You've got your goals! You've put some hard work into thinking them through and making sure they align with how much time you have and what you want to learn. So what now? Well, we're still in the planning and prep phase, but trust me it'll pay off once you start working.
The next step is to add action steps to each of your goals. You've got broad goals identified and a timeframe in which to complete them. This next step is all about identifying how you will measure success and what you need to do in order to be successful. I usually do this by just adding a few bullet points below each goal outlining the action items. Think through the following questions:
How will I know if I'm making progress?
What are the smaller things that need to be learned or done in order to accomplish this goal?
What is my plan for breaking this goal down into smaller parts in order to accomplish each of those one step at a time?
Goals are larger and broader. If you try to tackle them without a plan and without being able to celebrate small wins, it'll be rough going.
Here are some examples based on the example goals from the last post:
Write a useful script
- Research common scripts
- Determine 3 scripts that might be both helpful and easy
Understand the basics of relational data modeling and relational data
- Understanding datatype structures of postgres (char vs. text vs hstore)
- When given real world objects, how do you UML model that (ie- people)
- Normalization up to the third level (read about)
- Practice some SQL statements
- Joins, different kinds
- Sub queries
- Working with a GUI for visualization
Continue to improve in testing and learn more about testing concepts like stubbing, mocking, and message chains
- Test setups from scratch
- refactor and evaluate current tests
Give constructive feedback
- Read at least 5 more PRs every week than I currently am
- Make comments on at least half of the PRs I read
- Determine what constructive feedback looks like via asking teammates, reading blog posts, etc.
Finally, show these new, beautiful, wonderful goals to a few people. You need some allies to help keep you accountable and motivated. Show these learning goals to a friend, a manager, a peer, etc. and ask if they'd be okay with you checking in with them about it every ince in a while.