This post is about 5 things that I am planning to do this year. I have created it for me to track my progress then thought it can be a good direction for anybody similar.
1. Create an Application Using a NoSQL Data Store and Connect it with Java
If you have yet not understood the NoSQL databases its the best time. Lots of choices on the NOSQL side, may be MongoDB or Hadoop can be a starting point. We can create applications using Spring Data or the native Java adapters to connect to the Data Store.
2. Get the First App on Java PaaS on Cloud and Ask Five Friends to Use It
You have many platforms available including Openshift backed by JBoss and Redhat , CouldFoundry backed by Spring source and VMware. Cloud is the future of application deployments and Software as service gaining more popularity. From a developer point of view nothing really changes apart from the configurations and deployment.
3. What Really is Software Design?
Read the GOF Design Pattern catalog and Search your project for the usage of it. If you are not using them check if you have similar patters. If you have a Java enterprise application you can check for Java EE patterns. Take a existing use case and think of possible alternative implementations.
4. Learn a New Programming Language and Create a Sample Project
I think here you have 2 broad choices, Ruby or a JVM functional language. There are a number of functional languages available. It will help you become a polygot programmer.
5. Contribute to the Community
You should be doing it already if not it is the time to start. There are a number of ways including Community Forums, Stack Overflow, or write a blog on your learnings.