As 2019 winds down and we can finally rest (and oh lord, do we ever need some rest), I wanted to take a moment to reflect on my developer journey over the past year. My very first post on DEV was about my "2019 Developer Resolutions", and it's time to be haunted by the Ghost of Accountability Past, as I rank the progress that I made towards each goal. Did I complete them, or was mine the fate of the newbie gym-goer on February 1st? Keep reading to find out!
Writing is something I've always loved to do, and I managed to keep somewhat consistent with it this year. I'm a big fan of doing a deep dive into a topic—spending a great deal of time researching and meticulously tweaking my content to present the subject matter in a hopefully entertaining and also hopefully digestible way—but I've also discovered that I need some time to decompress between these kinds of articles. Moving forward, I think a mix of content (deep dives, tutorials, discussions) would help me keep more consistent with my publishing schedule.
Final Grade: 7 drafts to never see the light of day out of a possible 17 articles
Writing, but with the relics of a simpler time
I started working on this one early in the year, but I quickly discovered that I loved the community here on DEV, and wanted to keep my content within its ecosystem (this is just code for me being too lazy to have two places to post content). I know there are tools to hook up your DEV posts as a data source through static site generators to quickly bootstrap out a blog but man, I am lazy.
Final Grade: 0 blogs, 1 big lazy boi
Before anyone says anything, audiobooks aren't cheating; it's just reading with your ears. That being said, I managed to get through a few books through my Audible subscription over the past year. None of them were from the list I linked in my 2018 resolutions article, but I did listen to a 49-hour audiobook of Stephen King's The Stand, which required a sense of resolve that I didn't believe I was capable of. Either way, I'm calling this resolution completed, and there's absolutely nothing you can do about it.
Final Grade: $15/month for an Audible subscription is a bit steep, no?
While I didn't have any completed development side projects (here's looking at you, 45 highly unfinished private repositories on GitHub), I did start a podcast with my best pal and lifetime co-worker Phil (we've now worked at three different companies together, I'm beginning to think we're a packaged deal). After putting together my recording setup, realizing it's not ideal and upgrading a bunch of it, drawing the podcast cover, figuring out hosting, building a website, recording, editing, publishing and finally promoting the episodes, I really started to miss the simplicity of writing a todo app. So let's make a compromise and call this one completed.
The hardest part about being in tech is the feeling you need to start a podcast for validation
Final Grade: 433 podcast streams since November 1st
Thanks to Hacktoberfest, I was drawn into completing this resolution with the allure of a free t-shirt (and there's not much I wouldn't do for a free t-shirt). Free merch aside, I'm appreciative for community events like this, because it was the motivation I needed to take that first step. The most important part is that I can finally put "contributing to open source" on my resume without it being an outright lie.
Final Grade: 4/4 pull requests during Hacktoberfest
My current team is doing a big push to transition from a RESTful API to a GraphQL API, so luckily this was achieved by default. That being said, I did work extensively with GraphQL within my side projects. Every time I needed to build a simple API, I would overcomplicate things by slapping a GraphQL layer in front of it. Overkill? Maybe. Resolution accomplished? Definitely.
"progress": "not bad"
Imagine how depressing it would be if I didn't accomplish this one?
Final Grade: 1 big expensive party, 0 divorces
Okay, so right now it's just uploaded episodes of the podcast, but I'm hoping to start adding different kinds of content soon. I'm counting this one as completed (if only for the amount of work I've put into the thumbnails). I hope you're all looking forward to what I consider "entertainment" in 2020!
Final Grade: 6/6 clickbait titles, 0 actual videos
Luckily, I left this one very open ended in my original post. I had the opportunity to do a couple of talks at meetups this year (Getting Creative with React Native, Putting the Fun in Functional Programming—I write my talks around the names I come up with). I'm sure one or two people in the room must have learned something, so resolution accomplished. I've also found a newfound love for speaking, and I'd love to do more of it in 2020. I've thought about submitting CFPs, but unfortunately traveling isn't a financially viable option for me right now, and there's not a lot of conferences that happen around where I live. But who knows what surprises await us in 2020? (if you do know, please tell me—I hate surprises).
Final Grade: 45 minutes of actual talking, 5+ hours into making my slides
I'm not quite there, but December isn't over yet.
Final Grade: 330/1000 followers
I hope you've enjoyed reflecting with me about the past year. There's been a ton of ups, downs, 360 kickflips and at least one instance of an uncontrollable death spiral into a seemingly endless void. Overall I'm happy with the progress I've made, and hopefully, 2020 brings everyone their most successful year yet. How did you do on your 2019 resolutions? Is there anything you want to accomplish in 2020? Let me know!