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Debbie O'Brien
Debbie O'Brien

Posted on • Originally published at

2020 - my most successful year (career wise).

We all know that 2020 has been a hard year especially family wise and it has of course been mentally challenging in more ways than one. We all know and will remember these hard times forever. However, I would like to focus on the positive side of things and recap the year looking only at that. If I do that then 2020 has been my most successful year ever. And I think it is important to look back and acknowledge these achievements as I feel they mean even more during 2020 than any other year.


  • Microsoft MVP
  • Github Star
  • 26 talks
  • 10 blog posts
  • 52 videos and podcasts
  • 1 workshop
  • 778 commits
  • 192 pull requests
  • 104 stars
  • 24 issues

Where it all began:

I started 2020 with an email from Microsoft saying I was now a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional in Developer technologies, this for me was a major goal and like a dream come true to be accepted into the MVP program. What a way to start the year.

Then on the 5th of January I got on a flight to Chile to board a cruise ship where I was going to give a talk while cruising through the waters of Antarctica. It was such an incredible experience traveling to south America and to Antarctica and giving a talk on a cruise ship. My talk was on how I got to where I am today and all the challenges I had to get through to get here so it was a very appropriate talk for the Antarctic cruising.

But it wasn't just the conference on that cruise but the 17 days where I got to spend time with some of the most amazing speakers from around the world. If you have ever been to a speaker dinner you will know what I mean. We had 17 speaker dinners, breakfasts, lunches and more. It was a time to connect with other like minded people, a time to share doubts and a time to gain confidence and different points of views. I really believe that cruise shaped my year to come in so many ways.

Then at the end of January I travelled to Valencia to give a talk on Nuxt at a local meetup which was loads of fun.


Another goal achieved. I got to speak at the Vue Conference in Amsterdam on that massive stage, in fact I got to close the show which was really cool. Sarah Drasner who is someone I look up to so much got to see my talk and congratulated me on it which meant the world to me. Vue Amsterdam is one of my favourite conferences and it was so cool to just hang out with my many speaker friends as well as my two favourite brothers, Sebastién and Alex, as well as meet the majority of the Nuxt maintainers, who were also at the conference.

I somehow also managed to fit in 2 weekend skiing breaks in Andorra. Am so glad I did.


Then it was off to Texas which was amazing. This was my last memory of normality. I flew to Texas to speak at the Vue Conf USA, another goal achieved. Again hanging out with my Vue family and speaker friends and getting to meet and hang out other attendees was just so cool. Speaker dinner and partying afterwards and singing karaoke again with Evan You was the last night out I had before things changed. All in all not a bad memory to have.

But we had no idea what was around the corner. While in Texas we got the news that the MVP summit in Washington was cancelled. I had my tickets already but it wasn't going to happen. I had been accepted to attend the Google IO in San Francisco which was also cancelled and I was meant to travel to San Francisco again to attend an event held by Cloudinary which was also cancelled as well as 2 meetups in Switzerland, where I was meant to be spending my birthday, also cancelled. And that was just what was meant to happen in March and April. What had looked like an amazing year was now kinda falling apart.

We got sent home from work in March for what we thought was perhaps a few days. Little did we know that we would be locked up for a very long 7 weeks and not allowed to leave our home, not even for sport or to go for a walk.


I started a new job. Right in the middle of lockdown. Head of Learning and Developer Advocate for NuxtJS. This for me was like a dream come true. Any of you who have met me or have known me for a while will know how passionate I am about Nuxt and how much I have been speaking about Nuxt at the previous conferences as well as teaching Nuxt and using it in my previous jobs. But now to work for Nuxt fulltime, to get paid to work for Nuxt, was just unreal.

Of course changing a job is always stressful and doing it in lockdown was even more so. I didn't even have a good desk and my chair was not good enough for sitting 8 hours a day and although I ordered one, it took more than 2 months to arrive. April was hard as we were not allowed out on the streets, not allowed to do sport or go for a walk, not allowed go to the supermarket with your partner. They were strange and scary times. But I had a new job so decided to just focus on that. Easter holidays? nah, just work.

