2014 was a solid year for improving my software development abilities. This year was different from past years because I moved completely out of software consulting and into coding open source projects.
This post will briefly cover my highlights from 2014 and go into the insights I gained from my work throughout the year. I'll cover plans for 2015 in a future blog post.
The projects and events stand out the most to me from throughout this past year were:
Throughout the year I tested a hypothesis I came up with in 2013 regarding content creation, speaking and coding. The hypothesis was that by focusing my efforts on interrelated activities ("synergy" for you MBA folks), I would get better results and feel less scattershot in my work output.
I told the Twilio Developer Evangelism team about this approach and Rob Spectre dubbed it the "Makai Triumvirate". Below is a picture representing what the approach looks like.
When activities are related I can produce much greater output in coding, writing and talks than if I worked on several varying topics in parallel.
A good example of this triumvirate approach is the work I did this year with Ansible.
From the list above it's evident that much of the work I did revolved around coding followed by writing and speaking after gaining experience with the library.
After that work in the first six months of the year I relaxed my focus on Ansible. I still use the project all the time for deployments but I moved on to other topics for coding, speaking and writing.
The triumvirate approach sounds like common sense. However, when you're asked by a conference organizer to come up with a technical talk, it's easy to get excited by a new but unrelated topic and try to create a talk around that new thing. This focused approach allows me to say "what are the 3 big things I will work on this year?" and cut out anything else that is unrelated.
Open source was a much bigger part of my professional life in 2014 than in any previous year.
The above image shows my my daily open source GitHub contributions through December 25 of 2014. I came up with the idea to push an open source commit as many days as possible throughout the year. Currently I'm at 282 days in a row with my last miss on March 18 (I was up in NYC with our Twilio crew so I missed that day by accident).
Overall I should end up having missed 3 days out of 365 this year. I'm happy with that streak. It's possible I'll commit less in 2015 but I haven't set a hard target on my goals after Dec 31 just yet.
I didn't write a lot on this site since I had a lot going on with Full Stack Python and external websites. Here's a quick list of my blog posts from throughout 2014.
Via the Twilio blog I wrote:
Lauren Orsini did the writing for the following three articles but we hacked on code together to produce these articles for ReadWrite:
I'm happy with how 2014 turned out from a software development standpoint. Much of my time is spent writing and speaking as well as coding which is fine by me since I no longer have to worry about the constant billable hour pressures of being a consultant.
2015 is already shaping up as a killer year. I'll have a separate blog post later on my plans for the new year.