Year in review and looking at 2017

Posted on Tuesday, 10 Jan 2017

It's that time of the year again where I take a moment to reflect on the previous year and set some high level goals as to what I want to achieve or aim towards in the next.

I find these types of post really helpful at tracking progress and ensuring I stay on a positive projection as a software developer/engineer - a hobby that I'm lucky enough to have as a career.

Review of 2016

Last year was an amazing year for a couple of reasons, some planned and some not so. So, without further ado let's look at last year's personal targets and goals to see how I've done.

Goal 1: Speak at more conferences and meet-ups

I'm inclined to say I've smashed this. At the time of writing last year's post (February 2016) my speaking activities included relatively small user groups and meet ups. Since that post I've spoken at a few more meet ups but also at some rather large conferences which has been amazing.

The talks include:

  • Why software engineering is a great career choice
    TechSpark Graduates Conference 2016 - 1st December 2016

  • Going cross-platform with ASP.NET Core
    BrisTech 2016 - 3rd November 2016

  • Going cross-platform with ASP.NET Core
    Tech Exeter Conference - 8th October 2016

  • Building rich client-side applications using Angular 2
    DDD 11 (Reading) - 3rd September 2016

  • .NET Rocks Podcast - Angular 2 CLI (Command Line Interface)
    24th August 2016

  • Angular 2
    BristolJS - May 25th, 2016

  • Angular 2
    Taunton Developers' Meetup - June 9th, 2016

It's a really great feeling reflecting on my very first talk (a lightening talk on TypeScript) and how nervous I was in comparison to now. Don't get me wrong, the nerves are still there, but as many will know - you're just able to cope with them better.

.All in all I'm extremely satisfied at how far I've progressed in this area and how much my confidence speaking in public has grown. This is certainly something I wish to continue to do in 2017.

Goal 2: Start an Exeter based .NET User Group

At the time of setting this goal I was working in Exeter where there were no .NET focused user group, something that surprised me given the number of .NET specific jobs in the city.

To cut a long story short, I'd started an Exeter .NET user group and was in the process of organising the first meet up when I got a job opportunity at Just Eat in Bristol and ended up taking over the Bristol based .NET South West user group as the organiser was stepping down and closing the rather large, well established group down. Having been to a couple of the meet ups at the user group it was a shame to see it end, and given the fact I was now working in Bristol I decided to step forward to take over along with a couple of the other members.

Since then we (me and the the other organisers) have been really active in keeping .NET South West alive and well, organising a range of speakers on variety of .NET related topics.

Goal 3: Continue contributing to the .NET OSS ecosystem

This year I've create a number of small open-source libraries, and projects (Angular 2 piano sight reading game the one that's received the most attention). However whilst I've been contributing on and off to other libraries, I don't feel my contributions have been at a level that I'm happy with, so this will be a goal for 2017.

Bonus Goal - F#

Making a start learning F# was one of my bonus goals that I was hoping to achieve during 2016, however other than making a few changes to a couple of lines of F#, this is a no-go.

In all honesty, I'm still on the bench as to whether I want to learn F# - my only motivation being to learn a functional language (growing knowledge and thinking in a different paradigm); where as there are other languages I'm interested in learning that aren't necessarily tied to the .NET eco-system.

Other notable events and achievements in 2016

In addition to the aforementioned goals and achievements in 2016, there have also been others.

  • New job as a .NET software engineer at Just Eat in Bristol - a seriously awesome company that has a lot of really talented developers and interesting problems to work on.
  • Co-organiser of DDD South West conference
  • Heavy investment of time in learning .NET Core and Docker
  • Became co-organiser of the .NET South West user group

Goals for 2017

With a review of 2016 out of the way let's take a quick look at plans for 2017.

Goal 1: Continue to grow as a speaker, speaking at larger events

I've really loved speaking at meet ups and conferences, it's a truly rewarding experience both on a personal development and professional development level. There's very little more satisfying in life than pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. So in 2017 I'm really keen to continue to pursue this by talking at larger conferences and events.

Goal 2: More focus on contributing to open-source projects

Whilst I'm satisfied with my contributions to the open-source world, with personal projects and contributions to other projects, it's definitely an area I would like to continue to pursue. So in 2017 I'm aiming I'm looking for other larger projects I invest in and contribute to on a long term basis.

Goal 3: Learn another language

Where as I previously set myself a 2016 goal of Learn F#, this time around I'm going to keep my options open. I've recently been learning a little Go, but also really interested in Rust, so this year I'm going to simply set a goal to learn a new language. As it stands, it looks like it's between Go and Rust, with F# still being a possibility.

Conclusion

Overall it's been a great year, I'm really keen to keep the pace up on public speaking as it's far too easy to rest on one's laurels, so here's to 2017 and the challenges it brings!

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