I’m coming up to my five-year anniversary of working professionally as a web developer this November. I am still enchanted by the challenge of writing software, particularly as I’ve moved solely into frontend web development.

One of the things I love about being a developer is that there are always new things to learn, and that it’s part of your job as a good software engineer to keep learning them. With that in mind, I want to reflect on the technologies that Iā€™m currently really interested in, and list some tangible ways I hope to improve my skills in them over coming months.

SVGs

Goal

I have always wanted to know how to draw SVG icons. In my opinion, anyone who can use Adobe Photoshop is a wizard. I would really love to be able to create icons, graphics and logos myself for personal projects, in the SVG format. Why SVG? Because they’re great: performant and display consistently across browsers. Much better than weighty images.

How I’ll achieve it

I’ve already started to work on this by downloading Sketch. Sketch is an open-source application for creating vector illustrations. I’ve begun working through some excellent YouTube tutorials and am able to create basic arrows. The aim is to keep practicing with this and have a fancy-pants website logo soon.

Google Analytics

Goal

I have Google Analytics applied to my personal blog site, and can work out how many visitors I’ve had and which pages they’ve visited. Aside from that, I can’t do much at all. I’d like to be able to track clicks and understand the huge amount of data available with the Analytics suite.

How I’ll achieve it

Google offer free training courses so I reckon this is the best place to start. I have links to my external social media profiles on my website - I’d like to know how to track clicks on these.

Go

Goal

Now for something completely different. I first learnt to code using Java and used it 90% of the time in my first development job. Soon my head was turned by JavaScript and CSS and I moved in frontend development. I don’t miss strongly-typed languages, or want to move away from JavaScript, but I would really like a deeper appreciation of how the backend of an application works. I considered which language to help me do this and decided Go - mostly because it’s new and has a friendly community, has a cute logo, and came highly recommended by my friend Will.

Because I haven’t written anything remotely backend for over two years, this is a real culture shock for me, and puts me right back as a beginner. This is great! I get to stretch my brain, and check my developer ego. It’s easy to think you know everything when you’ve been solving similar problems for a couple of jobs.

How I’ll achieve it

I started with the official Go tutorial in Spring but didn’t spend much time with it. I hope to pick this back up and ask my friend for more beginner recommendations šŸ˜€

CSS Grid

Goal

I want to be as familiar with Grid as I am with Flexbox. I’ve made some simple designs, but I’m not familiar with the syntax yet. This is mainly because I haven’t used it in my day job, and the best way to change this is for me to learn more about its applications so I can recognise where to use it.

How I’ll achieve it

Work through Wes Bos’s free Grid course and read lots of Rachel Andrews’ and Jen Simmons’ materials on Grid.

Conclusion

I’ve tried to make my goals focussed and achievable, but there’s a lot to cover here. It’s good to aim high though and if nothing else, this is an interesting snapshot of where my interests as a developer currently lie.

Publishing this will hopefully keep me accountable, and I can revisit these goals in New Year 2019 and see how I’ve got on.