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Learning Goals For 2016

I’ve been thinking over the Christmas break about the things I’d like to learn about this year, and the goals I’d like to achieve with each. The plan is to blog about them as I learn, to hopefully help others to do the same.

APIs and Services

This is actually what I do for my day job, build services on Azure, in the most maintainable and scalable way that I can, but I also know there is more I can learn about this and ways to improve the process. From all I’ve read there is no one solution fits all but I’d like to have more architectural patterns and understanding of the current options available, so I plan to research this.

Go

The Go language promises that it ‘makes it easy to build simple, reliable, and efficient software’, which is exactly the kings of software development that appeals to me. I like the idea of reducing the amount of code written, to reduce bugs, and the fact it has less keywords to learn is another plus factor. From what I gather it’s also a good language for writing APIs, so if I can write an API in it and host it in the cloud somewhere then I will have achieved my goal.

Node.js

I’ve played with Node.js a little over the last couple of years, but much like Go I’d like to be confident enough to quickly create and deploy services. There seems to be good Azure integration too, which makes it a good candidate for real work use, if nothing else it would be useful for rapid prototyping.

Unity

As far back as I can remember, playing Space Invaders and Asteroids standing on a milk crate in an arcade, I have been into videogames, but even though I’ve played hundreds, perhaps thousands of games I’ve never actually made one myself. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, I have a fair few ideas and also know what looks and plays well, but the barrier to entry has always felt too high and I’ve concentrated on programming for my day job. This year though I’ve decided to learn Unity properly.

Now there are so many aspects to learning Unity that there is no way I expect to cover them all this year, plus some of the areas require skills I simply don’t have like graphic design and animation, but if I can get a handle on the programming of game logic, along with building a game from end to end I’ll be happy. I’ll concentrate on 2D/2.5D first, because I have a better understanding of those sorts of games and prefer them to modern 3D ones, but hope to try 3D later on. All of this doesn’t mean I’m going to quit my day job and work at home as an Indie developer anytime soon, but I do like the idea of a totally different sort of coding challenge.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step

To get started I’m going to make some learning plans for each topic, as well as tracking down some decent tutorials, videos and books. If anyone has any useful resources, or hints and tips for learning any of the above topics then please let me know and as soon as I make some progress I’ll be sure to blog about it.

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