Monday, January 25, 2016

2016 Resolution Month: Write Better

Writing is an area that I constantly struggle to improve in my career.

Writing is an area where I constantly struggle to improve as I work on my career.

Writing is an area in which I constantly struggle to improve as I work on my career.

Improving my writing is an area where I constantly struggle.

What’s funny, is that I rewrote that sentence above quite a few more times, but this was all I could remember.

Writing is a communication skill. It’s an important one, as most of us regularly communicate with others through the written word. Emails, reports, and more are all written forms of communication.

I sometimes look back at my writing for a decade ago and I’m stunned, embarassed, and sad. In many cases, my ability to communicate was poor. However I take solace in the fact that I have improved in that time.

There are any number of articles providing advice for better writing. Most of them are similar, and boil down to simple things that do improve your skills. As in the one I’ve linked above, practice is key. Writing is a skill like many others, and the more you actively practice, the more you will improve.

I’ll put more posts together on this topic in the future, but for now, make it a point to look over some of these links as you write your next blog, email, or even social networking post. Take a minute to try and change one thing in your writing.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

2016 Resolution Month: Learn Something

I was talking with my brother recently. He’s in the medical field, and he has to devote a certain percentage of his life to continually learning more about his practice. He reads articles and journals, and goes to small events to keep up to speed on what changes with medicine.

Those of us in other fields, especially technology, should treat our careers the same way. We should be looking to learn new things for us, not just for our employer. It’s our responsibility to continue to improve our career skills.

It’s January, we’re almost halfway through the month. Make a resolution to learn something new this month, in the next 16 days. Pick a small topic, an area you’re unsure of, and start working.

For my goal, I’ve been trying to solve puzzles in the Advent of Code, and had a very interesting discovery in using hash tables in PowerShell. It’s not something I’ll use every day, and I might need to look up syntax again, but I did learn this structure exists in the language and how to work with it.

I’ll even get more practice on one of the other puzzles I’ve solved in Python and am re-solving again to learn something new and practice skills.