Key Tips to Students and Young Achievers

Few months ago, I shared some of my key tips with students at UoK to be successful in their academic and professional life. Now just to be clear I am not truly a professional coach or mentor but I am glad to share essential tips which I have learned with my experience in personal development and career.

#1 – Determination to TRY and ACHIEVE

A lot of individuals fail in the beginning. They are just not determined enough to try and achieve their goal. Your goal would be hard or at least it seems to be hard but trust me it’s doable with the courage to try.

I mentioned this point in the context of learning computer programming for students of computer science who are really afraid to accept that they can do programming and this fear stops bunch of them to try few times.

If you’re not brave enough to take the first step, then you’ll never know how far you can go.*

I would like to share my experience here, I was once an awful programmer at that time I was in high school and even when I took an optional IT course in college. I couldn’t just get it, even though I feel like I have interest in computers and machines overall. Then after I got admission in undergraduate program at University of Karachi, for first several weeks of semester I was trying to grasp what programming was all about however couldn’t really do well in writing programs and logic on my own. Until one day I picked up one of the reference book and just sit down in lab to TRY with strong feeling that I would be able do it and after spending some time I achieved the output. I still remember the output of the program

1234554321

1234    4321

123        321

12            21

1                1

Yeah it’s peanuts today but at that time it was real challenge for me! On that day the confidence that I got gave me the boost to aspire to become a software craftsman.

# 2 – Learn to LEARN

This is truly the key to success. You must get the ability to learn about anything in life. It’s not just about technology, it’s about any field. The world has changed, your learning is not going to stop once you graduate… it would just start in a new way!

In your career, especially in technology, every decade brings a drastic change in the field, at least so far. I have seen a lot of students discussing silly topics like which technology/platform to learn or one is better than other. That’s old school. You need to learn to learn any tool, technology or platform you need to achieve your what you want to do, get the in-depth understanding of how things work, learn the science or practice the art and above all be a craftsman and aspire to achieve mastery.

So invest in learning and development, make it a habit, identify the learning methodology that suits you. Eventually you will gain the confidence that you can do anything by learning about it.

#3 – EXPLORE yourself and DO what you ENJOY!

At times take some out to try out different things, explore what you like doing and settle yourself doing what you enjoy! It can be just side hobby or area with in your field, you decide!

You must not end up spending a big chunk of your day doing what you don’t enjoy!

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*Couldn’t find author name of quote

Year 2013

Yesterday marks the end of year 2013, wasn’t it very fast? As the year ends, its time to post a short note on how the year has been.

Overall I see 2013 as change in professional life. After 4+ years of serving, I left my job and thank Telenor for the good time, then I relocated to Australia to join Nintex Mobile team. So as of now in my daily work life, I am enjoying developing mobile application across all major platforms. And we really do one user story on say Windows RT or Phone and other on iOS, which initially feels like crazy and some big time learning stuff.

Apart from professional life, I was awarded “Most Valuable Professional (MVP)” for the fifth consecutive time by Microsoft. Delivered few talks on web development, participated in Imagine Cup evaluation, traveled to US to attend MVP Summit 2013. Plus I finally manage to migrate my blog from blogger to WordPress hosted on virtual machine on Windows Azure.

Personally, we as family are exploring another city Melbourne, Australia and trying to settle here for a while. We definitely miss our friends and family back in home town but Melbourne is a good place to live in and we have an opportunity to make new friends here.

Last but not least the year end with shocking and sad news as one ex-colleague of mine “Anwer Baig” died suddenly. We used to work together at Telenor. He was really a lively person and used to enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, football etc. Whatever your faith is, please take out few moments to pray for his soul. May he rest in peace and blessed with place in heaven (ameen).

So this was my 2013 and I thank God for his blessings. How was yours?

I wish you, dear reader, a very happy, healthy, prosperous and peaceful 2014.

New Employer, New Country, Another Change

Though 2012 proved to be a year of change for me, I am ready to take another leap of relocating to new country to avail the opportunity to be part of Nintex product development team.

For those of you working on SharePoint server probably know about Nintex, their Nintex workflow is famous third party tool utilized in SharePoint to develop custom workflows easily.

Nintex Banner

Nintex is the world’s leading SharePoint workflow company, with over 5000 customers in 90 countries serviced by a global network of high quality partners and service providers. Nintex delivers innovative software and cloud services that empower organizations to automate business processes, quickly and easily. Read more about Nintex here.

I will be joining their Nintex Mobile team in Melbourne, Australia office.

I believe this would be an interesting move yet challenging since it involves relocation as well. Switching employer and relocating together is really shaking up your life, both personally and professionally. However Nintex is a kind of company I was looking to switch after Telenor, it’s a computer-software product based company, following agile practices, and in touch with latest tools/technology.

I truly hope to have a great time and get good exposure, learning and growth at Nintex, starting soon!

P.S. I have posted about leaving my previous employment in recent post “Thanks for the good time Telenor“.

