2017 Wrap-up and 2018 Goals

Wrapping up a year is never is never a thing one wants to do. At least I don’t.

2017 was an amazing year; I built a full-stack app I was proud of with a course and started another. I was a perfect 12/12 months of blogging for the second year in a row. And, at the end of the year I scored an internship with The Practical Dev.

The beginning of this year has been the total opposite: I am being evicted as my apartment building is renovating and will not be renewing my lease and the shine of the internship has worn off as I struggle to find a place to live and get moved. I’ve made some pretty horrendous errors in the face of all this, after a strong start. I am probably not getting offered. I am okay with it now but wasn’t when I got my 2/3 of the way performance review. I was super depressed for a week or two.

But this is not what I want to talk about. I want to recap the year and look ahead for this one and what I can do after I move to turn things around.

2017 Highs After 2016 Lows

Isn’t it how it always is though?

The Good:

  • I completed a full course on web development without a break. I went through the colossal Web Developer Bootcamp with Colt Steele and built YelpCamp which I am not really developing anymore but am tweaking a bit here and there.
  • I started my own full-stack JavaScript app called Check Yo Self which is still in active development. If I am without a position for a little bit while I get settled into my new place so be it. I’ll continue to work on this app.
  • I got offered the dev.to internship.
  • I gained 300 Twitter followers which opened up a whole new network to me I didn’t have previously. This has been a boon to my job search.
  • I was on the Developer on Fire Podcast. It was super fun talking to Dave Rael again.

The Bad:

  • Couldn’t finish school.
  • That’s it!

Goals for 2018

I am currently looking for positions outside of dev.to. I enjoyed my time there but if I am being honest the way I utterly messed up after they gave me a chance…not even sure if I can look them in the face. I will have to, but it will be hard. Really hard1.

I am not a quitter though so while this is a setback it is a minor one and thanks to my friends and mentors Craig Lang and Pablo Rivera I am not dangling off the edge as much as I was. They’ve been instrumental in lifting my spirits.

Without further ado, goals.

  • Get hired as a junior developer working with a primarily JavaScript stack. Rails is okay as I built a Blog app in it, simple CRUD without auth or limiting certain interactions with certain users2. I’d prefer JavaScript though as I am more familiar with it3.
  • Move to a nicer home. This place is shite. So I am glad I need to move. It is just finding a place within the amount of time I am allotted that is the issue.
  • Stop worrying about vanity metrics for the blog. Pablo explained to me that if I’m not selling anything, looking at my analytics isn’t going to do anything for me. Traffic without a product is all but meaningless.
  • Learn: React, Redux, Angular, Typescript, Vue, Vuex, built-in JavaScript APIs and other JavaScript frameworks. I just bought Wes Bos’s React for Beginners course and am excited to dig into it.
  • Gain another 300 followers.
  • Finish Check Yo Self. I need to find time to work on side projects without burning out.
  • Create some interesting and useful libraries and open source them. This will be interesting considering everything I hear about women getting shut down in open source. We’ll see.
  • Dive more into animations with CSS and WebAnimations API.

There Are Probably More

But I am tired and can’t think of them right now. These are the main things I want to get done this year.


  1. Saying that made me start to cry. I’ve been crying a lot lately. It’s been really hard to know your shot at developing full time is dashed for a bit. I’m down, but not out. 
  2. For instance, anyone can delete a post by any user. Any user can delete a user. It was basically just an exercise for me to show I can navigate around a Rails app and am able to use my theoretical knowledge of OOP and MVC to a real world app. 
  3. I plan on learning other stacks as well. Learning Rails has been a fun experience even though it isn’t my preference. 

New Years Goals Follow-up

new_years_goals

First Three Months

How am I doing on the goals I set for myself? The next five bullet points will address this.

  • Code everyday. This was very hard to do when I was a student in the traditional sense. But since I left academia to pursue coding on my own time, I code every single day. Not kidding. Between working on Free Code Camp projects or just doing coding exercises, I code ever yday when I have the most energy, which is right after dinner.
  • Get more exercise. This one is a total fail. I was very depressed during my time this semester as a student. To give you an example of this: I only just left my apartment yesterday after not being out of it since February 11th. I went for a walk yesterday. I had been without some crucial medicine which caused me to not get real sleep for four days. The walk yesterday was much needed but I completely fell apart when I got back. My body is not used to not moving around for long periods of time. I plan on getting back to the gym once my body gets acclimated to moving around again, and once I am fully rested and hydrated.
  • Get more sleep. Eh. Kind of. Now that I have nowhere to go during the day, I can sleep in. But I don’t want to make this a routine practice. I really, ideally, would like to get up at 11:30 am and be in bed by 1:30 am.
  • Put more effort into school. I quit. Nothing more to say there.
  • Read more. This one is an emphatic win. I have read 13 books so far, thanks to audiobooks.

