If there’s one thing we as developers truly know well, it’s change.

Technology changes rapidly. Sometimes, too fast for our own liking.

As career engineers, we can ground ourselves in one stack, one language, one set of tools, and it can be unsettling to peak out the window and see that we might be being left behind.

.NET is our home, but it too is under a massive restructuring and growth phase. It might even seem foreign now, like when you don’t see your nephew during his puberty years and later find him a totally different human being from his familiar and consistent youth.

It’s confusing, and you want to reacquaint yourself, but there’s just so much change that it’s hard to know where to look and where to begin.

I think a good way out of this dilemma is to apply some goal-based structure to yourself and let that guide you, so you don’t feel like you’re being thrashed about on an inner tube in the ocean of change.

I’m currently listening to the audiobook 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey and a recent chapter was on the benefit of creating a personal mission statement and having Roles & Goals.

We play many roles in our life - employee, engineer, husband or wife, mother or father, and by thoughtfully considering where you would like to see yourself in each role, you can find ease among the change if you know you are working towards your vision.

Why concern yourself with the latest Xamarin update if that won’t move you towards your goals?

No more wondering what you should learn next when the path has been cleared.

I’ll share mine so that you can see how you might model yours: My vision as a developer is to be one who is strongly grounded in the fundamentals of software engineering. Someone who writes code carefully and thoughtfully for the eyes of a future developer. I will become a “localized expert” in the technology that my work presently requires, learning exactly what is needed, when it is needed. I will be seen as someone who is open and non-judgmental or temperamental towards criticism of my work. I will be flexible in my skillset, adapting to change quickly and without fuss. I will continue to teach and learn, and find joy in the exchange of value.

Now, by having that vision, I know exactly what I need to do. I’m currently building RESTful APIs at work, and so I can spend some allotted time learning everything that I can in that area so that my work is something I am proud of. I should write and review my code carefully, and I should make sure I am always being kind and thoughtful to my teammates.

I may still find myself unsure, but I can always refer back to my vision and course-correct as needed.

Those are just some thoughts I had recently that I thought i’d share with you.

New Years is coming up, this could be the perfect time to write out specific goals and visions for yourself and refer back to them often. Don’t worry about New Years Resolution pressure. In my experience, just keep reading and modifying them, and over time, you’ll naturally move in that direction.

Let me know in the reddit post comments where you see yourself.