My 2017 year in review

ALC 2.0 First Meetup, Port Harcourt

Happy New Year!

2017 was a pretty outstanding and fulfilling year for me personally. I did a lot of things that I thought I couldn’t. There were also some areas I could have done more in and I look forward to improving in those areas this year. I would be touching on some of the highlights of my 2017.

Books I Read

This is one area I did not do much in. I picked up a number of books but did not get to finish any one. This is going to change this year. I am making a commitment to read at least one book every month. In a month, I may read up more than one book, depending on how fast I finish each book. I would be happy if I could get suggestions for books I should look out for. Please kindly drop your suggestions in the comments section or on Twitter or Facebook.

Industrial Training

My IT was a blast. From attending technical workshops to working on team projects, I learnt a lot of things in the real world that I wouldn't have learnt from school. Studying computer science in University, I got the opportunity of seeing it in action in the real companies working on real projects. I look forward to apply the skills I picked up, both technical and otherwise, in the coming years.

Technical resources

I poured through a lot of tech resources in 2017, much more than I did in 2016 so that was an area I invested a lot or time in. There were some resources I spent more time revisiting though and I have listed them below, in no particular order:

  • Google codelabs - is a catalog of tutorials that teach you things from beginners to advanced concepts, while building a mini app in the process. It has this learn by doing way of learning. You can learn concepts like progressive web apps, web VR, Android, and lots more.
  • Firebase - Firebase is a Backend-as-a-service(BAAS) for building web and mobile apps. I spent a large half of 2017 building demo projects and needed a backend to interact with. Since I am just a Front End Developer, having an easy to interact with BAAS helped me build those demos quickly without worrying about writing any backend code.
  • Webcomponents - a set of APIs that can be used to create custom reusable elements. I have an article on getting started with web components if you are interested. Feedback is much welcome.
  • Polymer - building custom elements is exciting but there are some pain points like keeping attributes and properties in sync, data binding, updating states, etc, that occur when building custom elements. Polymer is a library, built on web components that makes it easier to build custom elements and addresses some of these pain points.
  • Beginners guide to GitHub and it's connection with open source. If you were ever confused or interested in these topic, these links are a good place to start.
  • Uplabs - a collection of UI resources and inspiration that you can use to get ideas for your next project.
  • Progressive Web Apps - I spent most of 2017 basically preaching about this, trying to get more people building PWAs and I found some useful resources along the way.
  • Useful tools
  1. Webpagetest - use to check the speed of your site, critical chains, and other metrics that affect the performance of your site.
  2. thinkwithgoogle - basically the same as webpagetest but with emphasis on a mobile experience.
  3. Lighthouse - this one I use most as it gives you a checklist of things to do when building progressive web apps.

Speaking

This was the biggest surprise for me in 2017. I never expected to be the one dishing out the words while others would be listening since by nature, I'm very reserved. I was privileged to speak at some events and here are some of the highlights

IO Extended Port Harcourt 2017
  • IOExtendedPH - I Talked about "Migrating an existing website to a progressive web app". You can find the codelab here.
  • Firebase for the web - I gave a talk on "Firebase Hosting". Find the slides here.
  • Django Girls PH - This was a four week workshop on building web applications using the Django Framework. I took participants through materials on HTML, CSS and Bootstrap.
GDG DevFestSE 2017
  • DevFestSE17 - the biggest developer conference in Southern and Eastern Nigeria held in Aba, organized by Google Developers Group. I gave a talk on Building Progressive Web Apps with Polymer. This was the highlight of my year and it was an amazing experience. Slides to my talk can be found here and you can feed your eyes to some pictures.
  • Introduction to Web Design - this was a 2-day workshop organized by Ken Saro-Wiwa Innovation Hub to teach attendees HTML and CSS.
  • Introduction to Open Source Port Harcourt - another event organized by Ken Saro-Wiwa Innovation Hub aimed at introducing participants to open source software, it’s benefits and how you can contribute to open source. Walter Bender, founder of Sugar Labs and Otemuyiwa Prosper , Google Developer Expert, were in attendance through Hangouts. Samson Goddy also talked about how he got into open source. I spoke on "JavaScript and it’s Applications."
  • ALC 2.0, Meetup 1 - Andela Learning Community is back with a second edition. I am opportuned to be part of the Learning Community Ambassadors Port Harcourt and I facilitated the web beginners session.

Wow. That was a lot of speaking for one year, especially considering I spoke at 0 events in 2016. It was a new area I discovered in myself and one I look forward to building on in 2018.

Hackathons

Start Up Port Harcourt Week Hackathon

I attended just two in 2017 and they were both fun. I got to see learn how other developers were building things and thinking about things and tools other developers are using to build applications.

Blogging

I started blogging in the last month of 2017, just one article so far. I built my personal blog as a Progressive Web App. I am still working on it so don’t be surprised if you see different changes over the coming weeks.

What I expect in 2018?

2017 has to go down as my most productive year so far. There were many high points, things I would build on this year and some areas with room for improvement.

I look forward to more collaboration this year. I would like to work on more projects with more teams this year. Contributing to open source is one thing that is high up on the agenda. I would also try to write more technical articles this year which would I would use as learning opportunities. I want to spend more time learning some things I didn't make out time to learn last year. Finally, I would like to speak at more tech events this year, not just around my region but nationally and internationally. I don't know how that would happen but you never know, we'll see.

If you would like to know more about me, check out my website. If you have a project you think I might be interested in, my DMs are open. If you would like me to speak at your event, feel free to reach me.