The One Where 2018 Comes To An End

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via GIPHY

In the moment, it can be difficult to realize what you’ve accomplished in a year.

2018 is no different.

As the year comes to a close, I wanted to reflect on everything that I accomplished—or didn’t—in the past 365 days.


Spoke at Tech Conferences

I might have gone overboard with applying to speak at conferences in the past year. But, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. Speaking at tech conferences is a way for me to give back to my community by sharing my story with other developers.

In May, I spoke at Codeland. I spoke about my experiences with Creating and managing my first ever open source project on Github. Before Codeland, I hadn’t spoken at a conference in almost two years, so I was beyond excited to hear that my proposal had been accepted! Giving that talk and hearing from other Code Newbies that my story—the good and the bad—echoed theirs was touching.

Guide your team with an Email Playbook, Litmus Live, San Francisco

A few months later I spoke at Litmus Live in Boston about a project from my work as an Email Developer. Litmus Live 2016 (then called the Email Design Conference) was the first ever tech conferences I spoke at (and attended) so it was exciting to be back with a new story and new experiences under my belt.

There were a few other conferences I submitted proposals for but did not get picked. And that’s ok! There’s something that can be learned from just applying.

Completed a Mobile Web Specialist Nanodegree

I wrote about this in detail, but to sum it up, completing this Nanodegree was one my biggest personal and professional accomplishments in 2018.

Coming in as one of the 50,000 participants in phase 1 of the Nanodegree, I was in over my head. Javascript was a prerequisite and I knew enough to be dangerous, but the concepts in the initial stages of the course were foreign to me.

Service workers? No, I haven’t actually worked in a restaurant. ES6? Isn’t that a video game convention?

Photo by Hello I'm Nik on Unsplash | https://unsplash.com/photos/z1d-LP8sjuI
Photo by Hello I’m Nik on Unsplash | https://unsplash.com/photos/z1d-LP8sjuI

At the very beginning, I considered giving up. With the help of the community and a whole lot of Googling, I completed phase one of the course. And, to my surprise, made it into phase 2 where the course material got even more difficult and interesting. Over the course of 9 months, we took a Restaurant Reviews app from being static to mobile first to offline friendly while keeping accessibility best practices and load times in mind.

This was huge!

Most of these concepts, I didn’t know existed in 2017. Now, I am comfortable enough with PWAs, IndexedDB and ES6 to build new applications. This course has pushed me in ways I wouldn’t have though up and has inspired me to keep going. I recently started an Intro to Computer Science course and have written my first lines of Python!

Made 312 Contributions on Github

Not bad!

312 contributions on Github in 2018

While slightly less than what I did in 2017, I did participate in more projects overall than I had in previous years. Some through Hacktoberfest—which earned me not one but two shirts this year—and some were projects of my own where I wanted to experiment and try something new.

Promoted to Senior Email Developer

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash | https://unsplash.com/photos/gVWQJQEc6lA
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash | https://unsplash.com/photos/gVWQJQEc6lA

This was a big one.

Getting promoted to Senior Email Developer meant a lot to me, professionally. It helped me to see that I am really, freaking good at what I do and to continue in the direction that I am going.

Over 1100 Tweets

What can I say? I really like Twitter.

Tweet. Tweet. Tweet.

With my total count at 1190 at the time of this post, this number doesn’t surprise me at all. Between tuning into Twitter chats and Tweet-storming at conferences, Twitter is a big part of how I stay connected with the developer & email geek communities.

One thing I tried to do more of this year was to share out interesting, enlightening or helpful articles that I’ve read elsewhere on the web. Usually, I’ll pull a quote from the article and tag the author or publication if I can.


In the last hours of 2018, I look at this list and I’m almost surprised.

This is a lot of stuff.

If you asked in in January if I saw myself as having given tech talks in New York, Boston, and San Francisco, I would have said that sounds unlikely. The same for gaining a deeper understanding of Javascript, or buying a house (!) or even getting a promotion.

But it all happened!

Yes, things got really rough at points—like moving in the middle of trying to keep up with the nanodegree—but I got through it. The hard work, late nights and support network helped to make that happen.

To recap, 2018 was a whirlwind.

I am glad to be through it but am also very thankful for the opportunities—personally and professionally—that have come my way in the past 12 months.

To 2018—thank you! And to 2019—bring it on!

Cheers!

The One Where I Did an AMA on Open Source

It’s Fall. The leaves are changing. The weather is getting colder.

Hacktoberfest is coming.

Open source is an exciting thing. It can also be intimidating. I spoke about my open source experiences at Codeland and a lot of attendees had similar stories or questions.

