2020 - what a year! This is my annual review post where I list some stats and reflections on the past year and a goal or two for the coming year. You can read my reviews for 2019 here and 2018 here.
Blog posts published: 6
Blogging definitely wasn’t my strong point this year, and I published even fewer than 2019’s total of 17 blogs. I felt like I didn’t have anything to write about while I was on maternity leave, then once I was back in work I never had the energy or motivation of an evening to write. Amongst these 6 posts is one introducing a failed Blogtober attempt on 1st October. Although it’s a slightly embarrassing post, since I didn’t write another blog post all month after declaring that I would post every day throughout October, it’s also good to admit your failures so it remains published!
Dev Diary posts published: 28
Nearly matching 2019’s total of 29! Dev Diaries are weekly posts where I write a chatty paragraph and list links to articles I’ve enjoyed or things I’ve been working on, all related to web devlopment. My longest streak of Dev Diaries happened between April and June, during UK lockdown. I found the weekly 15 minute task of composing a post very reassuring, and a small scrap of routine which I was desperately trying to create for myself in amongst 7 identical days in the house.
Instagram posts published: 71
More than I thought, although less than last year’s 111. I stopped posting regularly through lockdown, then stopped altogether after July. I got bored of the platform and saw less and less engagement on my posts. I’m trying to rediscover my enjoyment of Instagram this year but I don’t like the focus on stories or reels. I also feel more uncomfortable on spending so much effort creating content that ultimately I don’t own. We’ll see what happens this year.
Meetups & conferences attended: 0
I was due to give a lightning talk at UpFront Conf in Manchester in March, but this got cancelled thanks to Covid. It’s great that so many meetups and events have moved online, but personally I can’t be bothered attending one that clashes with baby bed-time. However:
Podcasts and talks and videos watched: lots
I may not like real-time talks, but I’ve found consuming conference playlists published after the event very satisfying, and I’ve also started listening to software-themed podcasts every now and again.
This was something I set as a goal for 2020, and I did it! I volunteered in-person with InnovateHer during January and February, at an after-school club where teenage girls learnt about a career in game development. I even got to go on a field trip to the PlayStation offices in Liverpool. Unfortunately this was cut short by Covid.
Later in the year, not one, but two organisations that I had been a long-time email subscriber of moved their activities online. This opened up their mentoring opportunities for me. I volunteered as Career Mentor with CodeYourFuture and I am also a mentor with 1MM. It’s a cliché, but mentoring is very rewarding and I would highly recommend it, especially as roles like these require so little of your time.
I began the year on maternity leave/unemployed and started looking for a part-time role. My goal was to work for three days a week. This proved harder than I thought and I had plenty of typical recruiter interactions where they completely ghosted me once I mentioned the phrase ‘part-time’. Ah recruiters. However, there were a some that were very helpful and a I got very far through applications for a few roles round March. Then the lockdown hit and everything came to a halt. The UK’s strict lockdown finished in June and I started a new job in July working three days a week as a UI Developer! This has given me the chance to to work more on the design and UX of websites, and I’ve been able to learn Figma too. It’s a lovely to get to use my adult brain for a few hours each week! Fingers crossed we can return to an office this year and I can meet my colleagues in person.
I really enjoying blogging and writing, and want to create more consistently in 2021. I’m trying to build a habit where I spend a minimum of ten minutes writing 5⁄7 days a week to achieve this. If I get into the flow and write for longer, then fine. If I don’t, then I’ve still achieved ten minutes. It’s working right now as that’s how I’ve managed to write this post!
As a stretch goal, I’d like to add a “Portfolio” page on my website that showcases some projects I’ve created. This also involves me building said-projects. I’m going to apply the same ten minute tactic to coding and see if I can finally build that app I’ve been thinking about for the last year, oh and redesign clairecodes too!
Well this ended up being pretty long considering I don’t feel much happened last year in the year that was 2020. See you next year!