The New Year’s holiday is still a good two weeks away as I write this, but due to a strange time travel side effect of living in the publishing world, you won’t actually be reading my words until after that holiday has come and gone. I have to wonder sometimes what Einstein would think about that. Anyway, it’s become a New Year’s tradition for people, usually in the wake of champagne hangovers, to come up with a list of things they’d like to do in the coming year. I haven’t consumed any champagne in about 353 days, so I’m technically not in the correct frame of mind for making my resolutions, but I’d like to share my current list with you anyway.
Don’t be a bigot
It seems to me that it’s increasingly difficult to get into a discussion about the merits of a particular language or platform as compared to another without said discussion rapidly devolving into a mud-slinging contest. Whether we’re discussing .NET and J2EE, Windows and Linux, or Visual Basic and Delphi, it always seems that the discussion at some point turns into a flaming match or religious war.
It’s understandable to evangelize your favorite language, tool, or technology company, much as you root for your favorite sports team, and it’s useful to compare languages and find alternatives. Unfortunately, some characters use such a discussion as an opportunity to beat others over the head with rhetoric and negative statements about what they perceive as the enemy.
I’ve been guilty of this sort of thing, which I call language bigotry, in the past. One of the wonderful things about my job here at Builder.com is that I’ve been exposed to more technologies in the past year than I would have been in five years working as a developer. That’s served to open up the eyes of a confirmed “Microsoft guy” quite a bit to some pretty darn good alternatives. As I wrote in 2001, language bigotry can leave you with an empty toolbox, and I intend to work even harder to avoid it.
Keep an eye out for the next great thing
In keeping with my previous resolution, I’m going to make an extra effort to keep my eyes open for new and interesting things that come down the pipe in the next year. Certainly working in technology means that everyone must do this to a certain extent; otherwise, being left behind becomes a distinct possibility. Of course, I’ll share any neat stuff I discover with all of you, so you’ll win too.
Most people don’t think about finding a new job until they’ve lost their current one. In a world glutted with unemployed developers, that kind of attitude can leave you unemployed for a long time unless you have some way to distinguish yourself from the competition. You might disagree with me, but I see certification as a valuable way to do just that, if for no other reason than you have a pretty little icon to put on your resume. So in the coming year, I plan to pursue two certifications I’ve been eyeing for some time, Java Certified Programmer and Microsoft Certified Application Developer.
Get in better shape
You really can’t make a list of resolutions without including something about getting more exercise. I’m no different. Although I do get plenty of exercise, it's mostly confined to my fingers and wrists as I type and push mice all day. This year, I’ll do something nice for the rest of my body. Maybe then my knees, back, and ankles will love me again. Oh, and I need to quit smoking too. Again.
Do something constructive with my home Linux box
A few months ago, I built a new home computer, freeing up my existing workhorse from gaming duty for something different. I’ve dabbled with Linux repeatedly in the past, so I decided to download the latest Red Hat and break a few Windows. After installing Red Hat and deciding I really didn’t like the latest version, I uninstalled it and downloaded Debian instead, which I really liked once I worked around an X configuration problem. Since then, aside from hosting a few Neverwinter Nights game sessions and occasionally serving as the household file sharing service, my Linux box has done absolutely nothing. I’m going to change that in 2003.
Now it’s your turn
What are your New Year resolutions for 2003? Share them by posting to our discussion below.