I thought I've written exactly the same blog post last year, but I guess I didn't. Maybe I was smart enough not to show this negative feeling.
It's almost the end of year. Every year, I've been thinking the same thing in this season and anxious. That is my skill, in one word. It might also be called my career path, knowledge or experience. I just don't know how I can describe what I'm worrying for.
Since 2004, I've been working as a software developer. There are couple of years of blank periods but most of my career is being Java developer, good or bad. When I started my career, I was just an ordinary newbie who had a bit of programming skill and assigned to the *deadline is already decided* project. Everything was new including somewhat deadline was there but no specification situation, and there were lots of things to learn, like how to capture screen shot and put it into excel sheet... At that moment, struts 1.0 was there and the concept of DI has just come. After 2 years, I quit the first job and became server administrator... sort of.
In year 2009, I've moved to The Netherlands. At that time, I had some blank as a Java developer. So I didn't know when CI is appeared. DI was still there but a bit brushed up. I could use Java annotation instead of writing huge application-context.xml. I still had lots of things to learn, however I just noticed that I was just learning the usage of libraries. If those libraries disappeared in 5 years, then this knowledge is just useless. Luckily, I've met Scheme and started writing own implementation to build some tools I can use on daily routine.
Writing a Scheme implementation gave me lots of challenges. I wasn't a good C programmer, well am still not, though. How function pointer works, how x86 works, how to retrieve stack area information, difference between POSIX and Windows, those were all new for me. I've never read C89 or C99 specification, so I will never be a C expert, but at least now I know where to look at if I need to find something.
If you write an implementation, then you also need to write libraries. Fortunately, or unfortunately, there's not much Scheme code. So I needed to write loads of code. If I see the code written in very first period of my Scheme life, those look ugly. I can't say I understand how Scheme works perfectly and I can write universal beautiful code. All what I know is how to write workable code and at least that works for me. Maybe I can say I also now the basic concept of paradigms which are used in Scheme programming, such as first class object and CPS.
7 years later, I'm still anxious. Maybe I feel like I know nothing essential. I know numbers of libraries and how those works. I know how to implement TLS or other network protocols. But are these essential? I only have vague idea what's essential knowledge is. It should be knowledge that I can use; even if I need to make software with a language I've never used; in the different IT field; after 20 years so on. And maybe I've already known that there's no such thing. And maybe the fact that I knew this reality makes me more anxious.
If I become a high skilled programmer, would this be gone? It might be better not to think about this and just study hard since I know I need to know more.