At the dawn of every new year, countless individuals contemplate ways to stay committed to beneficial routines and break the bad habits that hold them back. It's not surprising that those who work in software engineering and development have their own unique goals and aspirations they've placed at the top of their priority lists for 2023.
Let's examine the responses three software professionals gave when asked about their top goals for 2023, which, while often technology-specific, suggest an aspiration to make direct, positive contributions to a larger part of the organizations they work for on top of their own self-improvement.
1. Focus on one problem at a time
John Fleming manages the software engineering for the Florida Lottery, based in Tallahassee, Fla. He started out as a software developer after graduating from Salem State University -- then known as Salem State College -- in 1979, building both commercial software products and business applications over the course of his career.
In addition to working with a wide range of technologies and architectures, Fleming has also held the title of architect, product manager and a number of other software-based leadership roles. As an engineering lead, he is currently tasked with modernizing the Florida Lottery's technology infrastructure with a specific focus on ensuring applications are prepared to handle increased growth in scale and complexity over the next five years.
One of the challenges of large-scale projects like these, Fleming said, is the tendency for developers and engineers to try and solve multiple problems at once instead of dedicating focus on one at a time. This, he explained, can lead them to establish overambitious project goals that simply overextend time and resources that could be better spent on solving one problem the best way possible.
"Almost every time I've been involved with a project that tried to solve more than one problem, [there were] difficulties completing [the project] on time and on budget," Fleming recalled. "While it's always tempting to try and do it all at once, this usually results in less-than-desirable outcomes."
As a recent example, Fleming recalled working on a new internet-based telecommunications service -- a type of application that, at the time, was still a novel technology. Eventually, the team decided to introduce a new edge computing technology as an underlying platform in the hopes that this type of holistic approach would support most of the new application's needs. Unfortunately, the technology associated with that edge computing platform was also in its early stage of development and, ultimately, failed to support the application -- bringing the entire project to a halt.
As such, Fleming declared that his resolution for 2023 is to focus on structuring project goals so that teams only attempt to solve one issue at a time. This requires more attention on assessing planning processes rather than simply introducing new development technologies, he explained, and added that maturity and readiness matrices will play a role in that effort.
"If we can get projects structured so that each [one] is focused on solving one part of [a] problem at a time," Fleming avowed, "our team will be focused and able to consistently meet our objectives."
2. Ensure code always meets accessibility requirements
Cayce Koehler is senior software engineer at Teladoc Health, a telemedicine and virtual healthcare company based in Purchase, N.Y. For the past nine years, he's worked as a software developer in several capacities related to web applications, data analytics, enterprise-scale reporting and mobile development.
Cayce KoehlerSenior software engineer, Teladoc Health
For Koehler, the top priority in 2023 is to dedicate himself to ensuring that the code he writes complies with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), a set of standards developed by the World Wide Web Consortium to provide persons with disabilities equal access to web-based content. This goal goes together with his work at Teladoc Health, which Koehler said is the first company he's worked at where user accessibility is a top priority.
"I want to keep accessibility at the forefront of my thoughts and not allow it to be secondary at any moment," Koehler explained.
Koehler predominately works in Android mobile development. This, he said, grants him access to many accessibility-focused development tools through Google, such as TalkBack and accessibility analyzers, to help address accessibility concerns.
A large part of this initiative involves reviewing WCAG compliances as a team and planning new iterations of coding if anything gets overlooked, Koehler explained. Meanwhile, QA teams can examine the interface's contrast ratios, sizing and spacing to flag places where the application fails to meet WCAG standards.
"Having a team and a company that believes in this [goal] as much as I do is going to be crucial to my success," he said.
3. Increase productivity and write extraordinary code from the start
Kranthi Vanga is a Java developer from Morris Plains, N.J, who provides application support for financial and investment banking services. He has extensive experience in various aspects of software component design, builds and deployment, particularly with Spring. Vanga also has an especially strong background working with customer-facing APIs, he said.
Vanga's 2023 resolution, he said, is especially specific: to finish an algorithmic boot camp to help him write better code, specifically when it comes to matching the right data structures to certain development projects or software operations. Ultimately, he hopes this will help him assist the company in making better business decisions overall in shorter amounts of time.
"In a tech job, it's even more important to [solve problems] within time frames, and I absolutely love [doing that]," Vanga said. "I'm a hands-on developer, and I love building needed solutions and optimizing them."