Thanks for the good time Telenor

This post is a short note to say THANK YOU to my colleagues, now ex-colleagues, for the good time we had in last 4 years at Telenor Pakistan, as you might already know, dear reader, that I have just left Telenor Pakistan.
Overall I enjoyed working in Telenor and if I look back I see some good legacy of my contributions in Human Resource Management System, Payroll, Telcom Value Added Services, Mobile Apps etc. I learned a lot about software engineering in particularly web development and challenges of large enterprise.
Beside work, I am leaving with remarkable memories of fun time we had.
And I got plenty of opportunity to present in front of co-workers, at times forcefully 😉
I wish Telenor Pakistan a bright and successful time ahead.
So thank you to every single one of you who have worked with me and helped me throughout my time at Telenor Pakistan and special thanks to leaders around me who believed in my potential and have invested time/resources for providing me significant exposure, education and experience.
Please stay in touch, follow your dreams, do what you are passionate for, go for continuous improvement and above all enjoy your life!

P.S. I will talk about my next employer in upcoming post.

 

2012 – A Year of CHANGE

What a remarkable year! I call it a year of change for me. Honestly for me 2012 was a testament of my change agility. So much happened this year in my personal and professional life that is why I consider it as a  year of new beginning, year of decisions, year of love, year of excitement, year of responsibility, and a year of learning. With the help of this post, I tell you how!

I would like to share some of the major highlights of this year with you (reader). Hope you had a splendid time in 2012 as well.

Change in Personal Life

Got Married

The year started with a fabulous adventure of getting married, well at least it’s fabulous in the beginning for everyone. It was the first big change of the year. Getting married is really a different yet good experience. Bachelor life is full of freedom in a sense that you are not bound to care for someone looking forward to you and you can hangout with pals till late without bothering for a second. Having said that married life comes with its own plus points which are definitely beyond the scope of this blog post 😀 So this was the first big change of this year.

Relocation

Next, I was offered Full Time Employment (FTE) at Telenor and the position required me to relocate to Islamabad. It’s is a beautiful city with lot of greenery. Relocation is challenging in a way that you leave your friends, family, home etc. but I guess in life one must be open for new opportunities, new places and new people. Though I think that I underestimated the impact of relocation and thought it would be easy but it took almost a quarter to know about the new city and adjust. Today after 6 months, I am fairly adjusted in new city and new workplace but I definitely miss my home town, friends, family and the hangout. This was the second big change of this year occurred in Q2-2012.

New family member

The third and perhaps the biggest change of the year, we were blessed with a baby girl. It’s a unique and indescribable feeling being a father and I love the time spent with my daughter especially when she is in good mood. Besides it’s difficult to overcome the situation when she cry for “difficult to discover” reasons. I honestly hope that I play a better husband and father role.

Change in Professional Life

Mobile Development

For the last 5 years, I have been working on Microsoft .NET platform both web and desktop. With new role at Telenor, there was an exciting change at workplace as well. We started developing mobile applications or rather building mobile apps eco-system in house. So I jumped in other platforms as well especially Android/Java. At the moment we are working on Web APIs, Android and iOS with my major time spent on writing code in Java. Though some percentage of my time is still spend on ASP.NET and C#. I still admire C# and VS environment.

Achievements

Fourth time awarded as Microsoft Most Valuable Professional

Really excited to get recognized by Microsoft fourth time in streak as Microsoft Most Valuable Professional.This award is given to technical community leaders who actively share their high quality, real world expertise with others. I would like to thank everyone who contributed in supporting me.

If you want to know about MVP Award and how become one, you can read one of my blog post on “How to become Microsoft Most Valuable Professional

Imagine Cup Evaluation

In April, I was honored to be invited as one of the regional judges to evaluate Imagine Cup entries. It was a great experience and I was glad to see the potential of our students. I have also published some tips for students willing to participate in global competitions such as Imagine Cup. [link]

Certification

A lot happens this year but in the end I was able to clear one recent certification published in 2012. Last Day of the year ends with earning credential of “Programming in HTML5 with JavaScript and CSS3 Specialist“. Read out why I think this area is important. [link]

My Aspirations for 2013

A Balanced Life

I truly aspire to live a balance life. Work, friends, family, learning, faith, and community all must be balanced and any aspiration in one of the area must be achieved in a balance way. By balance I mean giving right proportion of time and attention. But I am not saying that I got this and I need to work on this seriously. In past, I have spent a lot of time on technical stuff and I love it but I guess we have to consider other things along as well.

Open Source or Hobby Project

I am planning to take out some time for hobby project. There are no such concrete plans right now but with the recent hype of apps marketplace there are plenty of opportunity to come up with something of our own.

Excel in Software Engineering

In the past 5 years I have learned much in the industry but software engineering is a diversified yet evolving field with a lot of learning. Not only you have to keep up the pace to learn new technologies but also you have to learn best practices and patterns. I still believe there is a lot lot to learn and I still feel like newbie in the field. I really aspire to achieve excellence in the discipline.

That is all for now. Wish you a very best 2013.

Cheers,
Adil
P.S. What are your Aspirations?

