After a year of coding, I had come to realise it was time to start again. In my frustration, I was searching for a phrase and I came up with a metaphor.
Coming up with a swear word is easy, yet not quite right or particularly bright or as descriptive as the metaphor I came up with when speaking to my mum. I know she understands gardening and that she has not got a clue about software development and although I was concerned, I had no need to be upsetting anybody least of all my mum.
The metaphor I needed to use to explain why it was I was now about to rewrite my software for the third time was a planting metaphor. As in you know when you take a cutting and plant it in the garden and then you wait to see how it works out and it doesn’t grow quite as tall or doesn’t fruit, well that is what my software is like. It works, it’s just not right, so then I planted it somewhere else, it fared quite well that time and yet was still not right, however from all I have learned, I now know the perfect place to plant that cutting and I am certain it will not just prosper it will thrive.
In reality, we continue to learn, not necessarily from mistakes, sometimes it is a matter of maturity. Although it is obvious I now have a personal handle on why experience counts, especially as concerned with software development.
In truth I have not taken any kind of exam in thirty years, so certifying as a cloud developer was quite a shock to the system. In fact, I was amazed and encouraged I went on to take the System Architect certification and most recently certifying as an Associate AWS Developer. I am now considering professional certification.
You may be wondering why would I bother. Why not do what most people seem to do – outsource it all. Well, I am quite proud of my outsourcing capability. I have outsourced millions of pounds worth of work over the years, but here for my current project, I had a problem. I did not know what I wanted.
I had come to the conclusion that I wanted a software solution that would help people get more business by referral. A great objective, but what did it mean in practice? I have used CRM solutions extensively over the years and planning tools and kanban boards and other project management tools including Project and of course Excel. I am pretty handy with functions, complex maths and pivot tables. Writing software is really the next step.
I was emboldened when I found a statistic by the established, well-respected business research firm: IDC who claimed that 80% of all business was done through people who already know each other and that only 20% of businesses have any kind of system to help them. So I knew I would be onto a good thing. I already owned some books on referral marketing and set about buying more and signing up to anything that looked like it would provide me with insights.
I discovered two things. First that most people ask for referrals when starting out and then stop for some reason and second that all the books have great stories and only a few really talk about the methods.
Coincidentally, a while back, I attended an AWS event (Amazon Web Services) who have this new cloud thing. I was inspired.
This then led me to take an AWS exam, as I thought whichever way you look at it, it would be useful to know what’s available and how these things work. I then decided I could put some of their systems together. With their help, I managed to hack a little bit of code together and decided I liked what I saw.
I could see a project coming together, one where I would need to do a lot of thinking and planning. I needed to pretty much reinvent the wheel to fully understand how referral marketing works and to make it work online.
I had worked on many projects for clients in the past. I was aware of the Rapid Application Development process (RAD) used for software development from the 80s and knew that things had moved on and the topic to focus on was Agile. So I studied and achieved certification as an Agile PM (Project Manager). Mission accomplished I registered the trademark Iterative Innovation. I don’t know why… I just could, so I did.
As a result, I have been asked to train students in a range of topics which in the main has been law, security and most recently AWS too. Do you know what they paid me money too! I have been to Cardiff for an assignment with the Welsh Government, Reading with the Reading Borough Council, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, London of course and even Leamington Spa.
My next assignment is with one of the top three consulting companies in Britain. So I am pretty happy with the unexpected seedlings that have sprung from all this education I have been taking recently. What is more, I have gone from hacker to system architect, where I started to properly string things together to now a full-blown developer where I am now creating serverless solutions. It’s like I now own my own garden centre!
Quite happy I did not outsource this little lot. Although now I do know much more about what I would like to spec out and I realise there is a world shortage for what I do and it would be very expensive to outsource the kind of work I do, if I could find anyone to do it, as according to AWS there is a worldwide shortage in this area and demand for over 500,000 people with the kind of qualifications I have been achieving.
We’ll just have to see if this new found acorn will turn into ye olde oak tree, won’t we?