Chasing a Dream (Part 1)

I suppose it’s always been kind of a dream of mine to teach software developers (at least since I started writing software back in 1994), spending the rest of my time delving into the technology and tinkering with some of its more esoteric aspects. After all, software development is pretty much a glorified hobby, at least to me. It just so happens I also get paid to do it, but it’s a heck of a lot of fun.

Alien Coder Lands in London
Alien Coder

The problem is, working in the real world tends to make you somewhat lopsided in your grasp of the overall technical landscape. Inevitably, the tasks of the current project are usually focused on one particular side of things, like writing code to access the database from the middle tier, or fleshing out a user interface for the client app. Sometimes you do end up doing the whole kit and caboodle. But more often than not, especially in a team environment, you specialize in one or two aspects of the development lifecycle. That can lead to getting very strong in some areas, but staying rather weak in others.

One solution is so go out and get yourself certified (technically, not psychologically). MCPD (Microsoft Certified Professional Developer) is the most current track. That way, you do get good overall coverage of all the technical nooks and crannies. I got my MCSD back in 1996 (and kept it mostly updated) for this very reason.

While application development is what it’s all about, my personality type is (extremely) extroverted, and holing up in an office or cubicle for months and years on end tends to take its toll on me. I’m fine for a while, but eventually I start to crack. So a possible avenue for my love for technology and my need for interpersonal interaction is a career in training.

Before my entrance into the field of programming, I started out as a software instructor for a firm called ExecuTrain, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. There I taught people how to use programs like Microsoft Windows, Word, Excel and Access, as well as good ‘ol DOS, WordPerfect and dBase. But after half a year, I came to the realization that teaching end users was mostly boring and sometimes downright frustrating. After about 20 times teaching granny to use a mouse, I was on the brink of strangling her with it (just kidding). That’s what prompted me to pursue software development – it would be impossible for me to get bored, because it would be impossible for me to learn everything there was to learn.

Now it looks I’m coming full circle … bringing together by skill and experience as a software developer with my love for people and the joy I take in teaching. So here I am, on the eve of taking the Guerrilla Essential .Net 2.0 course in London. Tomorrow I start the course, which lasts 12 hours a day and is taught by 3-5 DevelopMentor instructors. Hopefully, I’ll have time to write another blog post J.

About Tony Sneed

Married with three children.
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