Photo by Moritz Knöringer on Unsplash
Looking back on this year - Dev Retro 2022
8 min read
Hello, again my friend.
We meet again one last time before the year ends.
What a crazy year it's been, right?
A lot can happen in one year. Especially when you pursue your interests, turn your curiosity into passion, and then go out there to seek it no matter where it takes you.
Doing a recount of what happened this year would make this post pretty long. And it's my interest to not ramble too much and give some practical takeaways...
So, I'll do a brief overview of the main hits of this year along with some lessons that I hope and help you in 2023.
Now, let's get on with it!
Beginning of the year
In January, I don't remember why but I was really into health, fitness, improving my immune system and such. I was using most of my free time to read and learn about those topics.
In the last week of that month is that I chose to quit my previous job before I got laid off (or worse).
Since I started doing technical writing in mid-2020, I've been more interested in writing words on the internet instead of code that very few people will see, or have a positive impact on.
And so, I went more on that writing route instead of the coding route.
I posted one article in January and then had another one scheduled for February.
But due to unforeseen events that happened, I missed the mark.
I went live at the beginning of March instead...
Why am I telling you all this?
Because in that post I described what I thought my journey was headed towards.
You can read that one here. If you're curious or missed it at that moment.
Writing of different sorts
In this part, I had to check emails from the first few months. Just so I can remember better what was happening back then 😅
But yeah, throughout the year I reached out to some folks (and also got contacted by others) to do some guest posting and to create content for their platforms and communities.
First, it was with the Aviyel community. I was able to contribute a post for them on different options of styling for React.
The folks from Codespresso reached out and said if I wanted to repurpose some of my posts from DEV into "code shots". Small bite-sized pieces of code.
I also got in contact with the Codiga people for an article about VSCode snippets and dev productivity. (That one didn't happen in the end).
Around October or so, as luck would have it, I got in contact with the guy running the WonderShuttle studio.
This time it was for Technical Ghostwriting. For my first assignment, I was to write a piece as if I was talking on behalf of the CEO of GitLab.
The topic was about the advantages of open-source for a business model and how it could work for other big-scale tech companies.
The end of that one was... quite peculiar I could say. It's a long story. In the end, the folks there replied, gave me feedback, and also paid me for the work.
Can you imagine that?
It was my first successful gig as a Technical Ghostwriter!!
Plus a chance for continued work on other projects. (Which I'm hopeful can happen this coming year).
For the last kind of writing that I discovered this year...
That one is called... Copywriting.
Let's just say that was the kind of writing that I've put the most hours into since the start of March all to September.
Boy, I never even anticipated how much my life would change by developing these writing skills.
And what's cool is that it plays into my existing skills.
Mainly my big o̶b̶s̶e̶s̶s̶i̶o̶n̶ interest in social psychology. Along with behavioral cues, personal development, and some tricks I picked up being a mentor in coding boot camps.
I think here is where the first main lesson comes into play.
Don't be afraid to explore other areas while you keep improving your skills. Lifelong learning is a journey that can take you places you wouldn't expect.
Leverageable skills and other goodies
I always thought that programming skills would be my swiss army knife for all things delivering value and making a living out of it.
After all, if you think about it.
You can develop an app or site, deploy it, and have it running constantly with some maintenance. So you could leverage the time spent developing into recurring revenue each month. (Or so I thought).
And after being in the tech industry for a little over 3 years...
I realized how wrong I was.
Most of the time, coding is the easy part.
Communicating with stakeholders, prioritizing features, dealing with scope creep, working on different interdisciplinary teams, and so on. That's a whole different story.
Coding in general changes and evolves constantly. You have to catch up constantly and there are no certain things or repeatable patterns that you can take advantage of.
In marketing, that is different.
Well, for starters human psychology has slightly changed for most of the time we've been living on this planet.
And so, whatever it is that we build. We need to attract people's attention to it.
The worse thing is spending a lot of time building something that no one cares about.
So I think I put too much time into that and neglected the content I post in here monthly.
More kinds of development
I wasn't completely out of the web development space. Although I dipped in and out of it a couple of times throughout the year.
I also kept advancing further my self-development initiatives.
Joining Brian Johnson's Heroic platform.
Taking part in some fitness challenges.
Developing some relationships with people IRL.
Doing some traveling with whom were my friends at the time.
Several of those shenanigans kept happening until August.
Quick side note: I used my writing skills to help a friend with a new job she got managing social media campaigns. It started well and I don't know who screwed up but it ended up being a mess. I didn't get paid for my time but I at least got some experience... writing on a language I'm not going to be using much 🤷♂️
After that, I started writing on the Tealfeed platform and started refining the topics and areas I would be focusing on most for the rest of the year.
I took my Twitter account and repurposed it for a new goal.
To help other fellow knowledge workers to learn faster, more effectively, acquire new skills and be more confident performing in the workplace. Whether that is on a job, as a freelance, as a biz owner, indie hacker, or whatever else.
And this is a good moment for another lesson learned.
The market is constantly changing. Some technologies come and go. New skill sets are now demanded. And for most people, having 1 job and 1 source of income is very risky.
The last 3 months of the year were the ones with the most activity. I've done a bunch of different stuff. Explored many avenues. Found out that there's more hype than substance out there in every industry, not only the tech one.
Found several things that don't work (or at least not for my situation). Found a few that do work. And in general, realized that simplicity in everything is the key.
I went from having a full-time coding job to being a freelance writer and developer. To move more towards the indie hacker/solopreneurship road and now being set up with multiple income streams.
It's been quite the ride.
Onwards to 2023
For the new year, I want to double down on what has worked and little by little drop what hasn't.
I plan on taking all the content that I've written here, on Twitter and elsewhere. And turn that into a course of effective learning.
But not the traditional type of online course, noooo.
I've done quite the amount of research this year to know that the traditional route won't cut it anymore.
I also plan to create a newsletter where I can not only share some of the best stuff I've found and tried. But also to run learning experiments and share the progress on new ventures.
Hopefully inspiring much more people to take the leap themselves and dare to do the awesome things they're capable of.
And as for this personal blog. The "Web & Personal Dev" blog.
It will keep living on.
As I mentioned in the previous post, I will keep writing about tech topics. But more on the real practical side.
That is, using technology to enhance, improve, protect, and change our lives. So far, AI and Cybersecurity are 2 topics on the top of my mind.
And if you think about how I'm going to transition from Frontend development to those fields...
Well, guess what?
It's going to be a great opportunity and an experiment to put into practice those "effective learning" skills.
Stay tuned if you want to know how that goes.
Now congrats! You've arrived at the end of this post.
Like I've said in the past 2 retrospectives I've done here, thanks for reading.
Even if it's the first post you've read or you've been doing it the whole year.
Keep on learning, keep on improving, and keep on growing as a person not only as a knowledge worker. There's so much to do, places to see, people to meet, and lives to change.
Here's to the new year and bye-bye to the current one.
Until next time...