November 26, 2013

3 Things I'm Thankful For As A Developer

Version Control

'Tis the season where those of us here in the States gorge ourselves on pie and potatoes, watch football, and take some time to ponder what we're thankful for. Friends, family, and good health go without saying, so I'd like to take a moment to reflect on the things I'm thankful for as a software developer in 2013.

Tools, Tools, and More Tools

I'm not sure if there's ever been a time in the history of the software development profession that hasn't been exciting, but I feel like 2013 has been particularly spectacular. The growth of the DevOps movement combined with the continued rise of open source development has lead to a bevy of fantastic tools that I couldn't live without today. Mitchell Hashimoto's Vagrant and Packer, great configuration management tools such as Puppet and Salt, and Docker, the Linux container management tool, are all tools that enable us to quickly deliver more reliable software. As a QA guy that is definitely something I am thankful for.

Room For All

My entire career has been here at Perforce and in that time I've worked with dozens of fantastic female engineers. In fact the majority of my bosses have been women and were all directors and VPs. Tucked away in the bubble that is Perforce I did not realize my experience was not the norm, and did not fully appreciate the issues women face in the tech industry. To that end I'm thrilled to see the great work being done by organizations such as the Hackbright Academy and Bay Area Girl Geeks. This year we hired a graduate from Hackbright, Ksenia Burlachenko, who has been stellar addition to the team and great example of the opportunities Hackbright's program is enabling. I'm thankful there are programs out there giving people like Ksenia a chance to shine in the software industry; we all benefit from it.

Twitter, the Global Software Development Chat Room

This year when I was briefing my intern on great software development resources I found myself suggesting something I never had before; Twitter. It's odd to think that a site that encourages people to talk 140 characters at a time could be a great resource, but it provides a fascinating glimpse into the lives and challenges of developers across the world. Gettng to listen in on conversations about the challenges of virtual reality with John Carmack or hear about Tim Caswell's progress on js-git is wonderful. Being able to ask those experts questions and frequently get answers is even better. Salt, Vagrant, and Docker are all tools I discovered because I saw references to them from people I follow on Twitter. It's also helped open my eyes to a lot of the culutural challenges our industry faces. It's easy to think that Twitter is just a distraction, but for me it is a vital link to the software development industry and something that I'm very thankful for.

What are you thankful for in your industry? I'd love to hear your thoughts; you can catch me on Twitter as @p4mataway or G+ as mataway. Cheers and happy Thanksgiving!