Life’s Toolbox

by Troy Grosfield
December 21st, 2008

I feel like everyone in life is given a toolbox. Everyone starts with an empty toolbox from birth and along the way of life things are added. In your personal toolbox is all the ways you know how to solve issues and problems you’ll face in life. Obviously the more tools you have in your toolbox, the more ability you have to solve issues and problems you’ll face.

For the past 3 or so months I’ve felt like I’ve been very complacent with where I am in life. I feel like life is getting stuck in the same old routine. I’d go to work, workout after work, go home, eat, then go to bed and start it all over again the next day. I didn’t feel like things in my life were really progressing the way I wanted them to. So I decided to start doing additional things outside of my regular job.

When you’re and engineer/developer, you are faced with the challenge of solving a commons set of problems. If you stop trying to learn new things you’ll only be able to solve problems with the limited tools you currently have in your toolbox.

For this reason, I decided to start studying for the Sun Certified Java Programmer exam for no other reason than to learn new things and prove to myself that I can do it. Along the way, I’ve learned many new things with the Java language and feel much more confident as a developer in general. After reading 2 books [1][2] in preparations for the exam, I can now say I have added to my toolbox. It’s the first two books I’ve ever really read front to back. I learned new more efficient ways to solve common issues programmatically along with a lot of the new functionality that Java 6 has to offer. I can definitely tell a difference when presented issues now. I feel much more confident about ways to go about solving problems.

The extra hours spent studying has made a huge impact in my life. I feel better about myself for going above and beyond what I feel most people do which gives me energy every time I think about studying. I feel like I’m doing positive things in my life instead of just going to the bar and drinking every night J or just watching tv. I feel like it’s a great way to get ahead and be proactive in life and it’s extremely motivating to me.

This not only applies to programming, but to everything in life. One of the next things I hope to conquer is getting either my MBA or MS. Both interest me quite a bit, but I have quite the interest in the technical side of things so I’m leaning more toward MS. This would be a huge accomplishment and would hopefully add many new tools to the old toolbox of life along the way.

Next step… pass the SCJP exam!

[1] Sun Certified Programmer for Java 6 Study Guide by Katherine Sierra, Bert Bates– 830 pages
[2] SCJP Exam for J2SE 5 by Paul Sanghera Ph.D – 424 pages

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