Choices

It’s definitely been an *interesting* two weeks.  Where to begin?  This all revolves around the company that I work for.  Last week one little change happened.  That snowballed into a couple of more drastic changes before Friday.  On Monday, the snowball turned into an avalanche, and by Tuesday the avalanche had buried me. 
 
Ultimately, here’s the end result of all the changes… In my current job, software development will be scaled back.  No, I’m not losing my job, it is just that the focus has changed from coding, to implementing solutions.
 
I have to say, I agree with the change.  Most companies do not need custom software.  It’s expensive and resource draining.  Internal software development is a money pit that is hard to dig out of.  Prebuilt solutions added to some data transformation services can really do wonders for interoperability.
 
Now, what does this mean for *me*?
 
The long and short of it is that within a short period of time, I will not be doing much coding.  I have spent almost 23 years of my life writing code, managing code, eating code, drinking code, etc…  I *like* to code.  The reality is that it would take more money for me as a single coder to write an application than it is to buy one off the shelf.  Plus, the business gets more support by buying off the shelf products.
 
So, I have a choice to make.  Stay with the company, start learning on an ‘enterprise’ level how to tie these disparate systems together with Middleware, and learn very specific products.  Or, start shopping for a shop that wants me to write code.  I don’t know which I’ll choose.  On one hand, I feel it’s time to grow beyond a ‘coder’ or even ‘developer’.  On the other, I would be tossing out a *lot* of experience and know-how.
 
Fortunately, either one has some good rewards!
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I just saw some monsters!

Of guitar, that is!
 
Wow!  I just got back from seeing Eric Johnson and Joe Satriani.  Unbelievable!  They are two of the best guitar players out there.  Eric started off the night, decent performance, but he definitely was the ‘opener’.  He had some equipment problems, and didn’t really feal ‘on’.  Next up was Joe Satriani.  He was *incredible*!  Every song was awesome.  Fortunately, he didn’t subject the audience to any of his singing this time.  He just played two hours of incredible music.

Hoping the light at the end of the tunnel is not a train again

Finally, some of my plans are bearing fruit!

First off, my apartment complex that is switching to condos decided to allow me to lease the apartment of one more year.  This reduces my stress level by an enormous amount!  By this time next year, I should have 5 – 10% of a house payment put away, and can start looking for a townhouse or house.

Second, I am finally making some headway with my bills.  Last year I started using some financial software to manage my money.  I made a budget, and started trying to live on it.  With only a few hiccups, I’ve been able to do so.  It is *very* hard to decide to live only on your paycheck.  Fortunately, my job has gone well enough to allow me to get ahead.  I certainly hope to continue this trend in the near future!  Plus, I received a surprise today… my credit card interest rates had dropped!  Now, to put even *more* money to the principal to pay them off!

Last, work has taken an *interesting* turn.  We’ve started to experiment with Microsoft SQL Server 2005’s Analysis Services.  Whoa boy!  I’ve been writing WAY too much code.  Much of the data transformation is handled by this nice software… Now to learn Reporting Services!

Microsoft News Day…

Seems like Microsoft has been busy!  First off, SQL Server 2005 Service Pack 1 has been released.  Included with SP1 is a *huge* upgrade to SQL Server Express edition.  Now, people can get Analysis Services and Reporting Services free!  Also the Express Editions of Visual Studio are permanently freeDan Fernandez, the lead product manager for Visual Studio Express, also included wonderful list of tutorials and stuff to check out for developers…
 
Fun stuff!

Right on the money article about a development shop

Ok, so maybe I’m a human newsbot, but this article by Joel Spolsky *really* hit home.  This is a nice wrap up of how to deal with developers.  It has never made sense as to why business hire top notch developers, then be cheap on software, hardware, desks, even chairs.  Also, it never made sense as to why a business would bring in a developer and then have them do things like troubleshoot the network, fix the mail server, or do any other IT or helpdesk request.
 
Now, the collorary of the ‘focused developer’ is that developers tend to *like* to do these things.  If the network seems to be running slow, a developer will dig until they find out why it is slow.  It is very hard to let go of these things, especially when developers are supremely convinced that they can fix it better (and they are right…).
 
Ok, enough rambling, back to work for me!