Jobs come and go, and the long reaching career is each of our goals. How we handle each job will influence our own growth and professional reputation. It's easy to fall into doing the expected minumum. If you are anything like me, then you will find yourself looking back on our time with a team and question whether your impact was sufficient. I'm currently facing some changes in my job and I feeling reflective. Honestly I'm facing a fleeting situational depression and this is my therapy, so buckle up.
I've been in my current job for five and a half years and it's my first in this career. First project was six months, next four years, and most recent will be ending at exactly one year. I know that I've grown a great deal while working with each team, but in my reflection it dawned on me to consider how much growth I've been able to influence in my teams. If we are to be truly great at what we do then we should strive to become constantly better and to constantly help to make things better.
In my first role, I performed requirement illicitation for a fresh web service build. I was able to guide the questioning of the product owner and see to it that the development team (onsite and offshore) understood the requirements as work moved forward. I didn't get to see this one move into production, but I know that I wrote some utilities that enabled levels of abstraction that were honestly a bit absurd, but accomplished what was requested. I can confidently say that I made sure that this project stayed on course and made it quickly to production with minimal issues. Win!
In my second role, I did a LOT of support and configured our web service to accommodate new adopters as well as old ones needing additional functionality. I was able to assist with data modeling and best practices to help conform adopters to the patterns that best fit our application. I can remember being on 50+ count production support calls with customer facing impact and represtenting my team (while having the shortest tenure of the team) in resolving issues in a timely manner with VP's and directors all watching on. I can confidently say that I did meaningful work to keep the enterprise on track and minimize impact to the bottom line.
In my most recent role I seemed to find my voice as I had understanding on topics that other didn't and I was able to contribute more to the leadership and decision making. In a year's time I managed to make myself a subject matter expert for the new devops work that began not long after I joined, and subsequently never had to become extremely knowledgeable on the 16 actual applications that I was working with. I learned about cloud native springboot applications, Jenkins build pipelines, and groovy scripting of libraries for those pipelines and I was able to write pipeline scripts from scratch within that time. I know that I have created tools that will impact this team and their devops usage for possibly years to come. I continued to find things needing improvement and push for fixing any difficulty that wasn't a massive undertaking, and I feel good about it.
This reflection will surely stick with me as I move forward in my career and drive me to insure that when the time comes to move forward again that I can always see the positive impacts that I've had during my time there. I'd love to hear any thoughts and stories on the topic from your experience.