Monday, June 27, 2016

New Directions

It has been a long time since I have posted any blog updates, so I wanted to give an update on what is happening in my world.
As I write, it seems like a very long time since I attended IBM Connect 2016 this past January/February.  It was a great conference and I came home from it very optimistic and fired up about the future.  I was nearly 100% sure that I would soon be moving on from my current position as a contract XPages developer at Navy Federal and finding a new position somewhere else as a Notes Domino/XPages developer.  I had several encouraging meetings at the conference and I left sure that one of them would work out for me.
In March, I came very close to being hired for one particular position that would have had me working with some of the best XPages developers in the business.  After a very positive interview, that job fell through due to factors beyond mine and their control.   It's also worth noting that in the last year, I started to notice a decline in the number of XPages job postings.  It seems like a year ago, there were always 5-7 postings out there, sometimes more, sometimes less.  It seems now the only postings are in the DC or New York areas, two places in which I do not wish to move.
While I love the platform and have a long and positive history with Notes, I knew and have known for years that it was only a matter of time before I would need to move on to other technologies. Years ago in the mid 2000’s I immersed myself in Java with the intent of moving in that direction.  I thought that my ideal job would be where I can get in the door as a Notes developer and then transition to Java without taking the big pay cut that would occur if I went the Junior Developer route.  This was my plan, but I kept getting interesting and well-paying Notes developer jobs.  When XPages came out, I immersed myself in learning it, and found that my prior Java studies have paid off greatly in that area.  While I like backend java, I really loved front end work and I think I am a decent UI designer.
In early April, I found myself working as contract developer and working on doing mostly Notes development.  For some reason, Navy Federal has decided not to create any more XPages projects so most of the work would be maintenance projects on existing Notes client applications.  I was not getting serious interest for other jobs developing XPages despite the honor of being an IBM Champion.  Meanwhile my manager, for whom I have a lot of respect, continued to encourage me to apply for a full time Java developer position in which I would still report to him.  After much reflection, discussion, and prayer I did decide that I would move forward and accept a position if it was offered.  
At the end of April I accepted a full time position as an ISD Developer III and will be working on Java and whatever else they ask me to do.  I hope to get to eventually get to work with the front end again, but for now it will be mostly back end.  I still might work occasionally with Notes if they assign me those projects.  It is very unlikely that I will work with XPages again any time soon.
It is not without some sadness that I move on from the Yellow Bubble (Notes Community).  Even though I am moving on, I hope to maintain contact with the friends I have made.  I remain extremely honored to have been named an IBM Champion for 2016. In some ways it feels like going out on top.  I look back to my goal of ten years ago of transitioning to a Java developer internally from Notes, and realize that I have obtained that goal over 10-12 years after making it.
After I accepted the job but prior to my start date, Navy Federal was kind enough to let me take six weeks of leave to catch up on family visits and move the last of my possessions in storage from Utah to Florida.  Despite many miles of driving, we had great visits in Texas, Utah, Missouri, Minnesota, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.  I also got to add 62 miles towards my goal of completing the Appalachian Trail in my lifetime.
So as of today, Monday June 27, I am now a Navy Federal full time employee.  I plan to stay for a while and we will settle here in the Florida panhandle. I have peace about my decision and am excited for the future.  I am also relieved to not have to worry about my future employment for a long time. 
As far as this blog, I hope to continue to blog whenever I find topics that I think will be of interest, and/or topics that I need to make sure I remember for later.

4 comments:

  1. Wish you all the best Steve. It was a pleasure meeting you last LS. I am sure once you are immersed in Java, you will enjoy it as much as domino.
    JT

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  2. Congrats Steve. I am very happy for you and wish you the very best in your new position!!!

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  3. Congrats, Steve. I think a wise decision. Follow your own path. If it feels good, do it.
    BTW Java will be a good strategy to be future proof

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