I don't make New Years resolutions. I've always felt like the changing of a year is a lame excuse to decide to make a change in ones life. When I decide to do something (resolve to, if you will) I just do it. That being said, I've decided that this year, for my own benefit, I wanted to write out a list of things that I want to accomplish professionally in the next year.
This year in particular is one that I feel truly marks my entrance into my professional field. As evidenced by you reading this, I've finally gotten a website up that represents me as a web developer rather than an artist, which is what I spent my four years of college being. I've recently moved into a new job that I'm incredibly happy with where I can flex my brain and work on some really exciting things. I'm ready and poised to start contributing and being an active part of this community that I have become very much addicted to.
The comfort of being in what I feel is a more long-term position takes a big weight off my mind and allows me to turn my sights to something that has been on my mind for quite some time now: helping build and foster the creative and development community here in Burlington. There are a couple of events already, namely Web Analytics Wednesday and Social Media Breakfasts, as well as some yearly events like the Vermont Code Camp, the Tech Jam and the South End Art Hop, that are helping bring various sectors of our creative community together on occasion, but there isn't much in the way of events bringing together all the different professions. Just in the past couple of months a new group has started up called the Native Creative Consortium. The group was founded by several heads of businesses and education leaders in the area, including Michael Jager of JDK and Jeff Rutenbeck of Champlain College. Quoted from their homepage, their mission is “To unify the energy of Vermont's creative community, amplify its potential to create positive change and build awareness of Vermont's creative distinction”. This is truly exciting for our city (and our state). Important people in our creative community banding together to start something like this is EXACTLY what we need right now. I won't say much more for now regarding my own plans, but I am very excited for the next couple of months.
Harnessing our young population
If you're not familiar with Burlington, know this: we have over 20,000 students living and learning in a, relatively speaking, small city. When you include the 20-something population in that figure, we're talking about a veritable force of young minds living in this beautiful city. Although this runs somewhat parallel with what I mention above, another project of mine for 2012 drills down specifically on trying to get the young population connected with one another to create amazing things. Again… more on that when the time is right.
Building the design side
Although I am most certainly a very visually-oriented front-end developer, if I had to place myself in a category of developer versus designer, it would be the former. Many might recommend that I let that be as it is and focus on building my developer repertoire, but that school of thinking has never really appealed much to me. I always have been and will always pride myself on having an uncommonly widespread skill set, even if that means not being an “expert” in any subject. This year I'm going to focus much of my personal time on my design skills, specifically layout, type and lettering. These have always been subjects of great interest to me, but I've never focused any significant amount of time on them, and certainly never received any sort of formal education regarding them.
I will openly admit my desire for some public recognition as I'm planning these things I'm talking about here. Not in an egotistical sort of way, but more in the sense that I want to position myself as somebody who is influential and helpful in my geographic area because community building and bringing people together is something from which I derive great pleasure. Part of that is certainly public speaking. A definite goal for myself will be to do a presentation at next years Vermont Code Camp. On what subject? That remains to be seen…
Bring it, year
I must say… I am more excited for the year ahead than I have been in past several. Excited for what I will build, excited for what the web community will build, and excited for the ways in which I can help bring members of my own geographic community together. So let's do this.
You can read more about the Native Creative Consortium in this Seven Days article.