Keeping Up My Programming Skills As a Non Programming Consultant
Working as development coach instead of as contracting developer has at least one crucial advantage: I can charge a significant better rate since daily rates for "mere programmers".
But there is a reverses side to the same coin: People - my customers - don't pay me for programming any more. I might be allowed to pair with their development staff from time to time to TEACH certain skills like design or OO or TDD or mocking. But the intensive programming experience with (pair) flow, new technologies, LEARNING and everything is out of reach for me during my payed time. So I have to confess that I wrote the last line of real code, ie. code someone payed for to do important business stuff, almost three years ago. Honestly, I'm somewhat ashamed about that since I've always stated - and stated very loudly - that those who don't program any more shouldn't tell others about programming.
For a while a I tried to counter my loss of actual programming practice by doing small OS projects on the side and reworking my workshop exercises to a ridiculous degree. This does not yield the same benefits, though, as programming for and with others. That's why I used an open space session during XP Days Germany 2008 to offer the start of a "development project for bored consultants" and invited fellow retirees to join me for regular (remote) pairing sessions - and real meetings once or twice per year. Of course, it always takes longer to make the first step, but I'm proud to anounce that the kick-off meeting will eventually take place in a few weeks. We are seven people so far which leaves plenty of room for other enthusiasts to join us. Drop me an email if...
- you'd like to spent (at least) one day per month in a project with other agile consultants and you are willing to give this project priority on that day.
- you are not too strongly opposed to start (test-driven) development with Groovy and Grails.
We are planning to do most of the development work in remote pairing sessions. Up to date the participants are spread widely (but not evenly) across Germany, so there might be some chance to meet for programming sessions from time to time. The kick-off will be held on February 20 & 21 in a place not too far from Frankfurt. We'd all be delighted to have a couple of more faces show up.
P.S.: Thanks, Willem, for pointing out the best remedy against writer's block
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