Metadata: data that provides information about other data    (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/metadata)

That term has always struck me as funny, even as a computer/data scientist.  Data about data.  I get it, you get it, straight forward.

Ever thought of a meta-career?   For instance, I’m a meta-software developer.  (yes, I absolutely made that up to illustrate).  My career has been as a software developer.  I write code of all shapes and sizes: different languages, operating systems, databases and corporate industries.  It really doesn’t matter, as long as I get to solve a problem for myself or someone who pays the bills.   Software can accomplish some pretty amazing things.  When you make a break through, it can be really exciting.  When you do something no one else in the world can do, that’s a heck of an accomplishment.  There have been plenty of amazing experiences for me in my development journey.  An old boss and I were hacking away on a new product, testing some new theories on PCAP data retrieval, and BAM! It worked!   From the ether (-net, ha!), we extracted previously seen network data via a new REST API.  Amazing!

Now, I’m working on something else. I’m always working on improving my technical skills, but now, I am branching out and working on my meta-technical skills.  These are not necessarily development practices, but really figuring out how to teach others and share knowledge I’ve learned.  I’m developing my developing skills.  That kind of sounds meta to me.

There are dozens of very specific areas in the software development practice that I’m working on articles, books and blog posts about.  To name a few:

  • Cloud computing
  • Application and data scaling
  • Data analysis and correlation
  • Software development transformation
  • Modern development practices
  • Devops (defined by me as the practice around taking code from inception to production in an automated way)

These are skills, tools and techniques to make developers better developers.  To make them more effective.  To save you time and resources.

At some point, one can become an expert ‘about’ the career they have chosen.  A developer can always learn new algorithms, languages and technique.  Those new pieces of knowledge continue to cement them as an expert developer.  To become a meta-developer, one needs to expand and become an expert on “being a developer”.  Teach others, learn the process and share what you think makes a good developer.

 

Cross posted at: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/thats-so-meta-incepting-your-career-chris-fauerbach