Dev Retro 2022: What made me a better developer this year?

Dev Retro 2022: What made me a better developer this year?

Are developers, coders, and programmers the same? I used to think they were all the same until I met the year 2022. Here goes my dev retro 2022.

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10 min read

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Prologue

Writing about the Dev Retro 2022 will be a bit off track if I do not discuss the journey briefly before it, which shaped my career as a blogger. The year 2021 was about writing. Writing here on my blog, freeCodeCamp, CSS-Tricks, Dev, and many other platforms.

At the end of 2021, I could establish myself as a technology blogger on the prominent platforms mentioned. The most exciting fact was that I was one of the top contributors/most-read authors on all these platforms.

While these achievements were immense, I was still wondering about doing something else, trying something different in 2022. To be honest, I was trying to put myself out of my comfort zone, banking on all experiences I've gained over the years.

This article captures my journey of becoming a better developer this year. I hope it inspires you somehow, and if it does, I'll appreciate you leaving a comment. Also, for some of you who are part of this journey, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart ❀️.

The aim for the stars

Modern developers are not just coders, software creators, and programmers. They are expanding their horizon as content creators, open-source enthusiasts, thought leaders, speakers, community builders, mentors, and even teachers.

However, this expansion is not easy, and knowledge alone can't help. You need to take your foot out of your comfort zone and try things you wouldn't have imagined doing but had a dream about.

At the start of 2022, I made a bucket list of such items and told myself,

If you don't do these, no problem! But if you do these, it will not only solve your problems but also help many others start their journey.

So, my bucket list contained,

  • πŸ”³ Create a community-driven Open Source project that positively impacts developers.

  • πŸ”³ Overcoming the fear of Public Speaking.

  • πŸ”³ Start Open Mentoring and Connecting with students and developers on 1:1 chat to help them with their career goals.

  • πŸ”³ Focus on the video content where I have to show my face, talk, and teach.

The Journey is more Important...

They say the "journey is more important than the destination". The journey teaches you things that can take you beyond the destination you could imagine. The rest of the article focuses on the journey itself than the achievements of my bucket list items.

Building a community-driven Open Source project

Open source has fascinated me since my Novell days. I loved the idea of source code being open to view, enhance, contribute, and distribute. Before 2022, I had made contributions to several open source projects and maintained a few without any goals.

You can check out my GitHub profile and work from here: https://github.com/atapas

In 2022, I started a project called ReactPlay , an Open Source platform for web and mobile developers to learn ReactJS with a practice-based model.

The ReactPlay Website

The platform provides ideas to build projects, and you are welcome to bring your ideas. The ReactJS experts will review your code to tell you how to develop ReactJS applications. Once the code reviews are done, your project will be publicly published and available on the ReactPlay platform to inspire many web developers.

Today, the platform is driven by a community on Discord and has a social presence on Twitter, LinkedIn, and its blog. Since its inception in April 2022, the community have done excellent work, such as,

  • Published 60 projects(we call them plays)

  • 73 contributors have contributed to the project that has got 500+ stars and 300+ forks on GitHub.

  • The community hosted a worldwide Hackathon called Hack-R-Play on October 2022.

  • Hosted several Twitter spaces with tech experts.

  • We hosted YouTube Live to discuss Open Source, Interview Preparations, and Jobs.

  • Created the community-driven blog hosted on the Hashnode platform.

  • Made FOSS representation.

  • Implemented several features that made ReactPlay a better platform for creators and users.

You can check out more about ReactPlay from here:

The ReactPlay community is passionate about taking the platform further in 2023 with more features, project-driven cohorts, resources, and more.

While ReactPlay has been a fantastic journey so far, hacktoberfest event in 2022 was remarkable. I have mentored many to get started with Open Source, with 15 GitHub repositories that were part of the event to contribute.

One of the most significant accomplishments was to publish a complete handbook for developers to start their journey with Open Source. This book was published on freeCodeCamp news, giving me much constructive feedback and messages confirming that it helped many!

Oh yes! Let me call out one more thing. Overnight Growth is mostly miracle or phishy. The rest of it needs Determination and Consistency. It takes time and effort and needs patience!

I can talk about my interest in contributing to and maintaining Open Source projects over the years. I started late, but it's "late than never". Now, I'm glad to see how it has moved after these years!

Overcoming the fear of "Public Speaking"!

For most of my career, I wondered how people get so easy on stage while delivering a talk! How do they gather the courage to stand in front of audiences and get things going? I got the answer only after I had an opportunity to do the same. It's all about doing it and killing the fear.

In 2022, I have done 20+ public speaking online and in physical events. Here goes my learning from it:

Public speaking issues

The fear of public speaking is real, but it is much easier to get out of it. Public speaking is like drinking coffee! You be cautious about the first sip and then slowly get used to the temperature, then enjoy the taste of it. Start doing it in smaller circlesβ€”post CFP for online and offline public speaking opportunities.

Here is a Twitter thread that you must go through if you are interested in this topic.

I'm updating my website with all the talks I have done so far. It will have links to the talks and their background stories. I shall publish it in Jan 2023 and let you know on Twitter and LinkedIn. Stay tuned.

