Stuff I Didn't Know This Morning

Here in the Netherlands, New Year's Eve is celebrated with a cacophony of explosions and carbs. There's no limit on purchasing fireworks, and we have a winter treat called oliebollen, a deep-fried ball of dough covered in powdered sugar that's a New Year's tradition. You really don't need to know more than that.

But however bright the sky gets at midnight or how much powdered sugar I've spilled on my shirt, my favorite part of New Year's is resolutions. Last year, I set three: learn to code, lose weight, and read 50 books. And, believe it or not, I entered this year as a full-time front-end developer, 40 pounds lighter and with 75 new books under my belt. (Okay, okay, one of them was a 60-page book of interview tips. But how else was I supposed to get the job?)

This year, my main goal is to improve as a developer. Setting up this blog is part of that process; I hope to use it not just to share tutorials, but also to write openly about my progress in the programming world. What better way than release notes? (There may be a better way, but this seemed more fun.)

Since this is my first year as a programmer, this issue of my goals is version 1. Each month will be a 'minor update', and I'd like to issue at least one update a month, so February will be 1.2, March will be 1.3, and so on. Since this is my January update, I'm calling it Goals 1.1.0. If I add another update this month, it'll be 1.1.1. But enough semantics. Let's talk about what I hope to accomplish this year!

Overview of My 2019 Goals

My programming goals for this year are fairly broad, and will evolve and get more focused as the year progresses. My main goals for this year are to improve technically as a programmer and get more involved with the programming community. As benchmarks for the second goal, I'd like to:

  • Speak at at least one conference or meetup this year.
  • Have 3 articles on tech-related topics published by online outlets.
  • Engage more with other programmers on Twitter and grow my Twitter following (I'll admit this is a bit shallow, but it's best to be honest!)

Setting these kinds of benchmarks is more challenging when it comes to my technical improvement. Right now I'm focusing on learning Angular, but I'd also like to improve my knowledge of Vue and make more small side projects to improve.

What's New: General Updates

January has been a huge month for me as a developer! I started my first programming job on January 2nd, as a front-end developer in the Hague. I'm really enjoying the work and my colleagues so far, though the drastic change in my free time has been a difficult adjustment! I also started a mentorship program that I'll be able to share more about in the coming months.

Features and Changes: Goal Progress

Technical Progress

As a result of starting my first full-time job in programming, I find that I'm learning very quickly and picking up a lot of practical knowledge that I couldn't get through a platform like Treehouse or Pluralsight. Next to this practical info, I've also done some coursework to continue learning about different technologies. The three courses I've taken are:

  • Angular: The Big Picture and Angular: Getting Started on Pluralsight. I've been taking them at work as part of my training, since my work uses Angular.
  • Mastering Chrome Developer Tools v2 by Jon Kuperman for Frontend Masters. I did this workshop as research for an article I'm working on for my benchmark goal; see below!
  • Design for Developers by Sarah Drasner for Frontend Masters. I adore Sarah and her work, so this workshop was really fun for me, especially since I really enjoy design. This course wasn't primarily technical, but since it was online coursework, I grouped it with the others.

Writing Progress

I've also been making decent progress on my writing goals. I started this blog, and turned in my first draft of an article for a larger tech blog this morning. If all goes well, that draft will eventually be my first published tech piece of 2019.

Additionally, I've recently been brought on as an editor for a publication that I'm really excited about. I can't say too much about it yet, but I hope to be able to talk about it more in next month's update.

Other Progress

I've also signed up to be at this month's meeting for a local JS meetup, which I hope could eventually be my first small-scale speaking opportunity. Though I don't have enough to share to do a talk this month, attending now is the first step to hopefully speaking this spring. Additionally, I've started to cheer people on and help out people with questions in the #codenewbie tag on Twitter.

Known Bugs: Areas to Improve

Right now, it's early enough in the year that I don't feel I'm lagging behind on my programming goals (my personal goals are, unfortunately, another story at the moment). In the future, I hope to use this section to write about areas where I can improve.

Roadmap: What's Next

Focus on Angular

In the coming weeks, I'd like to focus on Angular, ideally completing some more coursework and making a small project using the framework. One possibility is recreating my Chrome extension Compliment Dash in Angular, but I'll admit I'm more swayed by the potential of a new project, though I don't know what that would be.

Start a New Side Project

As I said above, I'd like to create a new side project, ideally something I can knock out in a couple of weeks. I may want to do this in Angular, or may do it in vanilla JavaScript or Vue (another framework I'd like to learn and improve with, though it's not as imperative because it's not used at my work). I love the Vue community and would love to get some more Vue under my belt before the Vue Amsterdam conference.

Research Other Freelance Tech Writing Opportunities

Lastly, I'd like to do some research into other websites and publications where I could publish a tech-related article. With my first article on its way out the door, I don't feel a big rush for the next one, but I'd like to keep momentum up by looking around and brainstorming article ideas.

If you have any questions, comments, or tips for how I'm working on my goals, please comment below! Let's have a conversation.