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Year-end review 2020

2020 is out and I wanted to do a short review of what I did this year, as well as look forward to 2021. This year was difficult to be sure, but in spite of the craziness, or maybe because of it, I was surprisingly able to meet some goals I had previously set.

2020 Accomplishments

In 2020...

  • I began the complete redesign of my site. I'm super excited about this. It took way too long and involved way too many different frameworks and false starts, but I'm happy with the end result.
  • After a year-long drought, I'm writing again. I'm still trying to get into the groove of writing, trying to find my voice, but I think if I can put the time in and stay consistent, I'll get there. Or at least I'll get better.
  • I delivered two talks this year, both on accessibility on the Web.
  • I nabbed a spot at RailsConf2020. Unfortunately I was unable to present due to its cancellation as a live event, but I still see that as an accomplishment.
  • At work, I led the effort to completely overhaul our front end tooling, opening the door for more modern CSS and JavaScript, as well as speeding up overall Sass compilation time 25x (honestly, that part was easy since we were still using Compass to compile everything).
  • Also at work, we're wrapping up a year-long project that took about eight months more than it should have. But with shifting priorities due to temporary store closings as well as a focus on uptime to keep up with the increased web traffic, the extended timeline is no surprise.

I've started to see a pattern of excitement when working on developer tools. I really enjoyed putting the front end tool chain together, and I've gotten to really take charge over a couple internal tools used department-wide.

2021 Opportunities

In 2021...

  • At work, the first thing on my priority list is creating a service that glues all project-dependent services together. Anything that crawls our repositories or consumes our Pivotal data will use this service and it will become the source of truth for all things projects-related. This could possibly be a good excuse to dig into AWS.
  • I want to continue working on improving our internal tools as well. It's an opportunity to grow in building maintainable systems as well as a place to use my design experience. It also gives me something to write about.
  • Speaking about writing, my intent is to write more regularly. I think I'm going to start focusing on some of the experiments I do and some of the internal tools work I'm doing at The Container Store. And I'll definitely try to highlight some of the customer-facing work I do on the website. Communication is a critical skill for developers (code is communication), and writing helps me hone that skill.
  • Finally, I would love to do more speaking engagements in 2021. I enjoy talking about React, accessibility, and pretty much anything front end related. I've talked about publishing videos as well, so 2021 may be the year that happens.

Looking ahead

To be honest, it feels weird to be writing about my accomplishments in a year filled with chaos, but I wanted to at least have a written record for future reference. I'm glad we can mark this year as done, and I'm hoping and praying the next year is better.

Until next time, stay safe, and may this new year be better than the last.