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. 

One Month of a Remote Internship: Lessons and Observations

This is a cross-post from my article on The Practical Dev.

I have been a remote intern for dev.to for about a month now. I am really enjoying myself; teammates are great, work is challenging, and the atmosphere is really relaxed and enjoyable.

These next few paragraphs are particular to who I am and how I work and not a reflection on the company.

Dealing with “Off Days”

For the past week I have been struggling to get the proper amount of sleep. I have sleep apnea, and while I have lost a considerable amount of weight, I still need a machine to sleep.

I currently don’t have the proper equipment as sometimes your mask’s velcro can become less sticky and they need to ship you a new one, which I am waiting for. This presents a problem for me as I really need it to not wake up a million times a night as I stop breathing. This means that when I wake up in the morning, I am just about dead, and unable to think.

I usually just fake it through the day, watching Rails or JavaScript tutorials and pecking away at the feature I am working on. It is difficult, and I sometimes find myself needing a break.

Dev.to is flexible enough that I can take a break whenever I need to. This doesn’t really reduce the anxiety I feel that I may not be pushing features fast enough.


I should be getting my equipment tomorrow which means I will finally be able to think and be 10x more productive. Additionally, I need to communicate better with the team and let them know where my head’s at.

Learning When to Quit

I have a hard time, especially when in that flow state, of not quitting work. I can go for hours at a time, especially if I am close to finishing a feature or working on a bug. This isn’t a great way to behave, especially as a remote. Blurring the lines between work and home can be hazardous, and knowing when to quit is crucial to not burning out.

I found that I was wanting to work until 9, 10pm when I really should have been unwinding. And early on, Mac reminded me to slow down and not burn myself out. This is not a good way to start any job or internship.


I found an app called Freedom that allows me to not only put a block on social and news sites, but allows me to block desktop apps from a certain time to another. If I am feeling particularly feisty and in the flow state, I put a block on VS Code from 7pm till 8am. I also put a block on places like Udemy and Treehouse though I may cut myself some slack.


Programmers know back pain more than any other type of knowledge worker. We sit and stare at a screen for 8 or more hours daily. This can lead to all types of problems, not just for your back but your overall health.

Coming in I already had a bad lower back. The team was nice and got me a lumbar cushion which helped at first. Adjusting it is hit or miss, and now my back is getting bad again.

I have a Slackbot reminder to stand up that I sometimes heed and sometimes ignore. Regardless, standing is crucial as well as getting enough exercise.


The internship here at dev.to allows me to be able to do things I wouldn’t have been able to do financially. This means I can buy a bus pass now, and get around. I have a gym membership, a couple of them, actually. Now I can finally utilize them. I plan on hitting the gym again, and doing things like Jefferson Curls or bent-legged good mornings and deadlifts to strengthen my back. I used to lift a lot of heavy weights– that’s how I lost the amount of weight I lost a couple years ago. So it only fits that I continue on that path to get stronger and become pain free.


I am a shameless introvert. I am also shy. I find being remote a benefit in this regard. But there are times when I need to reach out and talk to the team, to interact with them outside of just work stuff, and I find that extremely difficult to do.

I did it one day! I felt so proud of myself. But with the sleep issue and the feature I am working on taking longer than my first and the shame that comes with that, I haven’t really been communicating with the team. Jess, Andy and Mac have been great in this regard. Coming out of my shell is a bit hard. I am rather serious and reserved around new people. Once I get to know someone, then things begin to loosen up.


Just talk. As difficult as that is, it is a must. I need to communicate with the team. I need to be social. I am trying. This is a thing I need to overcome, either with a therapist or someone else as social anxiety is a thing for me (it’s even worse IRL). We all have to do what is difficult to actually do great things. So tomorrow, I plan on jumping in the conversations and letting myself be known.


This past month has been seriously enjoyable and I couldn’t ask for a better team to learn with. I need to keep up my end of the bargain. Here’s to another two months!

First Feature and Pull Request


I spent a good week working on our CodePen Liquid Tag feature. It was my first time working with a team on a feature for an app that wasn’t solely mine.

I was nervous. But it was really fun.

Mac, our Senior dev instructed me. He remarked that it didn’t take me long to pick it up and off I went, getting the feature built with time to spare1.

Shortly after, I created my first PR. I can’t tell you how long I’ve waited to make a PR on a project I believed in. I got that chance and it went well.

Feature and PR

I find that, since I spent a lot of time learning JavaScript, Mongo, Mongoose, Node and the like, that digging into Ruby, Rails, ActiveRecord, and things like this aren’t too difficult.

One of the things that helped me was when Mac and Ben told me to look at another file. I was able to discern what to do, and cobbled together a basic framework of the feature. I then built upon that and continued to ask Mac questions which he patiently answered.

I submitted the PR and it was merged shortly after.


I submitted a PR to another project but it wasn’t merged. I wasn’t ready then. But now, I have had two PRs merged and am working on a third feature.

Work Is Fun

The team is great. The perks are great, even for an intern like me. And I absolutely believe in what we’re trying to build.

  1. We don’t have hard deadlines, though, unless it is a critical bug or security flaw. 

The Simplicity of Ruby

When I first started this blog, I was learning Ruby and I loved it.

This was before starting freeCodeCamp or Zed Shaw’s Learn Python the Hard Way series 1.

When I decided I wanted to program for a living, I found some meetups and went to my first one in 2014, Code & Supply where Ruby was the topic; getting it set up on our systems and writing a pretty simple Ruby program.

Ruby was so simple. Take this, for example:

class MyClass
  def initialize(name, age)
    @name = name
    @age = age

If you know anything at all about OOP, you know what is happening here.

Where the beauty of Ruby lies is in its eerily easy to read syntax.

class MyClass

creates a class where we’ll hold all our objects and methods.

def: define. Here we are defining a method initialize with two local variables
name and age. We assign them to the instance variables @name and @age in order to use them outside of the object’s scope. We end the method and class with the end keyword.

Outside of the OOP instance variable syntax, this is super easy to read and understand.

First Day Feels

It is 10pm and I really need to get to bed soon. But I just wanted a chance to write about how patient the team at The Practical Dev has been with me as I learn the ropes.

On-boarding was a breeze and I have already started digging into the codebase.

My first day was fraught with nerves and expectations that I had for myself 2.
Remembering that I am not the sole developer on a project and I have a team to refer to is taking some getting used to. The team is great and I definitely ask questions: have never been shy about that. I am just so damn shy and quiet. This is something I am working on.

They even purchased a lower lumbar cushion and keyboard for me, which I can purchase when I move on.

It has been a great first week so far and I am looking forward to the weeks to come.

  1. LPTHW is quite opinionated and I am not sure if it is still recommended to new developers. 
  2. And very little sleep. Trying to fix that.