2022: Year in Review
Have you ever looked back a certain period of time; a week, a month, a year, and thought you haven't done anything? I have. We all have. Sometimes I think I haven't learned anything, looking at what's left to learn. Sometimes I think I haven't done anything looking at what's left undone.
We look at things we wanted to accomplish but didn't have time or space. Yet we often forget things we did accomplish as if they don't count at all.
Small achievements matter. Consistency matters. Not doing something matters as well.
I decided it was time to build a new, more polished, website. The old version was not the best, but it server well when I didn't have any professional experience. Now that I was working as an iOS Developer for over a year, I needed something different.
I chose Publish and spent four months learning how to build a website in Swift. It was a steep, but fun, learning curve. I've enjoyed tinkering with it. Polishing the website with CSS took the longest. Adding padding, choosing fonts and colors took whole month of April. I had to stop and set a publish date. It'll never be perfect. And that was not the point.
~ Perfection is the enemy of done.
I published my first blog post in May. After deploying my website, it took a while to get started writing. My first post took me three weeks. I had to sort a lot of styling issues and add missing components on the website. But I finally did it.
After that, I continued publishing new posts every two weeks. I write on Monday and publish on Tuesday. I didn't want to take on too much work. Publishing on a weekly schedule was a bit too much, so I chose what works for me.
Today I'm writing my 15th blog post. The last one for the year.
It takes time to write, but I love writing. I used to write love poems and short stories when I was 10. I've been writing ever since.
I met Adam during Kodeco's Community Care event in 2020. He was running one of the events and I participated in all of them.
When he invited me to speak at SwiftLeeds 2021, a conference he organized in Leeds, UK, I asked him if he was serious. I thought he wanted to invite someone else and invited me by mistake. I didn't think I had anything of value to share.
We agreed I'd speak about my career journey and how I left my 10 years of Civil Engineering to become an iOS Developer.
I was scared and excited at the same time. This was an opportunity for me to try public speaking. I never spoke at a conference before and I never would've imagined I'd be preparing for my sixth talk.
In June this year, kodeco decided to run another bootcamp. After giving it some thought, I decided to mentor a group of students. I became one of the four mentors and had 12 students.
We spent two months polishing curriculum content, creating homework assignments and materials before bootcamp even started. It ran for 14 weeks. I led breakout rooms for my group of students, graded their homework, and tried my best to teach them coding practices and how to be good developers.
It was a lot of work. I tried to give them as much of my time as I could, but it wasn't easy navigating a full time job and mentoring a cohort of students. But it was a rewarding experience. I only hope I was able to give them good foundation they can build on.
I feel like a proud parent hearing their success stories and cheering them to succeed. I learned a great deal about mentoring, giving feedback, and how to look at concepts from different perspective to be able to explain it in a way someone else can understand.
Learning to say no
It's not easy to say no, but saying no opens doors to other opportunities. It also keeps you sane. Take as much work as you can handle, don't overwork yourself.
It's important to say no. Don't feel bad about it. Prioritize.
I've been juggling just enough work not to feel overwhelmed. Or at least I thought so. I felt overwhelmed on a few occcassions when work overlapped. I wished I didn't took as much work as I did. I wished I said no.
When the right opportunity presents itself, sometimes, you have to sacrifice things. It can't always be easy. But it doesn't have to be hard either. Learn to manage your time and listen to yourself.
I had to say no to a few conferences and events. I couldn't manage writing a new article every week. I had to postpone a few other endeavours as well. You can only do as much with your time. Always make sure you can handle everything you do say yes to.
~ It's better to do a few things well, than a lot of things poorly.
New Year 2023
Speaking at conferences takes a lot of time. People only see and hear the talk, but preparation starts a few months before that. There's a lot of research, reading, making notes, creating slides, and rehearsing the talk. If you don't reuse the topic, you have to do this for every talk you give. It's a lot of work.
For next year, I plan to slow down with conferences. I'll see you at iOSConfSG in January and Deep Dish Swift in May. For now.
I plan to continue writing for kodeco and on my personal blog every two weeks. I learn great deal by writing and it makes me a better developer.
One thing I'd love to do next year is publish my first iOS app. I started working on it in August this year, but had to put it on hold for other things. I didn't want to overwork myself and no one would benefit from it. Not me, not my loved ones.
I have an idea for my app all broken down in detail and I wrote down what I want from an MVP. I even wrote the mission statement.
All that's left to do is get to work! I'm hoping this will keep me accountable.
It's nice to look back at the year and see things you've accomplished. A year is a long time and we tend to forget everything we've done. Sit down and think what you did because you did a great deal. You've probably learned new things, worked with new APIs or did something else you should be proud of. Any small thing matters. It doesn't have to be life altering.
Cheered on a colleague who did something great? Volunteered to do something at work that you weren't comfortable with, but did it anyway? Managed to solve a complex problem? You've done a lot. You're amazing.
Don't forget, we all have different life situations and take different paths. Don't look at what others are doing. Look at what you did and celebrate even smallest achievements.
Please feel free to reach out on Twitter if you have any questions, comments, or feedback.
Thank you for reading. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Hope you're taking some time to recharge and spend them with your loved ones.