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Justin Ludwig: Falling in love with software development... Again!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017 - 6:30pm to 9:00pm


500 Harrison Avenue, Suite 5R
Boston, MA
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Technology has always fascinated me. When my parents brought home their first PC and showed me Netscape Navigator, I wanted to create my own websites. GeoCities kind of quenched my thirst until my parents bought a new computer and gave me their old one. I was hooked. I still mostly used their computer because mine rarely worked after discovering Linux. I loved it. If school wasn't in the picture, I would be happy.

So, I tested out of high school and had to get a job at a warehouse. Ugh... If only I could be doing tech stuff for a living. Then I would be happy. Next I started working as the IT Manager for a small company with a Drupal-based webapp. I still wasn't happy, though, because I was mainly answering technical support emails, dealing with misc. "IT Manager"-ey things, and only doing dev-work about 20% of the time.

Finally I found a job where I would be writing code full time! I could finally be happy, right? Well, no. I wasn't the rockstar developer that I thought I was, so I made up for it by working day and night. My skills improved, but my satisfaction for the work and self-worth still continued to decline. The external factors in my life (work, income, other people's actions, etc) were never the real problem. The problem came down to bad habits and systems of thought that I had developed that turned my life, which looked like my dream life on paper, into something that I dreaded waking up to in the morning.

That's not what this talk is about, though. This talk is about what I did to change that. It took years of hard work, research, experimentation, successes and failures, but I now love both programming and my job again. More importantly, I love my life. It is not perfect. I have indefinite room to grow, and it takes work every day to stay on track. I'm also not a life coach, a psychiatrist, or a motivational speaker. I'm a software nerd. I really wanted to talk about cool new Drupal 8 features, but this particular topic has been more impactful to me personally than all the cool and exciting new features in Drupal 8.

During this talk, we will go over:

- The techniques and practices that had the greatest impact on achieving satisfaction.
- The most important skills needed for succeeding as a software developer.
- Story time: how adding half an hour of walking improved my productivity 50%, while improving my WPM by 50% had no virtually no effect on my productivity.
- The ways that stress can be your best friend or your worst enemy.
- Bonus: the three programming skills that have had the greatest impact on my career. And yes, this ties in with rest of the talk.

Justin Ludwig

I work for BioRAFT as a Development Engineer and am responsible for anything that gets thrown my way. I thrive in areas related to user management including SSO & permissions templates as well as adding some whizz-bang to sites with jQuery. Drupal has been my tool of choice since 2007.