Series: Yearly Review
2019 in Professional Review
Here I’m mostly going to focus on professional achievements.
Here’s the short list, and then details in sections below.
- Continued Microsoft MVP
- Knoxville Microsoft Azure Meetup
- Increased blog traffic
- Assorted projects
- Speaking at conferences and meetups
- Music City Tech Conference
- Technology trends in 2019 in my career
- Other Education and Experiences
I became a Microsoft MVP in 2018, and then I got it again in 2019. I’ve met a lot of people because of that and it’s helped make introductions more easily. I’m very fortunate.
I started the Knoxville Microsoft Azure Meetup in 2018 and it grew a little in 2019. Lot of amazing stuff going on in the cloud. Keeping a tech user group going in Knoxville has gotten a little harder. I’m not sure what’s changed, but I think across the board in Knoxville attendance hasn’t grown much.
I published 26 blog posts in 2019.
Less blog posts were published in 2019 compared to 2018. But I had some winners with Angular and Azure DevOps and a few others.
Impressions doesn’t mean much of anything, but it’s interesting numbers from Google Search Console.
I updated a few projects on NPM, NuGet, or Docker:
- FLexer on NuGet
- GatsbyJS with .NET Core Template on Nuget
- GatsbyJS data source for Goodreads on NPM
- GatsbyJS data source for Azure Storage on NPM
- MSSQL Exporter for Prometheus, with support for custom queries to generate custom metrics.
I stopped updating:
- Knox Tech Trend: A website for analytics of Knoxville, TN Technology Trends by aggregating Knoxville tech Meetup data.
- The Meetup API changed and the Meetup terms of service changed. Because of a bad move on their part to start forcing more revenue streams, many local Knoxville meetups are moving to different platforms. I don’t have a meaningful reason to keep this updated anymore without starting to include other data sources. I might revisit sometime later.
- Renaissance of Lore: A log of Dungeons & Dragons Campaigns and other role-playing games.
- I’ve spent very little time on any styling. Styling is secondary to actually typing up content for this project. This started because I become a D&D game master and it’s a way to cohesively take notes.
My GitHub profile is definitely greatly increased since 2017, but down just a little from 2018. There are certainly gaps in there, but I’ve been working on stuff as I can. A few gaps in there represent working on closed source items on other platforms or personal time, and that’s okay.
The complete listing of talk abstracts and locations is here. I’ve given 2 talks, a total of 5 times, at a total of 4 venues.
- CodeStock Conference
- Devspace Conference
- Scenic City Summit
- Knoxville .NET Users Group
I joined the Music City Tech Conference team this year of Nashville, Tennessee which is funny because I live 200 miles away in Knoxville, Tennessee. Though I did used to live in Nashville.
The work started months before the conference actually happened I reviewed and ranked hundreds of conference talk submissions. I answered dozens of emails and calls from speakers with questions about lodging, about microphones, about all sorts of things. And I’m afraid to say I got so much wrong, for which most everyone was very understanding.
Then during the conference I sat behind a registration desk, I stood in the hallways, I answered questions while at the hotel, and I was generally just talking to people who had a concern, feedback, or criticism.
I knew nothing when I started, and I learned a lot, and I still have a lot to learn. The fantastic folks who work on the Music City Tech conference put in a lot of hours and unseen work. I hardly did anything compared to the hard workers there. I hope to return and do more to help out!
- Azure. A lot of Azure, both personally and professionally. I like the cloud and Azure is great because it’s a good platform and I have free credits.
- Angular. I’ve done quite a bit of Angular this year. I like it and I appreciate that it has a batteries included mindset.
- Golang (Go? Go Language?) I’ve really dug into this the past few months. I’m really enjoying this language, and I’ll be launching a couple, non-trivial personal projects in Go in 2020.
- Kubernetes I’m still a novice, but I will be studying and then taking the Certified Kubernetes Administrator Exam (CKA) in 2020.
- SQL. I don’t normally call out this constant career companion, except that I’ve done a lot of SQL performance tuning and investigation, and general SQL Server administration this year on many projects.
- Linux. Professionally and personally increased. The first distro I used was Ubuntu 8.04, and I still have a CD with that version on my shelf. Lately, I’ve been running Elementary OS, Fedora KDE, and Ubuntu on my personal computers. Professionally, I mostly see CentOS.
- C# & .NET. Nothing surprising about this, it’s been part of my career for years.
- Salesforce. Professionally only.
- Oracle and Oracle E-Business-Suite. Professionally only.
- GatsbyJS & ReactJS. I have several sites in GatsbyJS. I like it, but I only use it personally and not professionally.
- F#. I have a lot of personal projects in F# but only my game project is being worked on. Apart from the game project I just haven’t been doing F#.
- Talend. I’m certified in this, but I’m very happy it’s completely phased out of my professional career.
- Java. I’ve hardly done any Java this year.
- Ansible. It’s appeared once or twice professionally this past year, but it’s becoming much less common.
It’s impossible to capture all progress made purely in technological buzzwords above. So I want to call out some education and experiences this year.
I worked fully remote during the first half of 2019. I really enjoyed it and I got into a rhythm. I had one space dedicated for work. Every morning the smell of coffee and the alarm became a form of classical conditioning where I’d automatically start walking towards my standing desk to log into work. It worked out really well since the normal work hour times to stop coincided with when I’d get hungry for dinner. The bad side of course is less people on a daily basis, but a lot more video conferencing. Overall, it was enjoyable.
Money rules business. I went down to the local used bookstore and bought an used collegiate intermediate accounting book. I’ve been working through the book slowly and trying to learn more. I’ve done a lot of programming dealing with money, but I’ve never truly understood the backing theory behind the given business logic. Combined with programming skill, I hope that a better understanding accounting will unlock new capabilities in my career.
I’ve read a lot more books than this, but these are a few select influential ones. Influential in that they changed my professional behavior the most.
- Site Reliability Engineering
- Data-Oriented Design
- Making Work Visible (Yes, I’ve read this before 2019 but it deserves a spot anyway.)
- The Intelligent Investor
Multiple, separate groups of friends play this role-playing-game, so I knew it was around. Then one week a group asked me to be a Game Master, and I said yes. The rest is history.
Being a D&D Game Master may seem like an odd thing to put under a professional review but it completely fits. The similarities to leading a software team are abundant: everyone on the team has a different personality and attacks problems differently, getting a group of people to work together can be challenging, keeping a group of people focused and engaged can be difficult, feeding them “work” (or quests) is a constant shuffling and prioritizing, sometimes people change jobs (or gaming groups) and the dynamic changes, and creating guidelines for the team to work within is a blurry grey line.
Focusing on the team is absolutely a great thing to follow after Dungeons and Dragons. Focusing and building up the team is a goal I have, that I sometimes lose sight of when there’s deadlines or when there’s software service downtime. This is a reminder to future self to constantly educate the team around me on what I know, to learn from the team around me on what they know, and to encourage the team around me.
I’m not going to list out details of jobs, I’ll leave that to my LinkedIn. 2019 was a stellar year for me. And I know that no matter what 2020 holds for me, my attitude in facing it will determine much of the year. Let’s be positive, optimistic, and see the good all year long!