Anyone who knows me will assure you I am less than shy, I fail to remember how often I've heard, ‘you're nothing like the stereotypical introvert I imagined’ line. That’s not to say I'm an extrovert, well maybe a little, but I have no problem socializing in and out of computing circles.
Up until now though, I have been all but deliberately invisible online. I have decided to try and change this a little, starting today.
Invisibility is great
I have never sought fame, in fact I can’t think of anything worse, but is my fear of public exposure holding me back? I have always been the cautious type when it comes to putting myself out there, online anyway. The old concerns of my personal privacy, identity fraud and the like are playing back through my head as I type this.
Professionally I have battled through much of the self-serving arrogance that surrounds our industry, especially at university and in the OSS & stack overflow community. I have never felt privileged or knowledgeable enough, and quite frankly life is too short to worry about people who wish to put you down.
Another much more personal one is that
My spelling and grammar is far from perfect
and like any conscious person I don’t like looking daft/stupid. So let me get this out there now, as much as I hate the grammar and spelling police it would be great to hear about any errors you notice in any of my future posts in the comments. No one is perfect and this is an area I am always looking to improve.
For all of these reasons, until today, I have loved being the invisible Scottish lad who codes.
Why change now?
I have no intention of becoming the next Kim Kardashian or even our industry equivalent Scott Hanselman (sorry Scott). Like lots of people in our industry, I got caught up in the ‘take, take take’ culture of both OSS and Open Source Knowledge (stack overflow and others). As I progress in my career I have started to feel a little guilty about that; now is as good a time as any to start giving something back. Since March I have been trying to up my contributions on Stack Overflow and now I am starting this blog to hopefully share some of the experience I have gained in the past decade in this industry.
A mixture of fear and trepidation of my soft and technical skills was holding me back.
Further to all that, last week on holiday I read Troy Hunts First Blog Post from 2009 as well as his 2013 post 'The Ghost who codes', both of which have been a real inspiration to me. Troy's posts also firmly reinforced to me my feeling that complete public invisibility was doing me more harm than good. Late last year I made the leap into IT Contracting / freelancing, while at the same time trying to productise some of my own ideas ‘setting up a company’. As such Troy's articles really resonated… I was the ghost he described. I no longer have that direct line of reference to old managers to vouch for my integrity.
I truly believe that collaboration on anything in this world produces the best results, but I can no longer always enjoy that prescribed feedback loop that is there with full time employment. As a freelance / contract software developer, and budding business founder, I need some other way of getting feedback. Hopefully this is it, and I can gain this feedback from peers across the world by exposing myself (metaphorically of course) a little in this blog.
So whether my articles get 1 reader or 100s, I blog for others to hopefully learn from and, if nothing else, as a proof of my own competence/incompetence (delete as appropriate).
What will I write about?
Well like anything in software, this is always up for change. Currently I am interested in Enterprise Web Dev, Software security, Developer productivity in the Application Lifecycle Management space, cross platform mobile development, the cloud, and everything cross related between them.