Perils of a Family-First Software Developer

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I’ve just survived a RIF, my skills and tool set are built around technologies that were modern 10 years ago, my interviewing skills have atrophied, and my aptitude on programming challenge web sites is poor. Oh crap! My career prospects look and feel bleak! :cold_sweat:

How I Got Here

I know I got myself into this situation. I traded a cutting edge career with uncertainty and unknowns for the stability, flexibility, and convenience of my current company. Job hopping and career focus would have kept my skills up-to-date and my job prospects brighter, but I knowingly sacrificed this aspect of my life to the benefit of my family.

Looking back there are things I should have done to mitigate this situation. There are the many side-projects I could have done instead of binging on some random Netflix show. There’s the business acumen I could have obtained if I had focused on building a company or product instead of playing a pointless video game. These aren’t mistakes I’m going to dwell on but things I want to learn from going forward.

Where I Am

I am employed! So I am thankful that God has continued to allow me the opportunity to provide for my family through this job. That being said, my long-term prospects at this company aren’t very good. The messaging around the Bay Area being a place where the company can’t compete for engineering talent points to strategy where it is likely it exits the area completely. My current role is to transfer my product knowledge to a team in Australia and then I will be rolled onto a team based on company need and my interests.

I have also taken some tepid steps to get myself into the job market. I even had a friend who started me through his company’s hiring process. This included a Hacker Rank test which I posted about earlier. To summarize, my current skill set did align well with this test. I also had a phone screen with the advertising team at Amazon, but the position they had was focused on devices.

Finally, the book Developer Hegemony before the RIF, has pushed me in the direction I always knew I should be going and that is away from being an exchangeable “resource” in the cog of a corporation.

The Path Out

I am currently clearing a little space so I have time to breath. At work I am being as helpful as I can to transfer knowledge to the new team and I have offered to travel if necessary. I also purchased Cracking the Coding Interview to better prepare myself for technical interviews. I now need to make myself a schedule for working through the book.

However, my main focus is on building my expertise in serverless development. I am thoroughly convinced that serverless will be dominant in the years to come and I plan to hitch my career to it. To that end, I’m going through Serverless Architectures on AWS and keeping up with all the AWS Lambda news I can find.

Lastly, I’m experimenting with ways to diversify my income streams. This blog is part of that experiment. I want to use it as a way to display my expertise and also to find ways to earn money through it so I purchased and am working through 10 Ways to Make Money from Your Blog. I probably have too many irons in the fire, but right now action, even if it is somewhat disjointed, seems like a better option than wallowing in what-ifs.

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