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Reflecting on my 2022 Developer Journey

Photo by David van Dijk on Unsplash

Reflecting on my 2022 Developer Journey

Hard Lessons, Achievements, and Resolutions

Victor Eke 's photo
Victor Eke
ยทJan 28, 2023ยท

13 min read

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I've been thinking to myself, what did I achieve in 2022, what decisions did I make, and what has been the implications of each action? In this post, I'll be answering all of these questions by sharing my 2022 journey as a developer.

In 2022, I went through a lot of highs and lows. To keep it concise, I will only mention the most significant occurrences of each month. My intention is to use this as a tool for personal growth in the future, both in my development skills and as an individual.

January - February

1. Quit my Job

It's a new year and I had just quit my job as sales/repairs technician at a local computer store. This was one of my main goals in 2022; Leaving this job so I can radically focus on my learning and hopefully land a full-time developer role.

Quitting wasn't an easy decision for me because I really loved working as a repairs technician despite earning a salary I'm too embarrassed to share. I've always had a keen interest for computers, how to take it apart, couple it, soldering and whatnot.

But I knew staying at this job was going to further hinder me from my goals for the year. So I left.

Me sitting on my office repair desk

Picture of me sitting at my work table

Now I had more time which was dedicated to continue my JavaScript learning and writing articles.

I spent approximately 16hrs each day coding. At every point in time, even at midnight while my family slept. It almost became an obsession. There were moments I would even spend the whole night coding. While these made me progress even faster, my health derailed immensely.

I fell sick on several occasions, struggling with dental issues that affected my productivity and overall well-being. Going to visit a dentist was out of the question because of how expensive they can be. So I had to manage it using antibiotics for a long time.

Aside from health issues, I wasn't earning any money, it became difficult to purchase data subscription to continue my learning.

Luckily, my sister owned a cleaning business she ran on her spare time. So I opted to join her in cleaning whenever she had a contract or job. This enabled me to raise money occasionally to continue my learning.

Me cleaning up an office as a cleaner

This job was the bit of fresh air I needed and the right excuse to leave JavaScript for a while. Eventually my health started returning gradually. Thank God.

2. Turned down a job offer out of fear

At this point I've learned quite a lot and built several projects. To showcase my skills and experience, I set-up my LinkedIn profile utilizing a tutorial series by Danny Thompson. Shortly after, I received an email from a recruiter on LinkedIn. They offered me a remote front-end development position with a firm located in Hamburg, Germany.

But I turned down the role because I was too scared and felt like I didn't know enough to take on any roles at this point.

3. CommunityPro first open-source project

I founded CommunityPro in 2021 with the help of Emmanuel Tanimowo and Melford Birakor, and for a while now, we've been planning to start an open source project but couldn't due to time constraints and my work. But since I quit my job, we finally had time to build our very first community project.

The project is Practice Contribution. We started this project to assist members that were not familiar with open-source to learn how to contribute for the first time. We worked at it and got over 40 new contributors.

4. CommunityPro second project

Due to the success of the first project, we started another project, a portfolio template built with HTML, CSS and JavaScript. I was more proud of this project because I got several messages from developers who learned how collaborating in building projects actually felt like, plus a few other developers used the template to customize their portfolio.

Here's a screenshot of what the portfolio looks like.

Below are a few testimonials from some of the contributors. Maybe not much, but I was glad we could help as many people as possible.

Read Reviews and Testimonials

March - April

1. Won $1000 in Hashnode Hasura Hackathon

Hashnode announced a hackathon on the 1st of March; The Hasura Hashnode hackathon. I've always being interested in Hashnode's previous hackathons but I sadly didn't have the knowledge to participate in one.

So I collaborated with a friend of mine, Spiff Jekey-Green to build a meme generator called Rocketmeme.

This was my first experience working with React. I had to watch several crash courses on YouTube in other to build the frontend. Despite the difficulty and almost failure to submit, Rocketmeme was one of the winning projects in the Hackathon.

View announcement

2. Live Coding Session

I was invited by a previous company I worked with back in 2021 to teach developers interested in getting into open source the basics of HTML, CSS and JavaScript by building the Advice Generator on Frontendmentor.

It was both a fun and frightening experience. Though the recording wasn't all that great, there was still some value to be gotten from the session, and most importantly, it made me aspire to start making YouTube content, which is one of my main goals for the new year.

