Dev Retro 2022  From being Depressed To 10K Community

Dev Retro 2022 From being Depressed To 10K Community

·

5 min read

Play this article

What Didn't Work For Me

2022 started off with a bang... literally.

I was involved in a very bad car accident at the end of January 2022.

Whatever happens, I'm grateful to be alive. Thank you to everyone who sent me messages of support and things to help me recover.

I've still got lots to do, so I'm grateful to be given the chance to keep at it.

Takeaway: To learn what's right for you, cast a wide net. Try many things.

Humble Beginnings

Even though I was excited about the web, building web apps in 2021 wasn't as beginner-friendly as it is today. I learned HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and jQuery. Simple websites made sense, but then I was exposed to the world of back-end development... what in the world is a LAMP stack!? Impostor syndrome reared its ugly head again.

Nevertheless, I ended up landing an internship. It wasn't exactly what I wanted -- I was writing automated tests. But I got my foot in the door. I started to learn what a career as a Software Engineer looked like.

Quite a turnaround from wanting to drop out and quit programming just a few years prior. My determination and perseverance paid off.

Takeaway: You're not a failure if your first job isn't at a well-known company. Every company will teach you something new about how to build software.

Exponential Growth

At some point I made the decision to focus on foundational concepts; not features of a particular implementation; my tech career took off.

While I enjoyed web development, the front end never fully clicked for me until I started using NextJs as a full-time job. Up until this point, most "modern web development" at the time seemed so complex. Learning NextJs, and then starting to use Next App, helped me finally break free from JavaScript build tool hell and focus on building great websites. This is when I started to grow exponentially as a developer.

Anatomy of a React component

Specializing on one specific thing (NextJs) led to a snowball effect. Suddenly, I was becoming proficient in other related skills. Understanding the fundamentals led to faster adoption of the next layer of tools, and finally to understanding and creating my own backends and APIs.

Takeaway: Learning NextJs is a safe bet. The principles of NextJs have fundamentally changed how we build for the web.

nothanii.dev

If you haven't heard, nothanii.dev is a collection of Projects I have ever given. It's based on learnings I've had both in shipping React applications to millions of users all over the world as well as what I've learned about teaching this effectively. It's unique because it has all the good things of a live and in-person workshop + all the good things about a self-paced recorded course, without the major drawbacks of either

I've never spent so much time on a single deliverable.

It's been outrageously successful. I knew it would be huge, but didn't realize how big it really would be. And the number of positive comments I've heard from people on this just fills my heart with joy. nothanii.dev has been the best thing I've done to push my mission forward: "help people make the world better through quality software."

Sometimes I think about it all (like I'm doing now) and I'm still blown away by how much I did. Wow.

My site

I decided to migrate my site from React to NextJs with SanityCMS. I did that because I'm bullish on distributed SQLite through LiteFS. Unfortunately, I changed a LOT of things all at once in this migration and there's one thing that's still causing a memory leak on my application. I'm going to be looking into that soon, and once that's fixed then I can finally go multi-region with my site again.

LiteFS is technically still not production ready, but... This is me

The Present

I've now been working with NextJs since 2020. Since then I've largely been a product engineer and e-commerce. About three years ago, I realized I wanted to make a shift in my career.

I wanted to create. I wanted to write, record, stream, post, tweet, and grow a community. I wanted to help others learn and progress in their careers as developers. After teaching over 10,000 developers from around the world with courses and tutorials.

Takeaway: It's never too late to change your trajectory. Your career is a marathon, not a sprint.

Takeaways & Advice

  1. Follow your curiosity.

  2. Chase your passions. You might just learn some valuable skills along the way.

  3. To learn what's right for you, cast a wide net. Try many things.

  4. You're not a failure if your first job isn't at a well-known company. Every company will teach you something new about how to build software. You'll probably only be working there for a few years anyway, on average at least.

  5. Learning NextJs is a safe bet. The principles of NextJshave fundamentally changed how we build for the web.

  6. It's never too late to change your trajectory. Your career is a marathon, not a sprint.

Also, share your work. Tell people what you're building or learning. It sounds obvious, but learning in public and sharing my findings helped me land multiple jobs in my career.

  • A good boot camp is better than an average degree (for programming).

  • You don't need formal education, but if you forego traditional structure and community, you must recreate it yourself.

  • Create an online presence. Showcase your work. Write. Share what you've learned. Attract other like-minded people. Create serendipity.

In 2023, I'm hoping to ship the first batch of content. The first half of 2023 will involve a lot of workshops. But we'll see how quickly I can get the app finished.

I couldn't be more excited about what the future has to offer. Stay tuned!

Good luck!