2019 into 2020

Every year I've written things I did/learned this year, and where I want to move forward for the next year. My previous post is for 2018 is here2018-into-2019. The tradition continues on this year again :)

I gave 7 talks

At the start of 2019, I didn't know that much about software development. My prior experience had been mostly in building small fun little apps and one-off scripts. Luckily I had great mentors from the open source community, hackathons, and devs locally teach me all sorts of cool things. I'm eternally grateful for their support, so as thanks I wanted to give back to the tech community at large.

When I think back to why I wanted to give talks in the first place, it stems from two reasons. One, it's fun to learn and teach a new concept to someone else (Dylan Israel). Two, you can't grow unless your both learning and mentoring at the same time.

Most of the talks I did revolved around things I found interesting, or learned from side projects or work. Here's the list of talks

  • SVGs - Everything you should know
  • Fullstack GraphQL NodeJS with React
  • Roundtable - Staying Current with the Javascript Ecosystem
  • Level up with Hackathons
  • Airtable - Plugin spotlights
  • Programmable Communications with Hackathons
  • Rendering Tale: Comparing SVG, WebGL, and CSS

I started a new job in a new city

I am a late bloomer here, but I've never really ventured too far from home. I grew up in Orlando, FL and lived there most of my life, supporting my family's business. The first software gig I worked at in Orlando, didn't work out, so I ventured out to other cities. When I had the opportunity to move to Tampa, it was like a dream come true. Life goes on and I could do pretty much whatever I wanted, and the adventures never stop there. There's something fun about not knowing what you'll be doing the next day, or who you'll end up meeting. My free time as of now is spent exploring new hobbies and interests, and I've taken a liking to rock climbing and many other sports. I still haven't fully situated myself in town, so my priorities have shifted away from software development for the time being. I haven't looked at a web tutorial in several months, or done much blogging lately, but I intend on changing that :)

I reached the frontpage of Codepen 2 times

I'm a web doodler at heart. As Sarah Drasner puts it, I like making and breaking things. Most of what I know about UI/UX development has been through replicating features online. Sometimes it was for work, other times it was for just because I wanted to experiment. Those fun little moments came mostly through something inspiring and cool I found while shopping for things online.

Here's those two codepens:

I learned how to do backend development

Everything I've learned up until this point in web development had been in frontend development and design. I wanted to get my feet wet through the door, and it just made more sense to focus on something I could excel at from the get-go. I used to do architectural design so the transition wasn't too bad. User experience is something I very much enjoy, but I've always fancied myself as a backend developer. Because regardless of how pretty an interface looks, unless its built on a strong foundation it can only do so much.

I've started to write again on this blog about things I learn. Mostly tailored toward backend and database development, but I still write about frontend development/design.

I learned database development

Fullstack developer is frontend, backend, and database development. I never really had a clear grasp of how databases were created in the real world. It wasn't until I wrote my first seeder and migration that everything just clicked. I made a thread about this on twitter, and many frontend focused developers have felt the same way. Prior to this, I did spend time reading database design theory books on this topic. Like how database relations work, etc.

But in this current role that I'm at, I got to see a greenfield project go from nothing to pretty much almost production deployed in a span of 6 months. I'm happy to say that I contributed a lot to the coding patterns used in this application.

My first blog post on this topic revolves around basic data design, but there's definitely more to come :)

I learned several new technologies

I never got around yet to writing blog posts on these topics, but I did occasionally do some talks on them! As a web developer in an ever expanding field, I think it's important to keep up to date on some of the latest and greatest things out there. Here is a list of topics I've felt that I've either learned in much greater depth, or expanded upon

Things I learned with moderate proficiency:

  • GraphQL
  • NodeJS
  • PostGres
  • Sequelize ORM
  • SVGs
  • HTML Canvas
  • ReactJS
  • VueJS
  • Google Firebase
  • Twilio / SMS
  • Gatsby

Things I played around with and developed some proficiency

  • Angular
  • WebGL libraries
  • NextJS / Redux
  • Laravel / PHP

I competed in 4 Hackathons (and won in some too!)

Last year I competed in two hackathons (NASA Space Apps 2018, and techstars). This year I got to explore on topics related to game design, telecommunications, and much more! One of the apps we built was a speed-dating chat-roullete app, that won first place and we gave a talk at a conference the next day on it.

2020 Goals

So this concludes my review of 2019! I feel like I've learned and accomplished a lot this year, more so than prior years. I did suffer from some development burnout near the end of 2019 from overworking myself, so I've decided to take a pause on side projects & freelancing.

I'm not sure what 2020 will bring. I could never really answer the question of where I see myself in 5 years. Decision making has never been my forte. But if there's one thing that I've learned in this journey, it's to never stop building things and learning.

For learning, I take inspiration from Ben Awad, one of the youtubers I follow for software development. It's important not to set too many goals down, else you can't reach all of them. I did this in 2018, and never got around to learning everything I wanted to learn. Here's a list of things I do wish to learn.

  • C# Development
  • Typescript
  • DevOps / AWS

Just those 4 things for the time being. C#, because I haven't done much programming in a statically typed language, and I have found that I enjoyed game development from the first game I made. Typescript because I think it will simplify my backend workflow and make scaling applications easier. DevOps because I want to learn how websites are actually optimized and deployed to the web.

There's a list of other topics I may wish to learn. Here they are:

  • ThreeJS
  • Machine Learning
  • IoT development
  • Computer Science Topics

That's my 20/20 vision for this year!

Hi 👋

I'm Vincent Tang, a web developer specializing in modern Javascript. This website is my digital garden of notes on backend, frontend, and devops! I'm the founder of Tampa Devs and I also run a coding podcast called Code Chefs