April - May

1. Got a freelance gig

Winning the Hashnode Hasura hackathon opened up a new opportunity for Spiff and I. After seeing what we could do, a friend referred us for a contract project at a start-up to build a file sharing service / storage web app.

We worked tirelessly for about 2 months building the product but unfortunately, they couldn't get funding to continue so the project had to stop. It was pretty disappointing.

2. Started Portfolio Ideas

At this point, I was looking to redesign my portfolio site, victoreke.com but I couldn't find much inspiration on the internet. So I started curating portfolio ideas by taking screenshots of portfolio websites I liked. One day it occurred to me that if I ever loose this folder, all the screenshots will be gone. So I created an open source project โ€”portfolio-ideas to store the portfolios I curated.

3. Won a Cloudinary Jamstack Hackathon

I got an invite for a developer meetup organized by Cloudinary at TechChreek, Port Harcourt. At the event, there was an ongoing hackathon being held. Just for fun, I opted to participate which made them pair me with two other amazing developers. We spent approximately 2hrs working on the project. Eventually we presented and to my greatest surprise, we came second.

They gave us cash prizes, swags, stickers. Etc. It was fun.

June - July

1. Wrote about Portfolio Ideas on Hashnode

It's being almost a month since Portfolio Ideas was created. I decided to write about it so more people could know about the project and maybe contribute to it.

The article received a lot of high praises and great reviews that it was quickly featured on daily.dev. Read article

As I write this article, portfolio ideas has crossed over 1000 stars on GitHub. I even wrote about how I achieved this in just 4 months. You can read the article below.

2. Participated in Hashnode Planetscale Hackathon

Spiff, Nicholas and I teamed up to participate in this new hackathon by Hashnode. We built a platform for recognizing developers making impact through endorsements from other developers. We used NextJS, Tailwind CSS, and Prisma. The project was called Spekni.

Unfortunately, Spekni did not win.

3. Contributed to Vite

I've been a huge fan of Vite since their inception. After they announced the release of Vite 3.0, I was excited and went to read the announcement on their docs site but I noticed an error on a code snippet that overflowed out of the screen so I raised a discussion on the Vite repository on to report it.

One of Vite's core team member responded almost immediately. I was surprised! The issue was assigned to me to fix.

The next day, I fixed the issue and raised a pull request which got merged few hours after I raised it. Seriously, I've never contributed to a more responsive project before. The Vite team response rate is amazing.

This was my second experience contributing to a large open source project. Felt unreal, and it still does.

July was an amazing month for me. I was grateful to have achieved so much in such a short time. However, I was still struggling with my health and it was becoming increasingly harder to be consistent. So far I've quit my job, couldn't go for cleaning jobs either. I needed a way to start generating income.

I spoke with a few friends who convinced me to apply to a few companies hiring technical writers. Towards the end of July, I applied to Content Lab and Draft.dev.

None got back to me.

August - September

1. Got into freeCodeCamp as a contributor

Despite applying to several companies for writing, I got no response from any. I was reluctant to apply to freeCodeCamp because I didn't want to be disappointed again.

Eventually, I picked up the courage and applied on June 22 2022. With no feedback in two weeks, I assumed the same fate has been met with the paid platforms. A few days later, I received an email from Quincy Larson (Founder of freeCodeCamp), congratulating me for being accepted into the program. It was an amazing day for me.

So far I have contributed 4 articles to freeCodeCamp, and by the end of 2022, I was among the freeCodeCamp top contributors of the year.

2. Turned down another developer job

This time a bigger company contacted me about a remote JavaScript role in Florida, US looking for a senior software engineer with a huge focus on JavaScript.

Despite having a year of experience writing JavaScript and building projects with React, I did not consider myself to be a senior developer, much less a "an absolute 10x engineer" as mentioned in the email.

Regardless, it's sad I couldn't believe in my self. I've worked very hard, spent so much time learning and building projects, but I still felt intense imposter syndrome towards my skills which made me realize that no matter how much I developed myself, it won't matter if I didn't start believe in myself.

As I write this article, I still feel regretful for not accepting this role. This realization shows me that my decision was not a good one, and it cannot be undone. In summary, I learned a valuable lesson.

3. Got a great freelance startup gig

After working with Spiff on the hackathon together, we got a freelance gig from a real estate company that involved a good fee and equity.

