azure Container Apps was launched last year and has a lot of potential to solve this question.

Languages and platforms

Typescript in the same vein as Docker, I also want to put some time into learning Typescript. This is mostly focused towards not limiting my future career opportunities. Whilst I’m not the worlds biggest fan of frontend web development, I do still like to dabble from time to time in side projects and other bits here and there. Typescript mixed with Remix looks like a really interesting approach to frontend development.

Cloudflare, and building on the edge. The whole Cloudflare edge platform offering (Workers, KV, Durable Objects) looks really interesting. I’ve dabbled with Cloudflare Workers (another reason for wanting to invest in Typescript) and KV and was impressed by the ease with which it allows you to deploy globally distributed functions with practically no effort. There’s a lot of potential here and it’s another area that I want to keep an eye on for future possibilities.

“Soft” skills

Is there a better phrase for this yet? If there is I don’t know what it is, but I have a couple of related goals that fit under this category. I want to continue to develop as a mentor, and to see those around me grow as engineers. Beyond mentoring I also want to look at other ways that I can help those around me level up and develop. I also have a few other work related bits that I would like to put some time into this year.

Writing, is another areas that I want to continue to grow in. I still remain convinced that it is (one of a few) key differentiators between good and excellent developers. It’s also something that I enjoy doing. There are a couple of obvious spheres in which I can develop this habit:

  • Blogging, the first and most obvious is trying to get into a regular routine of blogging (I’m not sure what the target will be yet, but if I could manage 1-3 times per month then I would be happy with that)
  • ADRs, we use architectural decision records at DrDoctor to document our decision making process, other organisations call these RFCs but it’s basically just a document that we write whenever we want to propose a set of approaches/solutions for solving a particular problem.
  • Project documentation, both technical and non-technical.

I listened to a great episode of The Changlelog which talked about the value of learning in public. So my plan is to document my learning path as I go along.

In a future post I’ll show how I’m using Notion to keep my different learning paths organised, so I can ensure I’m making progress on these goals.

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