Reflecting on 2015

Posted on Saturday, 02 Jan 2016

With 2015 behind us and 2016 to look forward to it's that time of year again where I take a moment reflect on the events of last year and set myself some targets for the year ahead.

2015 has been a fantastic year for me for many reasons. Looking back at the targets I set myself for 2015 I'm happy with my progress, and whilst I've only met two of the four goals I set myself, I'm not going to be too hard on myself as I feel I've made up for it in other areas (which I'll go through in a moment) to make up for the two targets missed.

Last year's goals

Before setting my goals for 2016, let me take a moment to review last year's targets and achievements:

Goal #1: Get dangerous with Javascript

During 2015 I've spent a great deal of time working on my Javascript knowledge, this includes:

  • A Javascript based shooting game (written in TypeScript, but for those that are familiar with TypeScript will know that it's essentially Javascript decorated with types)
  • I've also spent a great deal of time really getting to grips with some of the fundamental design patterns commonly used in libraries such as the IIFE, Module Reveal pattern and so forth.
  • In addition to the above, I've also had the opportunity to write a lot of Javascript in my previous job, and have recently started working in a web services based role that involves a lot of Javascript via Angular.
  • Whilst learning Javascript I've also become a huge fan of TypeScript - so much so that I've given various workshops and talks at local user groups on the subject (more on this later though).

Whilst I wouldn't consider myself 'dangerous' with Javascript, I feel I've reached a level where I'm confident in my ability and comfortable writing it. This is a goal I will continue to pursue in 2016.

Goal #2: Contribute to more open source projects

Shortly after committing to this goal I stumbled upon an awesome C# assertion framework called Shoudly via a tweet by its owner Jake Ginnivan (@JakeGinnivan). Jake was very welcoming of first time contributors and helped a great deal with any Git related issues encountered as I stumbled my way through getting to grips with both the Shoudly codebase and contributing to it.

Today I still enjoy contributing to Shoudly and have been honoured to be added as a core contributor to the project. Jake's been paving the way with some truly inspiring work (including DNX support!) on the library and I look forward to continuing to contribute to it this year.

As a slight aside - if anyone is interested, as I was this time last year, in getting involved in contributing to an open source library then we're an extremely friendly bunch always looking for new contributors. I'd be happy to help you make your first contribution to Shouldly.

Goal #3: Increase the frequency of my blog posts

As many developers will know, blogging isn't easy. It takes time, effort and a log of research to write blog posts that are of any real value to people and whilst I've remaind consistent with my blogging throughout the year, the frequency of my posts isn't at a level that I am happy with. This is something I'm looking to rectify in 2016.

Bonus Goal: Achieve over 8,000 points on Stack Overflow

When writing about this goal last year, I felt aiming to achieve over 8,000 points on StackOverflow was a little ambitious - especially considering the scope of the other (what I considered to be more important) goals, so suffice to say I fell short of the 8,000 points mark.

Other noticable achievements in 2015

In addition to the above goals, 2015 was also an exciting year for me for the following reasons:

.NET Rocks Interview

When writing my 2015 goals, if you'd told me I'd be appearing on .NET Rocks by the end of the year I'd have told you to stop pulling my leg. But on December 10th my interview discussing Visual Studio shortcuts and productivity boosts was published. You can read more about the episode here.

I started talking regularly at local meet ups

Whilst I've been attending local meet ups for a little while now, I've also started talking at them too. Originally it started with a TypeScript talk at a local gathering, then moved to the same talk but in a lighting talk format at DDD South West, to a TypeScript workshop and a further talk on JavaScripts IFFE pattern. This is certainly something I wish to continue doing in 2016.

Overall I've been very satisfied with 2015; the highlight(s) of the year have got to go to being made a core contributor to Shoudly, alongside being featured on .NET Rocks. I hope everyone else has had a great year and I wish everyone the best for 2016!

Stay tuned for my goals for 2016!