Setting goals

In my quest for self-improvement, it's going to be important to have a set of concrete results I'd like to see from my studies. After all, I'm not just learning for the sake of learning; my intention is to go beyond what I already know - and to develop even more useful skills that can serve me both as a hobbyist and as a professional.

To that end, I started my plan by listing certain axioms that I would need to observe in order to be successful:

  • Obviously, I can't learn everything. There's just too much out there.
  • I must resolve to keep a keen eye on the landscape of technology, watching for new developments - keeping current while getting current, so to speak.
  • I truly don't have a lot of time, so decisiveness is important in selecting a direction, or a change of direction.

After a few weeks of personal reflection, here are a few specific goals I've decided on:

  • I want to learn two web-based technologies in-depth, as well as two new programming languages. One of the languages must be from the functional "family." I'll start by surveying a fairly broad array of options, spending short bursts of time with each of them before making my final selections.
  • Blogs and other media will be essential to staying on the forefront of my interests, so I need to identify a small number of sources that I can pick through occasionally for news and discussion.
  • Once I've gone through the preliminaries and chosen my technolgies, my goal is to build something useful with each of them (either separately or in combination). I'd like to reach a point that could be considered proficient by this time next year.

I'm not sure whether these targets are too conservative or too ambitious, but I'll certainly leave them open to change in case I end up overextending myself (or having a lot of free time on my hands). In any case, it's time to finalize my reading list for the next twelve months or so. I'm ready to get started!