Open Mentoring and Connecting

I'm thrilled to connect to many developers, students, and content creators on social media platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Showwcase. Many of the connections were so fruitful that they ended up learning from each other or collaborating.

However, in late August 2022, I decided to meet people in the 1:1 coffee chats for free. So I started taking out 3-4 hours every weekend to talk to anyone who wanted to catch up with me and discuss their career, aspirations, web development, full-stack, content creation, or anything they find as a common interest.

I must say that I've enjoyed every bit of it. It's also motivating to hear that I've added value to their time and career.

Testimonials on Topmate

So far, I've done 26 such sessions. The Open Mentoring and connecting with developers gave me confidence that I can continue the same in 2023, even on a larger scale.

I also got a chance to interact with developers from Bangladesh and had great discussions on Resume building, GitHub, Open Source, and career. This session opened the door for many more 1:1 discussions after that.

Experimenting with YouTube

Creating video content was always in my mind, but there were self-doubts too! I've killed the doubts forever. At the start of 2022, I made a public commitment on Twitter that I shall build an audience on YouTube and deliver quality content.

Unfortunately, I couldn't give as much time to create YouTube videos as I wanted, but I could still reach some exciting milestones.

Please check out my YouTube Channel and Subscribe.

  • I've created 34 videos, including a comprehensive ReactJS series containing 20+ videos. The other videos are on JavaScript, Git, Open Source, Tips & Tricks, and Content creation. I had the target of creating at least 100 videos in 2022, but all other things discussed so far have taken a higher priority.

  • The channel has got 4.6K+ subscribers as of writing this post. My goal was to reach 10K by the end of the year. I'm not even close to it with a few days remaining, but I am satisfied with what I've now.

  • The channel crossed over 122K views.

  • Numerous constructive comments confirm that the content wins.

  • Finally, I've started earning from the YouTube ad revenues.

We are not done yet!

That's all about my bucket list and the journey to accomplish them. But we are not done yet! It will be unfair to myself and many others if I do not call out some crucial wins of 2022.

GitHub Sponsors

Since GitHub opened up the sponsorship option in India, it has helped many creators and contributors like me. Sponsorship is proof of your quality work that is helping out the community. I can't express my excitement enough for getting multiple sponsorships in a single year.

Some were private and one-time sponsorship, but a couple of ongoing sponsorships from daily.dev and Anusha made it very special.

Hitting 1 Million+ Page Views

3 years back, when I started my blog, I never had thought of a milestone like a million page views. Guess what? I made it in 2022, and it's going strong.

FreeCodeCamp Top Contributor (Once again!)

It is highly prestigious to me and everyone on that list of top contributors for 2022 from freeCodeCamp. I haven't made as many contributions as I had done in 2021 but very glad that my limited contributions still made an impact.

The Showwcase Fusion

In September 2022, Showwcase organized its first-ever in-person meetup event in Bangalore, India. It was amazing to be part of it as a speaker and core organizing committee member. The event was such a success!

Technical Writing Paid Off

I've been writing articles for the last 3.5 years and paid articles for a couple of years. I thought of spending my earnings from writing to buy the required gear like a microphone, wireless keyboard, big monitor, etc. However, it had grown enough in 2022 that help me achieve a long pending dream, the Mac.

A disclaimer: You do not need a mac to become the best developer or content creator. The mention of Mac here is not to boast but to communicate that if you have dreams, work towards them. You will reach with your hard work and consistency.

An Incredible 15K+ Hashnode Followers

Thank you, Hashnode. Thank you, my followers, here. Having such a healthy number of followers on a blogging platform is incredible. I take it as an acknowledgement of my work on this platform through my content and community interactions. Thank You!

Meeting the Hashnode CEO & Co-founder

How can I miss this one? I had an opportunity to meet the one and only Syed Fazle Rahman recently. It was indeed one of the most memorable events of 2022 for me.

I have more and must have missed a few! Let's stop here for the sake of this article not becoming an e-book.

My BIG plans for 2023

This article is incomplete without laying out the foundation for the new year 2023. I'm sure about what I will try as long as my health and a good time are with me. Here are some targets:

  • Growing my YouTube channel at least 10X larger than today.

  • Completing 100+ free 1:1 coffee chats with folks.

  • I'll continue to write on my blog, dev, freeCodeCamp, and paid articles more consistently.

  • We will make ReactPlay a platform for project-based learning.

  • I'll publish 2 e-books, and one of them will be on JavaScript.

Epilogue

Developers are not just coders! They need to expand. Today networking, community, and connection-building are as important as learning to code. I've made conscious efforts in 2022 to explore some uncomfortable sides of myself, and I'm proud I did that.

Whatever it may be in the store tomorrow, I am confident in the skill I've built in the last year. Let me take this opportunity to thank everyone who believed in me and my work and chose to connect with me. I wish each one of you the very best.


Let's connect. You can follow me on Hashnode, and I also share tips on Software Development, Content Creation, Open Source, and Career on these platforms.

Have a great year ahead, and I will meet you soon on the other side.

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