Back in August 2018 I set myself a challenge:
contribute at least one QUALITY post to Dev each week for a year on something I'm learning about, have found useful or feel might benefit others.
✍️ I wrote 71 posts ... and started 16 #discuss threads
👍 I gained 26k followers and 340k post views
🤩 I was featured 9 times in the Top 7 of the Week
🏆 I received 10 different badges
But most of all, I found a very welcoming community.
Cloud Computing isn't going anywhere soon. Earlier in the year I worked on a project to build a new database and lead the migration effort. Migration isn't super glamorous but it's made easier if you understand what's happening behind the scenes. My AWS posts relate to the migration project and my (very) slow journey towards sitting the certification exams. But there are almost 1000 posts that show whats possible with real world examples:
One of the great things about Dev is that you don't have to write about tech topics all the time. I've been able to write about soft skills and personal experiences like my first tech talk, career switching and interviewing skills alongside technical posts. I find the balance between the two something that makes Dev stand out from other platforms.
There have been plenty of good things to come from this one year project. I've made friends all over the world in different parts of the tech community, been included in tech newsletters and have faced up to Imposter Syndrome. But it hasn't all been smooth sailing.
When I resurrected my Wordpress blog I found myself writing on Dev, then cross posting everything to Wordpress to edit, tweak then pubish. Don't do this. There is an RSS tool that allows you to import your posts in the other direction and is much less tedious if you are cross posting.
The other thing which has been tricky is making time to research, write and proof read an article each week. If it was as simple as writing all my thoughts down I'm sure it would be a speedier process. But most of my posts contain screen shots, code blocks and links to elsewhere.
Depending on how complete the post is in my head it can take between four and 10 hours to get just right. This has been difficult. Between overseas holidays, family commitments, buying a house (so stressful) and actually having a life I could do a better job at balancing all this without resorting to late nights and writing all weekend.
Now that my year long challenge is up I need to work out what's next. There are plenty of different ways to help the community through creating content, but that can be overwhelming. Should I be more active on Twitter, write a course, write a book, start an Instagram account, lead a Meetup group, take over someones Meetup group, hit the speaking circuit, create a newsletter, host a podcast, start a YouTube channel. I've had some very kind and interesting offers come my way but picking which ones to dedicate time to feels more stressful than getting through the backlog of posts I want to write.
For now, I've decided I'll be writing two posts per month. One on a SQL or AWS topic I'm feeling inspired about, and the other will be the SQL & Database Wrap Up. This monthly newsletter type post aims to lift others up, and hopefully gets their posts in front of more Devs.
I'll be committing to getting my AWS Certification, that I've been talking about for a year but haven't been able to really dive into, and working on a book or two over at Leanpub thanks to some encouragement and inspiration from James.
Thank you for an amazing year, I feel like I've learned a tonne, made an incredible friends and become part of an encouraging community.
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