Next Three Months

I will probably do better in the exercise and sleep department, as I need to. I also want to get to more meetups. I can do that now that I am not pressed for time.

I will be sharing my progress and reassessing what I need to get done in three months. These goals may change.

New Years To-dos: Every Day is a New Day

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language,
And next year’s words await another voice.”
― T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets

Every day is a new day is how I go around thinking about life. It’s a must because I suffer from depression among other things. Go to bed depressed knowing that the day after, the sun is shining and things will be better as the day starts over and there are plenty of opportunities.

I am going to apply this to other aspects of my life, especially when it comes to coding and getting better as a programmer. So here are my New Years To-dos. I don’t do resolutions.

  • Code every day. I need to get more practice. I have a mentor now and that is super great but I have to put in the effort to keep at it. Some days I find myself looking into the Code Newbie Slack team and seeing people working their tails off. When I played basketball, I’d continuously practice every aspect of the game until I was really, really good. Same thing applies here. To learn a new skill, it requires focus and practice.
  • Get more exercise. My back is a mess. I sit too much without standing. I have gained back a good amount of the weight I took off two years ago. My hip flexors are so tight from all the sitting, my back also, that my knees are suffering as well. I took a big step to rectifying my issues by investing in an ergonomic chair. Need to actually stand up during intense periods of sitting and getting back into lifting weights at Wright’s Gym. Not only does it make you feel badass after a good session, it helps keep you focused and energized.
  • Get more sleep. Coding well into the morning and writing blog posts or whatever well until you can’t see isn’t fine for anyone. I may be older, but even young coders need sleep. Seriously. Go to bed if you’re reading this past 11:30 PM.
  • Put more effort into school. I mentioned this in my last post so I won’t go over too much of it here. Effort pays off, as I found out by sharing and being more vocal about my experiences this year.
  • Read more. I read 23 books this year. That’s not enough. I just started to appreciate audiobooks that I take out from the school and local libraries so that will help get my book count up. I pride myself on reading as much as possible, whether books or articles.

Some other things

Taking a break is important to staying fresh. I want to start going for more walks down in Oakland or Squirrel Hill. Clearing my head keeps me just as sane as smashing a 1RM on a deadlift. It’s important, kind of like meditating.

I also now don’t get as frustrated at things that stump me, I just go search for an answer or come back to it later. I hope to continue that trend in 2016 and forward.

Stay Sharp

I plan to start all this tomorrow evening. So as we say at the gym, Let’s get it.

5 Things I Learned About Myself This Semester

This semester was a rollercoaster, boy. Started out strong and finished like a sputtering car, chugging along to finals week and dying in a heap of smoke and fire.

Here are the five things I learned about myself this semester. You may be asking why I am doing this. It is for me, mostly, to spew out the good things as well as the bad so that I have a framework to go into next semester with. Letting the world know keeps me accountable, I suppose.

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  1. I don’t quit. Instead I fight through whatever ails me, whether that be sickness, not being able to grok material, and coding well into the morning when I know it’s futile. I. Don’t. Quit.
  2. I actually am getting better at coding. This may seem terribly bombastic considering I got a C as my final grade in my Intro to CS class. But I started sniffing all my code smells and correcting them. Had I given the textbook a reference during my final project and actually reworked some Treehouse problems, I am sure I could have gotten a B and kept my B grade.
  3. Electives are boring. I should have never gotten a C in a class as easy as Chinese Thought. Problem was I was bored midway through the semester. I half-assed my midterm paper and had absences that weren’t excused because I just didn’t show. I half-assed a class I didn’t want to take in the first place but for the sake of diversity, I must have it. It showed in my poor grade.
  4. Need to put in more effort. This isn’t community college anymore. This is the big leagues and I didn’t treat it as such this term. This coming term will be better for me as I know what it takes. I am also taking Mastering the University, which is offered by the College of General Studies. I need a 3.5 this semester to bring up the 2 I got last semester so I can go to Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences for my official CS major. Effort starts now.
  5. I need to make more of an effort to be social. I need to go to WiCS meetings and SSS movie nights and events. I need to take advantage of the great things being offered to me, old curmudgeon or not. I am unique. I have things to offer. I am an introvert so this will take all I have but it will be worth it, hopefully.

There they are. Time to get going on rectifying mistakes and extending myself.

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