20% Time isn’t optional. It’s compulsory

I don’t own a company. I’m an engineer. I write code. I don’t manage people much, and definitely don’t micro-manage. I love engineers and help them whenever I can 🌹

I recently caught up with a fellow ANU computer science graduate. He shared concerns about his experience in the software industry and I discussed mine. Fortunately my experience has not been as awful as what I know exists out there. I think its got a lot to do with the time I get from my employer to contribute to and create OSS projects.

We as engineers want to keep our skills updated. However business requirements cannot always lend us the opportunity to try out new technologies. Because we care about our skills, often projects end up looking quite a lot like:

Keeping up to date can be very hard for a software engineer especially if you care about your work-life balance. Fortunately I get to work on cool stuff offline, and work on projects like http://alm.tools/ that guide my learnings, which I then share publicly and freely.

20% time should not just be for one dev in your team. It should be for the entire team. Otherwise the organization either becomes not a fun place for new hires, or a maintenance nightmare for existing ones 🌹