2012 in review

2012 in review

In 2011, I made the transition from student to a real, contributing (tax paying) member of society. In 2012, pushed that even further. I moved 230 miles away from everyone I know, I paid off all my student overdrafts and Lally celebrated our second year together.

Personal

I think the thing that’s most different for me this year (compared to last) is that I’ve not been a student. Given the choice to go back to uni now, I don’t think I ever would. Whilst it was a good opportunity to learn new things and meet new people, what I’ve learned in the world of work is about a million times more useful.

It’s scary to think that this time last year I was talking about Lally and I celebrating 12 months together that July. We’re up to 30 months together and she hasn’t tried to kill me yet, so I’m assuming it must be going quite well. We went to Tunisia in July, and we’re off to New York at the end of January. Then, we’re off to Iceland in March. When we met Lally told me she wanted to go travelling one day – I don’t think I’ll ever do it now but hopefully we’ll get to go on enough short trips in the meantime for me to see everything we want to in the world.

Speaking of doing things, in 2012 I also started my Day Zero project. I’m not making great progress with it, but the few things I have done I’ve really enjoyed. If I want to complete it, I’m really going to have to ramp up my progress with it.

2012 was a strange year for Max Software – we went into the new year strong, still full steam ahead on Tweetdig. That continued until April when Wayne announced that we were moving to London. I agreed to move and was given a share of the company and director status. However, Steve and Paul could not go with us and handed in their resignations. The move fell through, and I found myself without an office to go to or a place to live. I ended up moving in with Lally in June and working from home until Max Software and I parted ways in September. Tweetdig was feature complete and I’d documented myself out of a job and was made redundant. Fortunately I didn’t have to wait long to find another job…

Work

I’m now working at Datasift, and it’s actually amazing. I was informed that I was being made redundant on a Wednesday, and by Saturday I was in the interview process for Datasift. Three weeks later I had an offer and was planning a move down to Reading. Both worrying (I didn’t know anyone) and awesome (Datasift’s at the cutting edge of what we do) at the same time.

I’m not sure how much I can give away here, but I’ll do my best to get across what I want to say. Datasift’s unlike anywhere else I’ve ever worked. To start, it’s much bigger – by a factor of 10 than the biggest place I’ve previously worked. Engineers are treated like stars – we’re fed every day, there’s an arcade cabinet/xbox/ps3 + projector, there’s a fridge full of drinks and sweets. Oh, and our machines come with 16GB RAM and a graphics card that’s better than my gaming PC as standard! They really invest in the engineering team, and it pays off. Everyone I’ve spoken to loves it there.

Barcamps + Conferences

I said I was going to go to less Barcamps this year, and I stuck to it. Barcamp-wise, I only ended up going to Barcamp Berkshire and Barcamp Blackpool, along with HackManchester on top of it. Lally and I also made it to Geeks In The Peaks in June for a weekend of geeky camping. I enjoyed everything we went to (even HackMan despite initially not wanting to go as I was ill – turns out it was the turning point in my battle with vim!). Next year, I think I’ll just do a handful of weekend events again. Living so far away from friends + family, any free time I get will be spent visiting people at home I think.

As well as Barcamps, I was on a mission to speak at a conference this year. I applied to Industry and ScotlandJS but unfortunately both rejected me. I was just going for it, applying for anything I thought I might be able to contribute to, then the PHPNW call for papers opened up. Long story short, I was accepted (thanks Jeremy!), went and spoke and it seemed to go down quite well. As well as PHPNW, I had a gig at The Digital Barn which was an awesome way to practice my presenting style and get some feedback from other people.

That was 2012

In 2012, my aim was to make Tweetdig profitable. I didn’t achieve that, but there’s a lot of interest in it as a product and I’m looking forward to seeing how Wayne tackles taking it to market. I also said that I’d go to less events: Mission Accomplished. Then, I said I’d join a gym – that never happened but it is on my DayZero list so it needs to get done at some point!

Finally, I said I was going to build some side projects. I didn’t. If anything, I had even more ideas and started learning even more languages and frameworks (and didn’t finish anything). Living alone gives me the evenings to work on personal projects though, so we’ll just have to hope that I find the discipline to do the work over the next few months.

So, 2013?

My aims for 2013: See out the year at Datasift – it’s an awesome place to work and the problems we’re solving really make me think. At least once a week I trick myself into thinking I have imposter syndrome then I realise that I’ve worked hard to get where I am. I can’t wait to see what else I learn this year.

I want to read at least 12 books, complete at least one personal project and get just a little bit fitter. I failed miserably this year, but I need to start at some point and there’s no time like the present.

As well as that, I’d like to speak at another conference and write something that gets published in a print magazine. The conference is because I believe I have something to share with others – the print magazine is to prove that I can write something technical that is easily digestible. The good news is that I think I already have topics for both in mind.

Happy new year

As with last year – and last but not least – happy new year! Hopefully everyone will have a great 2013 (2013! That’s like, the future or something) and 2013 in review will be just as good as this year.

Michael is a polyglot software engineer, committed to reducing complexity in systems and making them more predictable. Working with a variety of languages and tools, he shares his technical expertise to audiences all around the world at user groups and conferences. You can follow @mheap on Twitter

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