So the past year has been pretty incredible/overwhelming/busy and everything in between really, so I thought I’d write a quick summary of all the stuff that’s gone on. Sorry if this seems an awfully long rambling post but I really just wanted somewhere to get down what actually happened last year and reflect on it personally really, so apologies if I go on a bit…
Here’s a quick summary of the things that have happened:
- Attended a bunch of conferences
- Began conference speaking
- Changed job
- Moved to London
- Started lecturing at Oxford Brookes
- Helped kick off CodeClub
- Struggled with Burnout
- Attempted the Tour de Trigs (a 24 hour 50 mile cross country hike)
- Organised another 12 Devs of Xmas
This year for me has been a lot about conferences, learning, and meeting a heck of a lot of people! After having a look through my accumulated lanyards from the past year here’s the list of events I’ve attended:
- jQuery UK (Oxford)
- DIBI (Newcastle)
- Reasons to be Appy (London)
- Reasons to be Creative (Brighton)
- Points Brighton
- Web Developer Conference (Bristol)
- HandHeld Conference (Cardiff)
- Milton Keynes Geek Night (all three!)
- As well as many mini-events like Ubelly Ignite and some Mozilla events.
Looking back it’s a heck of a list! And I can’t say there was a single one that I felt did a bad job. Every single event was packed full of great talks, amazing speakers, and the opportunity to meet and chat to loads of great people in our industry.
Looking forward to this year I’ve actually decided to make a conscious decision to cut back a bit on the conference front, save up some money and look at doing different things. I’m finishing off my run of conferences later this month with New Adventures. I attended the first year of this amazing event and after missing out on the second year I had to get back the 3rd (and possibly final year). It won’t be my only conference of the year I’m sure, I’ll probably be looking to attend Build in the latter part of the year but for now I need a bit of a break.
I’ve been extremely fortunate this year to have been invited to speak at a few conferences. Whether to a room of just 20 or so people or in front of hundreds it’s been pretty incredible. Here’s the short list of the talks I’ve done this year:
- Milton Keynes Geek Night #1 – Code Club
- Ubelly Ignite – Code Club
- Reasons to be Creative – The Designer Developer Relationship
- Reasons to be Creative Ubelly Soapbox – Burnout
- Points Brighton – Burnout
- Milton Keynes Geek Night #3 – Misadventures with Burnout
So far most of these have been short 5 min talks, with the exception of Points where I was able to go on for about 15-20 minutes or so. By far the craziest one was Reasons to be Creative as part of the Gimme 5 slot! 12 people doing 5 minute slots each, back to back with absolutely no time for switch over! We went through 4 rehearsals and various stages of encouragement and advice from John Davey and the team at Reasons, it was crazy and to be honest not my best talk this year but it’s an experience I won’t ever forget.
The talk I’ve been most confident with so far is the Burnout talk, I’ve done this 3 times now and each time I’ve been able to improve it and improve my delivery as well which going by the video, it still needs a lot of improving.
In August of this year I left the amazing team at One Ltd to find newer pastures. I felt it was time to move on and with a real pull towards moving to London I joined the web team at Big Fish as a Front-end Developer. I loved my 3 years at One, it was my first job coming from University, where I learned pretty much everything! They took a chance with me and I really appreciate that.
The move to Big Fish has so far been a great experience as well, working with some fantastic brands, learning a heck of a lot of stuff I had only just started to touch on at One and feeling well and truly like they have a great approach to working in an ever evolving industry.
Made the move to London
For the first few month’s of the new job at Big Fish I was commuting to London from Banbury every day. However I soon started to get very sick of the 6am starts and not getting home till 8.30pm! So after spending 6 weeks or so house sitting for a friend in South East London and moving my mum into my vacant flat in Banbury I was able to find a house share in central London just south of the river and only 20 minutes from work!
It took a little while but after a few months of unrest I’m now pretty much settled in London and so far really enjoying it. For one thing it’s enabled me to attend a ton more mini-events and meet a load of new people in the industry, so while I may not be attending many conferences this year I’m sure I’ll be plenty social at the various events that always crop up around town.
Lecturing at Brookes
As well as speaking at a few conferences this year I’ve also managed to do 2 lectures at Oxford Brookes about working in the web industry giving students a look at what they can look forward to should they decide to join our amazing industry. It’s been really rewarding so far and I’ve had some good feedback from the students and lecturer.
Having industry professionals go into Universities and talk to current students about current techniques and technology is something I feel very strongly about. With the constraints on academic institutes keeping the curriculum up to date can be a real struggle so it’s something I’m going to be working on a lot this year as well hopefully.
The 12 Devs of Xmas
The year closed off with the second coming of the 12 Devs of Xmas. We actually started discussing the site and asking authors back in the summer so it’s been worked on throughout most of the second half of 2012 but once again it was quite a long and at times stressful process. But that’s a whole other post entirely which I hope to get writing soon.
A heck of a year
Ok so I’m going to stop there as it’s starting to get a bit longer than I’d expected. There’s a few things I haven’t covered, like working with the amazing Linda Sandvik and Clare Sutcliffe on Code Club – and standing in for them on a couple of talks (sometimes at very short notice). Going to my first ever hack day, and training for and attempting the 24 hour 50 mile Tour de Trigs hike with Chris & Graham – unfortunately falling ill on the day and only managing a measly 16 miles.
To be honest I’m hoping 2013 is a lot quieter than last year, I’m going to settle into London and the new job a bit more hopefully and try to work on a lot more side projects I have kicking about the place.
Finally to all those I’ve met this year, thank you all for being superb and amazing people, I can’t imagine working in an industry without you guys!