I want this time to share a really personal post with you. I am going to give you some insights to experiences I had this year. This will be like a review from my personal perspective of the ended year.

2013

Image originally posted on PresentationMagazine.com

Blog

One of my goals for 2013 was posting on a regular basis. I did not target any number but I wanted to write at least a single post every month. Twelve months later I can say that I nearly managed to reach my goal.

I’ve further read a lot about how to deal with a blog and how to write (hopefully good) articles. I also read a lot of different blogs. I don’t want to list all of them here, maybe they will follow some day.

Furthermore, I tried to upgrade my WordPress blog in a way that it seems to be more unique and visually more attractive. I setup a logo and tried to create a personal brand by using it consistently.

At the beginning of the year I wrote a blog post about a Microsoft certification (Programming in C#) I had passed. It was quite interesting how many people do certifications and what their questions are. I hope that some of you have managed to pass the certification exams. It would be great if my article helped you somehow on your way.

Certifications

I passed 70-483 as stated above in January 2013. This was a great experience and I learnt a lot. Especially in parallelizations like Task Parallel Library (TPL).

Unfortunately, I did not manage to pass the other two exams required to become a Microsoft Certified Solution Developer (MCSD). I cannot say that I actively schedule it for 2014, but it would be really great to do it.

Education

I passed the final exams in my further educational course to become an “ICT-Applikationsentwickler mit eidg. FA“. Although this course covered a lot of content related to software development and especially leadership in software development teams, this was never really what I wanted to study. Furthermore, it was a course only known in Switzerland. Therefore I thought about going to university.

After passing the required entrance test in June this year, I started my studies at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Lucerne, Switzerland. I started my studies this September trying to get a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science in the department of engineering and architecture.

It was a hard decision to start my studies because I already have a job where I work on interesting software products as a software developer. I could just do my day-to-day job and earn some good money. I am pretty sure this would also be a good decision.

But I always wanted to improve my knowledge so that I will be able to choose which job I want to do in future. Because of that, I decided to start my studies even at the age of 23. I study three days a week and work three days a week for my employer. This way I am able to pay my bills and do my studies at the same time. I am very pleased that my employer allows me to study and will support me where possible during the next four years.

What I’ve seen up to now, I can highly recommend getting a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science to anyone deeply interested in software engineering. I am looking forward to the first exams in January 2014.

Pluralsight

I first heard about Pluralsight when at a user group meeting in late 2012. It’s a really nice platform where you can learn something new from industry experts such as video casts. I watched some great courses. In the meantime, Pluralsight has grown exponentially. This means there is a lot more stuff accessible than it was a year ago. This means that at least for me, it is getting harder to find the right point to start.

I highly recommend the following courses which I enjoyed in 2013:

I am sure it depends upon what you’re interested in, but all these courses cover some good content related to and important for all professional software developers. For more detailed information, see my review of the courses I watched during summer 2013.

Twitter

I started using Twitter in November 2012. This was pretty late. I felt like I was too late. Was anyone interested in what I had to say or what I was currently working on? I hadn’t posted much at the beginning and I just followed a hand full of people. This was not really satisfying.

In February 2013, I wrote an article about why a professional software developer should use Twitter?. Since then, nearly a year has passed and I have further improved.

In 2013, I started using Twitter to let people know about me and my blog. I used it to ask book authors questions I was interested in. This was really exciting because I mostly got a response soon after. I never emailed any book author because I thought they wouldn’t even read my mail. But with 140 characters, everything is different.

After using Twitter for nearly an entire year, I highly recommend any software professional to use it at least to follow people in order to stay current and have access to important technical news and knowledge. If you want to learn something new and improve your career chances, I would also recommend you to actively use it to contact people you are interested in.

Do you have any tips or experience about using Twitter as a software engineer? I would love to hear from you in the comments.

Networking

I have been at the TechDays 2013 in Basel, Switzerland and I used to go to some user group meetings this year. It was not too much, but I have learnt a lot.

What I really want to improve is networking. This has to be my goal for 2014. Although I have met some interesting people, I never really contacted them after a meeting.

It feels hard to get in touch with great people in the industry because I don’t know many of them. How can I get access to interesting people? How can I help them that they might recognize me as a software professional? What do I need to learn to become a helpful contact?

Most popular blog posts in 2013

  1. Microsoft 70-483 exam preparation guide
  2. When to use IEnumerable, ICollection, IList and List

That’s everything I have to say in 2013. I am pretty sure that 2014 will also be an awesome year. I wish you all a great 2014.

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Claudio Bernasconi

Claudio Bernasconi is a professional software developer, Microsoft certified technology specialist, blogger, technology enthusiast and founder of CarParking Schweiz. Since 2010 he works for KMS AG in Lucerne, Switzerland.