Back to Dev Work? Yes.

More time coding forces the realization that I’ve missed this. A great deal. And I can’t figure out why that is. Okay, so I can. The problems I have to solve as a project manager are such that they don’t feel like they have any real end point. At the end of the day, I sit back and look at what I’ve accomplished as a PM and come to the conclusion that I can be rendered useless by having a good team around me. Which is, really, the ideal situation. I can also be driven mad by poor resource management from above, too, which is about the worst situation I can imagine. Lately, I’ve longed more for the joy of bashing out code again, and I felt like there’s an opportunity to document the process and the things I’l learn along the way.

The Impetus

There’s been a few drivers of my thinking, just so you can see where I’m coming from.

  1. My recent foray into freelance interactive marketing work. I’ve got a lot of deep experience here, particularly on the ops/strategy/client side, and as I’ve been moving forward on this, I’ve had to be the guy who builds the strategy, then actually implements it, which has turned out to be a great deal of fun. It’s like being the guy who CADs up the parts for a car, the guy who machines the parts, and the guy who test-drives the final product before teaching the new owner how to do it.
  2. It builds on my knowledge base — everything I know helps make me a stronger PM, if I decide to remain one. It also gets me to a point where what sells me as a dev is that I have PM and client experience across a variety of areas, and thus, I am more context-aware than the typical dev.
  3. I’ve had some ideas for sites that I want to build — think of them as low-scale business ventures to help sharpen my teeth for chasing something big.

Past Dev History

So why do I think I can do this? Well, I haven’t always been a project manager. Back in the mid- to late-90’s I taught myself HTML and Photoshop while chasing a degree in Creative Writing (though I initially started as a Comp Sci major). I graduated into the dot-com bubble and spent some time at a small website sweatshop before moving to a Bubble 1.0 dot-com. In the space of those two jobs, I learned CSS, ColdFusion, ASP/VBScript, SQL, and played with Perl enough to know that I hated it.

In the time since Bubble 1.0, I’ve dabbled. I learned PHP4, I played with jQuery a little bit, I tried my hand at Ruby on Rails. Learned how WordPress worked. Kept playing with Photoshop, because memes and web and blogging shit.

About a year ago, I started self-serving on Digital Ocean. And that’s forced me to learn the inanities of web servers, which has been…fun…ish. I’ve learned more about PHP7 as I’ve started to build my own WordPress plugins (and want to learn more). So LAMP stack, where M = MariaDB and P = PHP7. I’ve also started dicking with nginx as a reverse proxy to Apache. It’s…interesting.

Targeted Learning

More or less in-order, here’s the stuff I want to tackle:

  • HTML5, the parts that differ from HTML4
  • SASS
  • CSS Animations/Transforms
  • PHP 7, get eyeball-deep here
  • SVG
  • jQuery
  • JSON
  • node
  • React
  • OAuth and APIs
  • Using Sketch as a design tool

In Conclusion

I’ve got a lot of “to-learns” in front of me, which will be detailed here as I go through things. I’d love it if any of you see any holes in my battle plan. What should I be learning?

Image Credits: Pexels/CC0.

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