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My 2020 in Review

jorenrui profile image Joeylene Rivera ・11 min read

Although a little late, I decided to write my 2020 review mostly for myself especially that writing down my thoughts and experience kinda helps in clearing my messy mind. I was planning on just leaving this on private in my DayOne, but here it is πŸ˜… Anyway, I decided to be more vulnerable in this post than last year. Tho I still left out some personal stuff hehe πŸ‘€ Also am here trying my best not to make this a diary of some sort. Welp here goes...

Although 2020 was rough, it was still one of the best years of my life. Since I quite enjoy the freedom of working and learning online rather than going to school, and this year is where I discovered, experienced, and learned a lot of new things.

While my 2019 was focused on studying, building, writing, and learning, my 2020 was more on working, trying out new things and learning new techs.

You can read about my 2019 here:


January: Internship

This month went by kinda fast. There was news about the Taal volcano erupting, and the nCov virus. Meanwhile, I was still a student doing my internship as a Web Developer wondering what 2020 has in store.

Anyway, I was now able to adjust to my work. It was nice to know from my co-workers that I am doing an awesome job at work. If they didn't tell me that, I guess I would be stuck thinking about whether I was doing enough. Especially when I remember myself being anxious at night cause I can't wrap my head around AJAX (first time encountering it at work) and on stuff which was new to me, tho one day the ideas kinda click in which I was able to move on. Feedback helps cause sometimes I overdo myself thinking that I am falling behind which in reality I was kinda fast πŸ˜…

I also became the CEO's favorite, in which I didn't like. Cause I don't really like favoritism at work, didn't want to catch unwanted attention and I only get more work assigned to me which feels kinda like a punishment at that time.

So my January revolve around working and then learning ReactJS in my free time.

At this time, I also finished creating this dark mode mobile app design of freeCodeCamp. Check out the figma file here


February: New Opportunity, Seminar, and Hackathon

A friend whom I met on Twitter and haven’t met on real life, referred to me to a startup which I guess is a turning point of my career. He was amazed when he saw my ReactJS portfolio I built on Nov 2019 after a week of starting to learn it, he wanted me on board so he referred me to the new company that he is going to join this year.

Although I was offered a job in my internship, I didn't want to accept it cause I don't like being micromanaged. Most of my stress comes from that.

I was planning to change my stack from PHP to a MERN one. So when I learned that this companies uses NodeJS and ReactJS, I was excited to be on board. I got to talk with the CEO and the negotiation went well.

Anyways, I was then asked to be a speaker at a seminar at my school. I was quite happy to see 1st years who are interested in learning more about programming. Some have some knowledge in web development, while others have some knowledge in game development. Thinking about their future is quite exciting, since I only got serious in web development in my 4th year (2017). Hopefully, this is my last time speaking. I don't really like being on stage welp.

At work, I was getting along with my fellow interns. I even made my friend a design since he wanted to practice his web dev skills. Here's the figma file.

The three of us interns even decided to participate to a Hackathon. It was my first time joining one so I was quite excited. Me and my friends agreed to make an MVP, focusing on the essential. We manage to hack away one little Laravel app. It was nice cause my friend got to learn how to use Git, while me and my other friend gain more experience in using Git.

We manage to finish it early. Tho after that we realized that we don't know who was going to pitch. The three of us were developers focused on hacking the app. Since I was the most talkative one in the group, I got assigned to the task welp. So yah, with my nervous self I researched stuff on Google, created a PPT, and decided to practice my pitch.

Weirdly enough... we manage to get into the finals. The panelists were amaze at my pitch. He said that I was a pitcher that can capture emotions. Then during the Q&A, my friend who was quick-witted manage to come up with answers regarding the process of the app. It was reassuring to have him cause I'm not that knowledgable about business stuff and kinda lack common sense? hahaha. This is what I get for burying myself with books, manga and code.

In the finals, we got to see the other participants on stage. We then realized that bruh how did we get to the finals with our little app 😬 The others were proposing apps that does a lot of things. Even though they didn't finish the app, they would talk and talk about the plans they have for the app and the features they plan to implement. This made me realize the point of the Hackathon, it was kinda like thinking of an idea for a startup. Tho I may be wrong. In the end, I kinda flop the last presentation. We didn't have facts/stats/plans to convince them. Tho we were just there to have fun, I didn't even expect we would get that far πŸ˜… Overall, 10/10 would not do it again. The lack of sleep just made me irritable and weird lol.


March: First Developer Job

This month, I had my graduation pictorial today. Make-up sure does changes a person's look 😳

Sadly, graduation was postponed due to nCov.

Anyways, back to programming, my internship was finally finished this month. Then I had a week to prepare myself for my new job before my first day. I must be crazy applying as a full stack developer in a tech stack that are full of JS while I only knew ReactJS. So in that week, I tried learning NextJS, Styletron, BaseWeb, Firebase, NodeJS, KoaJS, TypeORM, and a lot of techs I still haven't learned yet. Of course, I didn't learned all that in a week. I wasn't that much of a genius and I want to have a good night sleep.

