2016 - A Year In Review

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2016 just ended, and now it’s time to look backwards, evaluate success and failures for 2017. First of all, 2016 was probably one of the most productive and exciting years in my life.

At the end of 2015, I fix some goals for 2016. I didn’t want to have this kind of good resolutions which are in reality unreachable goals. So, I used some SMART criteria. In a nutshell, this acronym means: Specific - Measurable - Attainable - Realistic - Time-related.

Let’s recapitulate…

Running out of my comfort zone

New OS:

I really wanted to learn Linux this year. I was using Microsoft since my young years, but this OS got a big drawback for web development: the native console is messy and writing files is a very slow operation (Symfony Framework use a lot of files). I was already using Ubuntu in a Vagrant box, so I wasn’t so stranger. This is why I choose Ubuntu.
During the Ubuntu installation, I completely erase my Windows. After a ew tears, I accept it. And to be honest, a few months after I didn’t plan to roll back.

When I started my new job, they ask me my favourite OS. Unfortunately, Linux wasn’t in the list and I have to choose between Windows 10 and MacOS… I choose the second one (iMac)! It was a bit weird for me because I don’t stick to Apple’s philosophy. But to be honest, I like it (except the 💩 defaults software).

Tame the whale (Docker):

At the end of 2015, I heard a lot about Docker. Every time I tried to understand the goal of this tool, I failed. So I went to the Docker’s Birthday event in Nantes. It was a kind of hand on with a pertinent getting started (plain old voting app!). A few weeks after, a project ended. So I asked to my employer to get some free time to go deeper with Docker. During this week, I have created a stack to run a Symfony application on Docker (with Compose).
I was pretty proud of my job, so I put everything on Github and I wrote a blog post about it.

This blog post, written on April 11th (a symbolic date for me 😉) reach ~3000 views on the 31st of December.

Others:

Outside this two brand new technologies, I also meet a non-negligible amount of bad practices and legacy code. It led me to learn a lot about the code quality and to meet the software craftsmanship communities. Now the Clean Code concepts, SOLID principles and the Objects Calisthenics have no secret for me!

Share more knowledge

This year, I went to a lot of meet-ups, read a huge amount of blog and watch a lot of talks on YouTube. As an example, this is my Pocket’s Year in review. It just includes my read it later blogs (from April to December).

After absorbing this amount of knowledge, I found obvious to share it to the community.

  • Keep blogging. It’s very important for me. It helps me to deal with criticism, meet people (yes, really!) and also to become more precise (writing lead me to read a lot before publishing). This year, I got 9300 pages viewed on my blog! (I didn’t expect so much!)
  • Gave my first talk about Rest & Symfony. I really like it! One month later, I give another one called GraphQL/Falcor: Why Killing REST? (quickie format);
  • Contributing to Open Source by putting all new projects/POC on Github. Now my account is a part of my resume (it also brought me new opportunities). And stop being an issue watcher by trying to fix issues on Github and help people. Unfortunately, I didn’t participate by updating some codebases;
  • Training people. I have been working for 3.5 years with instructors (at Energy Formation, a gaz training center). So I was pretty proud when my employer (Conserto) ask me to train colleagues! So I draft two training: one about PHP and one other about Symfony2 (slides). I reuse this second one for one of our customer (La Poste, the French postman company). Now, I can understand my trainers when I was sleeping (or doing something else) during the course!

“The world is big, life is short”

Every day, I wrote code in English. I read in English… but my English was weak (in fact, it’s still!). On the other hand, a little voice in my head shows me the way to the expatriation. But you know, there is a real pit between thinking about living in another country. A lot of developers dream about the Silicon Valley/{pick whatever country}… but (almost) nobody tries to move there.

And one day, I see this talk:

Then, a lot of things happen in my head…

After much soul-searching, I take my decision: let’s be the CEO of my own life! So, I left my company, buy a single ticket to Dublin. “See you Nantes! 🐘”. To be honest, the beginning wasn’t easy… but now, it’s (almost) ok! I found an accommodation and start a new job at Hostelworld.com in a multicultural team. For now, I did not regret my choice to come here. At all! My English level improves considerably… but I’m still not fluent!

git checkout -b 2017

For 2017 my new goals are pretty much the same:

  • Running out of my comfort zone by learning new languages (and perfect my JS), technologies, programming paradigm…
  • Share more knowledge by writing more (I hope somewhere else as well), give more talks (French + English now)…
  • Meet the world again and again by travelling more and more (and further!), perfect my English…

I also start thinking about gradually leave the PHP world. It’s not about the technology itself. Today, PHP fast as hell and the last version (7 and 7.1) bring amazing features (such as type hinting). I just want to put another string to my bow.

I also have some more personal goals, but this isn’t the right place ;-)

Thanks for reading and Happy New Year everybody!

About the author

For the last decade, Maxence Poutord has worked with a variety of web technologies. He is currently focused on front-end development. On his day to day job, he is working as a senior front-end engineer at VSware. He is also a frequent tech speaker and a mentor. As a new digital nomad, he is living where the WIFI and sun is 😎
Do you want to know more? Read this!

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