For the last 6-12 months I’ve been toying with an idea.
Unfortunately the idea was not fully formed, and, full disclosure, it is still quite half-baked. However, the implications of just trudging aimlessly forward are too significant to ignore. So, with a half-baked idea in mind, I decided to quit my job and jump head-first into the abyss to see if I can figure it out.
Because as they say: It's better to have tried and failed, than never to have tried at all.
So what is this itch that I so desperately need to scratch?
Well, it has something to do with the skills problem that we’re facing in the technology world. The ratio of people who are able to dream up ideas for products and projects seem to seriously outnumber the people who are capable of actually building/realising those products and projects.
In my ideal dream world, each project I take on would be immediately staffed by a team of highly motivated individuals who also happen to have substantial experience in the precise set of skills that are appropriate for the project at hand. Of course this is not a realistic dream world, and nobody thinks it is (Except, when you speak to sales people who are trying to pitch their technology platform or service)
And if you go to technology conferences (especially the ones targeted at execs and senior managers) the discussions of new buzzwords seem to totally ignore the reality on the ground.
Some years ago I even did a talk at a tech conference about this very phenomenon – I called it the multiverse interpretation of the IT industry, because that seems to describe my personal experiences on the ground: One day, I would be sitting in a boardroom or at a conference where people talk about how the latest and greatest technology advances can be used to solve problems X, Y and Z. But the next morning I might see a code base that is “ready to go into production” without a single unit test.
In the (roughly) 2 years since that talk, much has changed in my world, but the skills shortage has just become more pronounced.
So, I decided to quit my job and pursue (eventually) solving this problem. Of course, the solution is not likely to build the dream world I spoke about earlier, but it should build a world where the expectations of solution development and the realities are at least in the same ballpark, instead of living in different universes.
And worst case scenario: If I am not able to solve the problem, at least I’ll fully understand it. And when it comes to solving problems, understanding is the first step.
Follow my blog (http://devskilldojo.com) and twitter feed (@devskilldojo) for the blow-by-blow on this journey.