The project stack is in NextJS, Tailwind CSS, Google Map and Planetscale. The timeline we set to complete this project is 4 months, and currently we are about to deploy the app for the first time. I am quite excited about this project and can't wait to share it at the end.

October - December

1. Got a frontend developer contract role

Early October a friend of mine who worked for a company in Texas reached out to me to discuss a project redesign they wanted to embark on, and felt I would be a good fit for the role. Their frontend stack was in Angular and Material UI, two technologies I knew nothing about, and was not interested in getting into. "I've read too many articles and posts about how terrible AngularJS was"

On the day of the interview, I was given a take-home assignment that involved building a complete dashboard in AngularJS. To get up to speed on AngularJS, I used Brad Traversy's video on YouTube.

Brad did a good job explaining the concepts but I still struggled with a few things, and the docs weren't much help most of the time. While I loved Angular's concept of separating concerns, it made navigating the folder structure a nightmare.

I shared my frustration online

However, the more time I spent time with it, the easier it was to understand. I developed some quick shortcuts that enabled me work faster. Maybe I might share that in another article.

Eventually I was able to complete the assignment and got offered the role. It took about 3 months to study the enormous code base and complete the redesign of their application. They were impressed by my work and till today I still can't believe I was able to pull it off.

For now my contract has elapsed as we've built an MVP, but I'm confident and hoping after the product release, I'll be offered a full-time role.

Fingers crossed. ๐Ÿคž๐Ÿฝ

2. Traveled to Lagos to see my siblings

At the end of 2022, I visited my brothers and sisters in Lagos, and we had some quality time together.

3. Got my first donation ever!

Few days before the end of 2022, I received an anonymous donation of $5 to my buymeacoffee account. It has been truly humbling to hear from so many people who have found value in my open source work, blog posts, or tutorials. I never imagined that my efforts would inspire others to not only show their appreciation but also support the efforts of the community financially.

If you're reading this post, bjalexandru, please know that I am grateful for your support. โค๏ธ

Goals for 2023

This is the most important part of this post, and probably one of the reasons I took a while to write it. By carefully reflecting on my past mistakes, I have documented all I plan on achieving in this new year.

  1. Start a YouTube channel with a huge focus in CSS, JavaScript, and TypeScript. There are several topics I've always looked for but couldn't find on YouTube. I plan on dedicating my channel to produce such content. You can subscribe to my YouTube channel in the meantime.

  2. Write 32 articles. I wrote 16 articles in 2022 without any writing goals. I plan to double this number.

  3. Visit a dentist. Stay away from carbonated drinks and sugar.

  4. Complete my JavaScript learning. Despite working with several frameworks, there are still so many JavaScript concepts left for me to learn.

  5. Learn Python. To continue my journey towards full-stack development.

  6. Enroll into the Harvard CS50 introduction to computer science course.

  7. Put my parents on a payroll.

  8. Build a better setup. I've made a Notion list of all I need to build my setup in the new year. Hopefully, I get to tick all the boxes.

  9. Donate to CommunityPro members. I plan to assist with data subscriptions, money, laptop, in any way I can.

  10. Rebuild my portfolio site with NextJS and TypeScript, and MDX.

  11. Land a full-time remote developer role.

Summary

I wasn't planning on writing this article because I felt I made a lot of mistakes in 2022, but doing so has helped me gain a better understanding of myself, I've been able to identify the thought patterns and behaviors that has been holding me back, such as imposter syndrome and self-doubt.

With gratitude for all the experience 2022 brought me, I am confident that 2023 will be an even better year, although it would not be possible without the immense help and support from the amazing people I happened to meet. Among this list are those that inspire me to do better. I appreciate you all for being awesome. In no particular order:

  • Boluwatife The VueLord

  • Nicholas Ovunda

  • Spiff Jekey-Green

  • Victoria Lo

  • Emmanuel Tanimowo

  • Abbey Rennemeyer

  • Quincy Larson

  • Israel Mitolu

  • Franklin Ohaegbulam

  • Victor Ikechukwu

  • David Herbert

  • Idris Olubisi

  • Eedris

  • Eleftheria Batsou

  • The entire Hashnode team

And many other people too numerous to mention. Thank you all for your support and for being a huge source of inspiration to me.

See you at the end of 2023...


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