It’s no big secret that over the previous months, I’ve done less and less SharePoint related work. That is because I’m leaving SharePoint as a career and I’m here to tell you why.
I’d like to start, however, by saying what are not the reasons I’m leaving SharePoint.
It’s Not About SharePoint
I’ve had heated debates and flame wars with people who say that I’m leaving because SharePoint is such a shoddy product.
SharePoint is a great platform. The way it enables businesses to build solutions to give them advantages quickly is amazing. I’ve seen people build solutions in an hour that has saved businesses days or weeks of work. I’ve seen companies utilize SharePoint to see completely new business areas and make a killing over their competitors. I’ve seen and had clients send me gifts for saving employees and jobs.
So no, SharePoint isn’t a bad platform. It is an awesome platform.
It’s Not About the Community
The SharePoint community is dwindling and has been for years. I’d be tempted to blame it all on Twitter buying up Tweetdeck because after Tweetdeck was nerfed to promote the silly web client, the once vibrant Twitter conversations in the community has gone away.
However, the community still exists. It’s far more fractured now, spanning a range of sites including, but not limited, to Twitter, Faceboook, Yammer, and various web sites and other platforms.
I once wrote that community isn’t defined by technology but by people. The SharePoint people that comprises the community are still there. They’re just a lot harder to find and it’s more difficult to keep up with what’s going on now that there are 10+ newsfeeds to follow.
It Is About the Future
SharePoint is dying, and don’t give me that “it’s not dying, it’s turning into something else” because that’s the same as saying that Michael Jackson isn’t dead, he’s just turned into daisy fertilizer.
Sure, SharePoint is turning into something else, which means that there’s a new way of solving every problem, using a new set of tools, in a completely new game. That’s fine, but it’s not SharePoint anymore.
As a SharePoint professional, you’re asked to relearn everything you know, basically taking your productive skill set back to zero and start building again. You’ve learned plenty of transferable skills, but you can also transfer those skills anywhere you want.
The new paradigm of SharePoint isn’t SharePoint anymore. It’s no longer about using technology creatively to gain a competitive advantage, it is about getting the latest commodity that everyone else has too.
Commodities can never be a competitive advantage.
So ask yourself this: You have a completely blank slate in front of you. Everything you know is wiped clean. You need to spend the next two-three years at building a new skill set.
What is it about the coming paradigm of SharePoint that makes you want to start writing “My new career as a SharePoint something” on that blank slate?
The technology certainly isn’t unique anymore. There are five dozen alternatives to virtually any part of the new SharePoint now, and even Microsoft encourages you to pull in components from varying sources when you want to build something.
Is it brand loyalty? Are you really willing to bet the next years of your future just to remain loyal to a brand that has a decade long track record of changing just as you gain any reasonable amount of proficiency? If so, you’re certifiably insane and you can stop reading right now.
It’s About Fun
The main reason I’m leaving SharePoint, however, is that it’s no longer fun. Part of the challenge of being a SharePoint developer is overcoming adversity and finding creative solutions to problems using an at times limited set of tools in innovative ways.
That was just the first step. What is utterly fascinating with SharePoint is that you can then take those skills and be incredibly valuable almost anywhere you go. Even when you’re charging your clients hundreds of dollars per hour, you still produce more value than that, at least if you know your trade.
So it’s not just a personally interesting challenge, it is a profitable one for all parties involved.
That is no longer going to be the case. SharePoint hasn’t evolved in the areas that matter so after many years, I’ve seen and solved virtually every problem there is.
When I now get a request for work, I can usually compose the solution entirely using code I’ve already built. I can take an existing taxonomy description and turn it into a fully content type enabled SharePoint structure in minutes, maybe an hour. I have so many workflow templates and have done event receivers so many times, I can probably fix your business process in a day, including writing out the training documentation.
It’s become a matter of producing rather than creating. I’ve become an assembly line worker rather than a developer. I no longer need to think and I have great fun thinking.
So, What Now?
I’m deeply fascinated by many things. I’ve already worked for a few months in the startup community both to learn and to offer insights from my experience as an investor and as an entrepreneur. Maybe I’ll pursue a career helping startups succeed.
I’ve also wanted for decades to get into game development. Over the previous months, I’ve built a platform for interactive story telling called Wizh. It’s in closed beta now and I work on it as much as I can because it brings back the fun.
Wizh is built on top of an interactive story engine called, creatively enough, ISENG, and I see huge potential in using ISENG in everything from story driven games, interactive fiction, and other entertainment areas, but also as an engine powering training, education, user experience testing, and more.
ISENG is to games and entertainment what SharePoint workflows are to business processes, to put it into language my SharePoint savvy audience can understand.
I’ve kept up with my students over the years but lately have seen that most of them want to learn things outside of SharePoint so I’ll probably refocus my mentoring efforts into a broader area of development.
I’ll probably also offer the odd opinion piece on SharePoint, but it won’t be my career anymore. This blog will retain it’s existing content but I’ll start adding other pieces of writing that interest me. If you want to tag along, you’re more than welcome.
Of course, if you have a great idea or need an experienced developer, entrepreneur, and architect, I’m all ears and would love to hear your thoughts. Maybe you’d like to partner with us in developing Wizh? We are always looking for interesting ideas, especially if you can help us fund the development.
That’s it. I’m done. .b has left the building. Talk again on the outside.
Found this article valuable? Want to show your appreciation? Here are some options:
a) Click on the banners anywhere on the site to visit my blog's sponsors. They are all hand-picked and are selected based on providing great products and services to the SharePoint community.
b) Donate Bitcoins! I love Bitcoins, and you can donate if you'd like by clicking the button below.
c) Spread the word! Below, you should find links to sharing this article on your favorite social media sites. I'm an attention junkie, so sharing is caring in my book!