September 13, 2017 Posted in musings

The Next Step

Today, I start my new job as a freelance teacher and mentor. It took me a while to get there, but I’m excited to finally start this new chapter in my career.

If you’d like to hear the background story, read on. If, instead, you’re more interested in knowing what’s next, here’s what I have in store.


Background Story

Sharing information has always been a passion of mine. In high-school, I remember taking every opportunity to tell my friends the latest facts about one of my favorite subjects.1 Normally, I would get about five minutes before someone would change the subject, and that was OK. But every once in a while, I managed to capture someone’s attention. I could see it in their eyes that they wanted to know more. I remember thinking how that was a precious moment — a rare opportunity to share with someone something I knew very well — and I had to treat that chance with respect or there would be no others.

Teaching

Fast-forward ten years. I’m in a classroom in front of twenty students. I had just accepted an assignment in a continuing education school in Malmö and those twenty people were waiting for me to teach them Linux. It was frightening but I enjoyed every bit of that experience! By the end of the semester, I knew what I wanted to do.

But teaching wasn’t my main occupation. I was a consultant and my time was spent developing software for my clients. Don’t get me wrong — I loved my job and still do. Occasionally, I would be lucky enough to teach an internal course at a client for a few days, which was grand. But those assignments were few and far between. Nevertheless, I loved teaching and the feedback I got motivated me to hold on to it.

Speaking

In 2011, I started doing talks at conferences and user group meetings. In the beginning, I would only speak at local events in the Malmö and Copenhagen area but, soon enough, I expanded to international conferences around Europe. I had found another outlet for doing what I love, which was great, but it still wasn’t part of my day job. My spare time was all I could give it.

tretton37

In 2012, I found a young but ambitious consulting company that valued knowledge sharing as much as I did: tretton37. I joined them and had the privilege to represent those values at numerous conferences and user group events (including twice at their very own and highly praised Leetspeak). I had a great time! But as with all good things, there was a downside: although speaking was part of my job description, it still only accounted for a small portion of my time. That didn’t bother me too much in the beginning but, as time went on, I wished I could do more.

Speaking at a Foo Café meetup in Malmö, March 2013 Me, speaking at a Foo Café meetup in Malmö sponsored by tretton37 in March 2013.

Pluralsight

A couple of years ago, a dear friend of mine offered me the opportunity to start making online courses for Pluralsight as a side gig. This was right up my alley so, naturally, I jumped at the chance! After a few months, I published my first course on one of my favorite subjects: Git. It was a lot of work (and I mean a lot) but I enjoyed it and wanted to do more. Unfortunately, once again, this wasn’t my main job, so I could only work on it in the evenings and weekends.

That’s when reality finally caught up with me.

Standing at a Crossroads

When you’re following your passion, it’s easy to become laser-focused and forget about the other important aspects of life. I have a wife and two young daughters. It has always been my top priority to be there for them, regardless of my current workload; however, in reality, I sometimes failed to live up to that.

Eventually, I realized that pursuing two careers is unsustainable — willingness be damned. I had to make a choice: I could either keep working as a full-time consultant or I could dedicate myself to what I really love: teaching.

Needless to say, I chose the latter.

I am grateful for my time at tretton37 — they’re a talented group of people with a great culture and I wish them all the best for the future. As for myself, I’m going to pursue my dream of helping others improve the way they develop software by teaching and mentoring.


What’s Next

Basically, I’m going to be working on the same things I did before in my spare time, only now they are my day job.

I’ll continue to make courses for Pluralsight.2 I’ll also be doing on-site training with presentations and workshops.

In addition to that, I’ll be offering a new service which combines education with productivity: I call it teaching by doing. You can read more about that in my offering page, if you’re interested.

That’s all for now. If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading. Exciting times are ahead and I can’t wait to get started.

  1. Back then, it would have been either PC hardware, radioactivity, the NBA or all of the above. 😳 

  2. In fact, I have a new course coming out in just a few short weeks, so watch out for that. 😊