2011 Achievements and Plans Ahead

2011… How fast that was? it seems as if it was yesterday only that 2011 began and here we are in 2012 BUT I really had an exciting year with great memories, rich experience and some good learning.

Like each year, I try to take little time out to reflect on what I have accomplished so far so as I can analyze myself, set new goals, and identify area of improvements. This blog post contains some of the highlights of 2011, popular blog posts and my plans ahead.

Flash back:

Popular Posts:

Plans Ahead

  • A new role of husband! I am used to play role of Developer, Team Lead etc. but this something different and quite different 🙂
  • Intent to author a book
  • Improvement Areas: Software Architecture and Design, Project Management, Leadership

I believe 2011 was really a great year for me Alhamdulillah, with lots of achievements and remarkable events. This would not have been possible without great support of friends and family, so thank you all for your extraordinary support and care.

I really looking forward to great year ahead and I am sure it’s going to be more exciting, different yet fun. I hope and pray to Allah that year 2012 will bring peace, health, happiness and prosperity to world and in particular to your (reader) life.

As A Good Technical Lead

/* DISCLAIMER: This blog post is purely based on my personal observation and experience. The views expressed are mine alone */
Whether you call it Technical Lead or Dev Lead or Team Lead or Lead Programmer, this blog post is about the role and some of the characteristics Good Technical Lead must have.

A Central Role

Trust me, Dear Reader, if you are a technical lead or in a similar role you really have a central and significant position in the overall software development life cycle. Being the owner of the technical solution, your job is to ensure the smooth execution of development activities at least till the project is handed over for production.

 You are not only face to the management but also a bridge between different groups such as software developers, architects, Testers, End users etc. You are also responsible for compliance of standards such as coding and design standards.
However, a reality is that this job role is more towards management and less towards technical.
As a Good Technical Lead…
 
To discuss the must have attributes of a good technical lead, let’s divide the title “Technical Lead” into two areas:
  • Technology
  • Leadership

Technology

Know the every bit of the solution you are working on. Dive deep and understand the big picture of the technical solution and the customers’ need. This will help you contribute not only in the features/functionality proposed but also you will be able to guide developers in a better way.
Okay you neither have time in hand nor cost, the only thing you have in your hand is project/feature scope! Rule it!!!
Act as true mentor. Yes you did well when you was developer, now it’s time to share your knowledge with juniors, try to replicate your knowledge, your experience. Help them in managing themselves and their day to day development tasks.
Embrace new technologies and believe in continuous improvement. As a technical lead, you are required to always look for continuous improvement in software construction. Adapt new tools to improve approach and productivity over time. This will help develop learning agility in the team.
Ensure better design. Try to make good design and coding habit of your team.
Delegate the overall development tasks effectively. However, at times, it is suggested to do some percentage of coding as well. This will add more respect in front of your team.  
Your passion towards technology counts! after all it’s software engineers you are leading.

Leadership

You will be interacting with different set of people with different attitude, different temper and different background. As an good leader you should have strong ability to listen people and listen them very well. Be clam and humble to hear their concerns and resolve them in best possible way.
As a lead developer, your every act should be inspiring for your team members. Also, It is important to walk your talk. We would definitely not like managers who does not act upon his own principles.
Know your team, their interests, their concerns, their strengths, their weaknesses and their growth.
Encourage team work and discourage blame game at least within the team. This will help people focus on the ultimate goal and will forgive each others mistake. Let them realize that they all win together and they all lose together.
Your ability to look in the cloudy future will reflect your proactive approach. Looking ahead of time and think what can go wrong will help you prepare for better execution tomorrow.
Maintain a positive environment and ethics within your team.
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These are some of the attributes I think as a good technical lead one should posses. Please feel free to comment your experience or what you believe a good lead should have?

Year 2010

wow! What a year. 2010 was really tremendous year with great memories, remarkable achievements and significant experience Alhamdulillah. I wonder time passed so fast, I remember writing Year 2009 highlights as well.


HIGHLIGHTS FROM 2010:

 

POPULAR BLOG POSTS

I would like to Thank my family, friends and colleagues for their extensive support and cooperation in helping me achieve what I wanted to. I hope and pray to Allah that year 2011 will bring peace, health, happiness and prosperity to world and in particular to my and your (reader) life.

Year 2009

Year 2009 was pretty much exciting for me and I achieved many things I was passionate about and wanted to accomplish.

I would also like to thank for many people around me, as they support me in achieving some of my dreams. First and foremost my Family, they supported me throughout my academic and professional life. My friends, who gave me confidence at many stages of my life. Few Microsoft MVPs Rizwan Ahmed, Wajahat Abbas, Ali Raza Shaikh, Hammad Rajjoub and Munir Usman, they really gave me inspiration and supported me in online and offline activities.

So here are some highlights from 2009:

and yet more to come in 2010.

Some most visited blog post/tags in 2009

Again, I would like to thank all of you for supporting me in any manner and I hope and pray that year 2010 will bring more excitement, peace, health, happiness and prosperity.

– Adil Ahmed Mughal