Developer Level-Up Plan 2020

As I settle into my second year as a software developer, I’m reflecting on how far I’ve come and where I want to take my career in the new year and beyond. At the end of November 2018, I began the full-time remote software engineering immersive at the #1-rated Flatiron School and finished it officially on August 1, 2019. Since then, I’ve been conducting a full-time job search and continuing to develop my skills.

During the program at Flatiron, there were many struggles and moments of questioning whether I was cut out for programming and if I really wanted to do it for a living. Now, however, I am 100% certain that this is the field for me. Coding, and more specifically building software and web applications, have got hooks in me that won’t let go. Most days, I can’t wait to get into my IDE to start developing!

When my energy is very high like this and I’m super-excited about something, I tend to go too hard, too fast. That’s just something I’ve learned about myself. So in 2020, rather than do what I would do if I were listening to my impulses and take on a brand new programming language, I’m endeavoring to go deeper and become even more proficient with the languages and libraries I already have: Ruby, Rails, JavaScript, React, and Redux.

That’s not to say I’m completely shutting myself off to learning anything new. For example, I’m already into learning GraphQL, Node, and Express. I’m also writing tests with RSpec and learning how to write them with Jest. The only truly new thing I might put on my plate is TypeScript because it seems to have traction and be in demand in the job market. Plus, I understand it can play well with React and Redux.

To further develop my skills and elevate my thinking about programming, I plan to read one technical book every month, which is a recommendation from The Pragmatic Programmer. Here is my book list for 2020 (one for every month). I’d love it if you shared in the comments any books you might recommend too because I need one more.

  1. The Pragmatic Programmer
  2. Pro Git
  3. Practical Object-Oriented Design
  4. Clean Code
  5. Growing Object-Oriented Software, Guided by Tests
  6. Continuous Delivery
  7. Algorithms Textbook
  8. Open API book from a guest I heard on the JavaScript Jabber podcast
  9. Continuous Delivery
  10. Domain-Driven Design
  11. The Clean Coder
  12. I need one more!!! What do you have for me??? :-)

Additionally, I’m looking into attending at least two major professional conferences and continuing to network locally and online, deconstructing methods I commonly use so I understand what’s happening under the hood, pair programming as much as possible, publishing to my blog once a week, listening to podcasts and reading newsletter articles, and building my two keystone projects. I’m also persisting with my search for a full-time job. (I have two part-time freelance gigs right now but I really, really want to join a team!).

That’s my Developer Level-Up Plan for 2020. I’d love your feedback, insights, and recommendations. And, if you have your own professional development plan, I’d love it if you’d share it in the comments. Happy New Year!

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