As we were not allowed out to do sport I went running on my roof terrace and managed to run 10km one day. I would change direction after each km so as not to hurt my ankles with so much running in circles. It kept me sane as well as the virtual Taekwondo classes and then the balcony parties. At 8pm each evening we would all go to our balconies and clap the health care workers and dance to 3 songs. It was a time where we just saw people and heard people and came together and it was nice as you felt not so alone and it reminded you that people existed. We would wave over from one apartment block to the other and dance from one balcony to the other.

Online events started and I spoke at the Vue Amsterdam meetup. This was where I learnt anything can go wrong as I lost internet connection in the middle of my talk. Luckily I managed to connect again through my phone and finish the talk.


May we were allowed have our freedom back. I got to leave my apartment to do sport at set times of the day and for a maximum of 2 hours. I was so happy to finally leave the apartment and just go for a cycle and smell the country air and see things like the sea and fields and mountains and but more than anything see people.

I spoke at more virtual events as every conference was either cancelled, postponed to later in the year or turned into a virtual event. There was a need to reach more people and share knowledge like never before. I got to kick off the Dev around the Sun conference which was a conference organised by good friends of mine to raise money for healthcare workers and people in need during the crazy times we were living in.

In May I got to be part of the Microsoft Build event which was just a few minutes online but it was just so amazing to be part of it and to have been able to collaborate with Microsoft for the Azure static web apps project.


June is when I started to get brave and did my first live stream with James Quick as I taught him how to use Nuxt Content and what I realised is that I really liked live streams. They were so much fun and interactive. Much more than the conference talks which were mostly me talking to a computer screen. Although that month I did do a lightening talk for Hasura Conf which I really enjoyed.


In July I got to appear on Create Frontend, a Microsoft event where I got to talk with Wassim Chegham about why static sites were back. Although this was a great experience I lost control of my computer and couldn't see a thing. I freaked out for about a minute and then just thought ok pretend it's a podcast and carry on, and so I did.


August, which is normally a quiet month for conferences, saw lots of interviews including a GraphQL fireside chat with Tanmai from Hasura. I also got appeared on VueVear where I was interviewed in Spanish and then more people started contacting me for interviews when they realised I could actually speak Spanish fluently.


September was hard. Every conference seemed to think it would be a good idea to hold a conference in September and I had said yes to way too many conferences. Although great fun it was exhausting speaking at so many conferences in a short space of time, from CityJS Conf, VueJS Global, Gotopia, ijs London and Mauritius Dev conf with most of them in the same week.

September is also the month I ended up in hospital for two days. Doctors never found out what was wrong but looking back I think it was stress from all the back to back conferences and just trying to do too much. It was nice to have a few days to just think about things and that is when I made the decision to not do more conferences as to be honest it was getting boring recording yourself talking to a screen. I needed time away from them. I wanted to work on things that were more fun, less stressful and that I got more enjoyment out of.


So October was full of Podcasts and Live Streams and it was a lot of fun. My first live stream that I organised I ended up freezing at the end and couldn't see a thing or use my computer but I could be heard. It was so stressful. Luckily I had Maya Shavin on as a guest and she was able to keep things going for me.

After some encouragement from some friends I started my youtube channel to help people learn Nuxt for free. It was a learning process on how YouTube works, how to create short videos and how to teach and keep it fun at the same time too. But as I got great feedback and comments I decided to keep creating more content and even tried live streams again after doing computer resets and investing in a device that emits the wifi signal further. Also I am still figuring out Twitch. That will have to go into next years plans.

I got to appear on Create Serverless, a Microsoft event, where I was interviewed about Nuxt, and I also wrote a blog post on how we use Nuxt at the NuxtJS Company, which was featured on Microsoft's blog.

I finished recording 2 courses on GraphQL and Vue Apollo, which were published on Vue School.