Inspired by the good folks at dev.to, I decided to open myself up to an AMA (ask me anything) on the topic of creating and managing my first open source project.

The AMA can be found here. I’ll also welcome questions via email, my blog or on Twitter.

Stay spooky.

Talk: What I Learned From Managing My First Open Source Project on Github

Update: Links to my presentation slides are now available for download


It’s hard to believe that Codeland is only a few days away!

via GIPHY

Here, you’ll find some resources and links related to my talk, What I Learned From Managing My First Open Source Project on Github. The conference will be recorded so check back later for slides and video links.

Project Files

How Many Days Until Halloween? – The project that started it all! Not sure how many days until the spookiest day of the year? No worries, this webpage will do the counting for you.

Fork the project files on Github – Peak behind the code and see firsthand how this project evolved over time. Contributions are always welcome!

Presentation Slides [6.5 MB] – A PDF of my presentation slides can be downloaded here.

If you are attending Codeland, these links can also be found in the conference booklet

What I Learned From Managing My First Open Source Project on Github
What I Learned From Managing My First Open Source Project on Github, Codeland 2018

Resources

  • Bootstrap – Bootstrap is an open source toolkit for developing with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript
  • GitHub Glossary – A list of common Git and GitHub specific terms
  • GitHub Guides – Short guides or tutorials covering various GitHub topics and features
  • Hacktoberfest – Hacktoberfest is a month-long celebration of open source software
  • Open Source Guides – An extensive collection of resources for individuals, communities, and companies who want to learn how to run and contribute to an open source project
  • Open Source Survey – The Open Source Survey is an open data project by GitHub and collaborators from academia, industry, and the broader open source community

Terms

  • Conflict – Competing differences between code files
  • Git – A free and open source distributed version control system
  • GitHub – Git repository hosting service and community
  • Markdown – Markdown is a plain text markup language
  • Open Source – Open source software is software that can be freely used, modified, and shared by anyone.
  • Squash – Combining several commits into one

See you at the Conference!


Photo by Shannon Crabill is licensed under CC BY 2.0

It’s Official! I’ll be Speaking at Codeland!

Photo by Matteo Catanese on Unsplash

It’s official! I will be speaking at Codeland in 2018! I’ll be speaking about my experiences in open source and I couldn’t be more excited!

For those who do not know, Codeland is an “interactive, two-day conference filled with talks, panels, and workshops with the most supportive community of programmers and people learning to code.” It is produced by CodeNewbie which is “the most supportive community of programmers
and people learning to code.” CodeNewbie also hosts a popular podcast and weekly Twitter chat.

Codeland is May 4 & 5, 2018 in New York City. Tickets can be purchased here while supplies last!

The One Where I Attended WordCamp Baltimore

Lanyard from the 2017 Baltimore Wordcamp

Last weekend, I attended Baltimore WordCamp.

While the weekend was filled with several great talks, I wanted to share some of my favorite takeaways.

Launching Your Freelance Career the Right Way by Erica Mays
In working as a freelancer for several years, speaker Erica Mays learned a lot. In her talk, a simple and worth repeating advice is to always have a portfolio website. Get a domain name (yourname.com is always a safe bet) and update it at least once every three months. It doesn’t matter if you use a theme or build your site from scratch. Have a portfolio site, keep it clean, responsive and highlight the quality work that you can do.

SASS Isn’t Scary by Beth Soderberg
I’ll be the first to admit, I almost didn’t attend this session because I was spooked by the idea of SASS. Luckily, Beth Soderberg did an amazing job of highlighting what SASS can do and how to get started.

For those who do not know, SASS (Syntactically awesome stylesheet) is a CSS preprocessor that makes managing code easier to maintain by doing some of the work for you. To start with using SASS, you can take an incremental approach. Vanilla CSS can fit right into a .scss file and, technically, that is all you need to start. You can update your SASS file as you learn to nest styles and create mixins. 

It’s Never Just a Website by Jessica Watson
Being a web developer isn’t what defines you. In her talk about websites and working with clients Jessica elaborates that every client has a story. A client has a story and you, the web designer/web developer are only a chapter within that story.

On the subject of working with clients, it may not be a surprised by those website proposals that we spend so much time one, are rarely read. Knowing that, how do you get the information you need and make sure the client is aware of expectations? Start by skipping the cookie-cutter questions. You need to dig deeper. Ask why does their work matter? Who cares about what they do and why?

 

Sessions from the weekend can be viewed on wordpress.tv.

Visit baltimore.wordcamp.org or follow @wordcampbalt and to stay in the loop for next year’s WordCamp!