Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015: my year of coding in review.

Wow, what a year.  

I started over this year.  And... it's really, really hard to start over.  It's hard because it kinda means throwing away what you are comfortable with.  But that's exactly what I did at the beginning of this year.  I walked away from 7 years of working as a scientist in pharmaceuticals and hoped that somehow I would reboot myself as a web developer by the end of year.

Here's a big list of stuff I did this year:

  • I got a coding internship.
  • I commuted 3 hours every day on the train.
  • I read a lot of coding books.
  • I spent my weekends doing online courses on treehouse & codecademy.
  • I got a full-time coding job.
  • I read Sandi Metz's Practical Object-Oriented Design in Ruby twice.
  • I got some new titles: full-stack developer | Ruby on Rails dev | coder | web developer.
  • I coached at a RailsGirls weekend workshop.
  • I got a lot better at Ruby on Rails.
  • didn't learn as much Dutch as I hoped to. :-/
  • I went to Burning Man.
  • I bought a place in Amsterdam and got rid of that crappy long train commute.
  • I learned some jQuery, AngularJS, Polymer & ReactJS.
  • I hosted an all-day talk/workshop/training for RailsGirls_NL.  First time I've done anything like that before.  This was one of the highlights of my year.  I met cool people and got to talk about coding... total win/win situation for me.
  • I get to be creative in how I build stuff and solve problems.  I feel that my input, contributions, and ideas are valued.
  • I don't have anxiety attacks as often.
  • I enjoy going to work now.
  • I feel I am the most in control of my career that I've ever been.

This time last year, I really had no idea what the hell I was doing. I had just started following online Rails tutorials and built my first Rails app by following step-by-step instructions and not really knowing what exactly the code meant.  I read some blogs from people that I done this before me, and I was trying to kinda follow what they did.  But, I didn't know anyone that had taught themselves how to code while being in a foreign country.  I tried not to worry about that initially (there's always remote work, right?) and hoped for the best.

But, somehow, I'm ending my year as a gainfully employed developer in an amazing city with a great tech scene.  It wasn't magic, it wasn't talent, and it certainly wasn't easy... it took a ridiculous amount of work and frustration to get here.  And I absolutely believe that anyone else can do that exact same thing if they desire to.