Although I said I wasn't going to speak at any more conferences, there were two that I couldn't say no to. One of them was Vue Toronto. Although I recorded my talk and messed up the export of sound, which meant it wasn't in stereo. I guess you learn something new with every event you do. I also did a live stream with Alex from Vue School where my computer decided to not charge and I was at 4 percent battery 5 mins before the live stream. I stressed out and managed to call Alex over whatsapp and stall the live stream until I changed the cable, plugged it into another socket and as that seemed to work I had to move the desk to be closer. All in the space of 5 mins and bang we were live. Live streams really can be full on at times. You have no idea what can go wrong and how to fix it and you really are on your own. But I had fun and even did Karaoke online along with a few other speakers and the organisers themselves.

At Vue Toronto I gave my first online workshop, 8 hours in a zoom room. To be honest I was terrified and worried I wasn't good enough to give a workshop. Imposter Syndrome again and me always comparing myself to others. But luckily I have good friends who believe in me and always push me in the right direction and I really enjoyed giving the workshop and felt so glad that I did it as I made myself see that I could do it and do it well.

I spoke at BuildStuff Lithuania which is the first conference I ever spoke at so it brings back fond memories. To be honest this was the conference that people thought would finally be in person but unfortunately that was not the case and therefore another online event it was.

In November I created my first Nuxt Module which for me was a big deal and I was so proud of it because I now feel I understand how Nuxt Modules work. Although for sure I need more practice and may have to create a few more to get more confident with them.


December is the month I became a Github Star. It is just incredible to be part of the Github Star program and hang out on slack with others like me who are creating content and working on open source. And the fact that I was nominated by others to be in the program is just incredible. I really am honoured.

More than 1k subscribers on YouTube. This is so amazing and am so happy to be creating content that people find useful.

I finished the year by recording a new course on Getting Started with Nuxt which will be released very soon. Keep following me on twitter for more details in the new year.

It's a wrap

And that's it. Just like that the year has ended. It has been a very hard and challenging year but I am so glad to have had the people around me who support me, who believe in me and how push me to be better than I am. This year I focused on my career and studied lots. I learnt lots by pushing my own boundaries and doing things that scared me like live streams, youTube content and giving workshops. I have become my Nuxt skills so much and have programmed lots, created lots of demos, written lots of posts and talks, re-written the Nuxt docs and just dived a lot deeper into Nuxt. And at the end of the year I can say I have had lots of fun and I have improved not only in tech skills but I think I have become a better person too.

I want to thank everyone who follows me, everyone who has given me such kind feedback, those how have bought me beers and sponsored me on github, those that encourage me, those that challenge me, those that push me to learn more so that I can teach more, those that believe in me and those that support me when I need it and those that are just around when you feel like there is noone else there. So many of you have made a huge impact on my life this year that I can't possibly name you all here. But I think you all know who you are. And I feel really lucky to have so many friends and followers from all walks of life. Thank you.

Next year

Next year is going to be amazing because even though we will remain virtual for some time to come I think we just know how to deal with it better and with such a supportive network I am ready to deal with anything. I think we have lived through such a hard year that next year will be easier and it will be more fun. I know it. I have so many goals for next year, so many things I want to do and so many things I know I will achieve. 2020 has thought me to be more giving, to be more thankful for what I have, to appreciate the little things and to look out for your self more by spending more time in nature, doing more sport and spending quality time with family as it's not always possible. 2020 has shown me that it is important to live for the now and to do things when you can. To not be afraid and to push yourself and above all to do things that make you happy yet when you need to take time to just be you then that is ok too. With all that in mind I am really looking forward to next year as we go from one lockdown to another, I am staying on the positive side of things and I know it's gonna be an amazing year.

Here's to 2021. Happy New year everyone.

Top comments (3)

schleidens profile image

phew I love you so much, it looks like I'm following you everywhere, I'm an audidact developer, passionate and in love with vue/nuxt, you make me want to work 10 × more.

you are not the only one that i follow, but you are a mentor for me ❤

debs_obrien profile image
Debbie O'Brien

glad to be of help. Keep working hard. so much to achieve 😃

schleidens profile image

Thank you 🤗