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Lift Your Vision Higher!

Having ridden the storm of the dot-com decline, it's nice to see the worldwide press having a semi-upbeat tone about the tech economy. Java, as a language, rode the crest of the wave; it could do no wrong and Java developers were the geeks among geeks. We now sit and watch the ups and downs of our industry; we watch the continual bickering and arguments that crop up. There are times I actually question why I do any of this coding/consulting thing at all.

Recently I found myself stuck in a rut, doing the commute, doing the job, and going home. I'd died on the inside and didn't know which way to turn. I was enjoying programming but I felt it had no real value. Now I don't really hear developers talk about this sort of thing at all and there seem to be shocked faces when someone leaves an organization, like Bill Joy leaving Sun, for example.

I was faced with some choices. I could stay and continue with my work, stay but change my role, leave and move onto something similar to what I do, or, the real risky alternative, leave and do something completely different. It's easy to dream a dream but it's another thing to step out and do it, so with the support that I needed around me I handed my notice in.

Now I don't advise everyone to do what I did, but there comes a time when you have to look at your desk and ask yourself, "Am I really fulfilling my potential here?" For me the reality was that I was not and it was time to go.

The apostle Paul spent a lot of time encouraging Christians and the Church to go that extra step in their conduct. As Java programmers we have to encourage each other and the groups that we belong to (user groups, blog communities, IRC, and mailing lists). Continually ask yourself how you can improve your skills, programming attitude, and business conduct. Java is a life lesson; how do you think you are getting on?

I got hold of a couple of books, Change Activist and Soultrader by Carmel McConnell, that discuss how to take control of your working and personal lives and do something with them. They were an eye opener and made me realize that I was doing the right thing by moving on.

The next step is to think big. Not just a little bit more than what you already have, but big, way beyond your comfort zone. I'm sure there are people at Sun who walk around dreaming up all sorts of stuff that never sees the light of day. It doesn't stop them; the chance of developing that one thing that might make it is enough for them to carry on.

I am not going to compare Java to Christianity but there are some parallels. We have to stay focused on what is close to our hearts. Nehemiah was constantly disrupted from building the wall in Judah. Even when the laborers were weak, they continued building. Though the dot-com boom ended, the developers kept building.

Christians mature in their work; so do developers. Constant learning, empowering, and encouraging is vital to the growth of the Java language, and the development of the application server and associated tools. We all have our part to play and watching public blog beatings only fills my heart with dismay as I watch the others who are trying to write more tools, and encourage and empower us to create more powerful applications.

I'm really excited about the next wave of applications, sites, and mobile devices and how Java fits in all that. I'm excited about getting out in 2004 and hopefully meeting some folks in the Java world.

As we near 2004, here are a few questions to ponder:
1.  Are you really happy with what you are doing?
2.  If not, what are you going to do to change it?
3.  If not, when are you going to change it?
4.  How are you going to prevent it from happening again?

Regardless of everything you read on forums, Java is a top-class language. It runs fast and does the job wonderfully. Now let's get together as a body of developers who, with one voice, can show the world what this language can really do!

Author Bio
Jason Bell is the senior programmer for a B2B portal. He's also a keen supporter of people reading the API docs before asking questions. In his spare time he's involved with building RSS development tools. [email protected]

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