So on the job, it was like a baptism by fire. I read the docs bit by bit everyday, while I work on my tasks. It was my first time seeing an API-based/micro-service architecture. Heck, I only learned what a monolith is today. I also got to learn about pre-seed, seeding, valuation, etc. It was fun. I get to learn all sorts of stuff I didn't know before and I even get to learn more about how to use Git with a team and do code reviews (yup first time doing code reviews and making a PR, guess me and my fellow interns in my previous job were doing something wrong by just pushing everything to master/main branch hahaha). Learning on the job is much more easier than by tutorials cause I get to see the production codebase and how code reviews and changes are implemented.

I was also grateful cause my friend who referred me helped me to cope with the job. We would ask questions to each others about the codebase. I realize that the job became less intimidating when you have someone that you can rely on. My first dev job was a remote one so it was kinda hard, tho with his help I manage to get my footing.

So with my new job, I was quite satisfied with how things are going. I get to code and learn new stuff on the job.


April and May: Side Projects

As time went on, I took on more bigger tasks in my job. First it was fixing a bug, then creating components, then creating pages, etc. I was enjoying my work and I now manage to get the work-life balance thingy work that I now have time to work on some side projects.

Made an app to practice the tech stack at my current company.

Drew some pokeballs. Checkout figma file here

Then published an article entitled "A Look into How I Manage My Personal Projects (My Git/GitHub Workflow)". Tho by now (2021), I use the commitizen commit convention and didn't do squash and merge anymore. So yah, a lot has change in my workflow ever since this article has been written.

Also finished the Design for Developers course on Frontend Masters by Sarah ❀️


June, July and August: Work and Buying Stuff

This month, my friend from my previous school referred to me to his current company. So I worked as a frontend developer/designer to test whether I can keep up with having a part-time job. I was glad that the client liked my wireframes and designs and I taught my fellow devs things like Git, ReactJS, etc.

Most of the months, I worked my ass off doing my full-time and part-time job. I was kinda doing stuff on a schedule since I didn't want my part time job to affect my full time job. I swore to myself that if ever my part time job gets in the way, I would cut it off.

So far, my output in both jobs were good so I didn't have to worry. With that, I manage to finally buy myself a MacBook Pro 2019. I been wanting to have one ever since I learned how to code. It was really hard to use my old laptop since I can't use VSCode with ReactJS. I have to use Sublime Text to save me some RAM.

I bought a Nintendo Switch, some games, a Wacom Tablet, etc. Well you get the idea. I was burning money at a faster rate hahaha. I'll hate myself later for this lol.

Anyways, I also started learning Ruby and Ruby on Rails since this is what we're going to use in our new feature at work. I tried The Odin Project for this.

The MVC architecture kinda reminds me of Laravel and CodeIgniter. So with that, I quickly became comfortable with Rails. Tho the syntax was new to me, it kinda grew on me after some weeks.


September: Hell

This month, I decided to resign from my part-time job. Thinking about it, I have to sacrifice my side project time and time with my family for this, so I guess I had enough. Moreover, this was a bad month for the company. Due to nCov, we had to finish the on-demand courses quickly to survive.

An employee just resigned so we were short by one man. I gave double the effort since I didn't want to see the company die. I was curious as to how far the company will go someday. It was kinda hard to be assigned to a big task, tho I do enjoy the freedom I have in building it. I was tasked to build it using Rails, so yeah my first Rails app, besides tutorial apps, is gonna be this one. Thankfully, with my previous knowledge of Laravel, the concepts about MVC, migration, etc. I was able to quickly adjust and finish my tasks. Designing the database and building the APIs was hella fun. Didn't expect that I will enjoy it more than the frontend I guess.

In the end, we manage to survive yey. And I get to take some day-offs to recharge my batteries.


October and November: Side Projects and Games

At this time, I’ve learned some AlpineJS. I’ve also started to make a component UI library called Cionru. Although it is kinda unfinished now, I have plans for it in the future (will be related to Sutle, my current side project, and Stitches). Moreover, it was my first time contributing to open source. I manage to create a PR about translating the React docs to Tagalog.

I also tried streaming, tho I realized that it wasn't for me after two streams. Then I played some games with my friends in my free time.

I also continued my studies with Rails and ReactJS. By the end of Nov, I bought Wes Bos' ES6 and ReactJS and GraphQL course. I was kinda excited cause this is my first time buying a course. Since I didn't have the money before, I was relying on free resources like freeCodeCamp for which I am truly grateful.

Overall, I spent my days studying and playing games with my friends.


December: ES6 and Sutle

This month, I learned TypeGraphQL to build Sutle. I manage to finish the auth part of it (sign in, register, forgot password, etc).

I learned a lot of things from this side project like testing using Jest, using Circle CI, etc.

By the end of Dec, I manage to finish the ES6 course that I bought. I took one module a day to brush up on my ES6 skills.

Also, I'm officially a BSIT graduate πŸ₯³.


Reflection...

This year was kinda wild since it took my work to a whole new level. From only knowing Laravel, PHP, Bootstrap and jQuery, I went on to become a Full Stack developer that has NextJS, ReactJS, NodeJS and Rails under my tool belt.

Tho unlike 2019, I was not that active on Twitter anymore. Tho tbh, I don't like being on social media cause I kinda feel that I'm not good enough. Also I like being in my own little world. Tho I can't deny that Twitter has helped me get my first developer job. I used it to make myself known. By creating CodePens and writing blogs then sharing it on Twitter. It also helped me to connect with amazing people.

Anyways here's a short version of my dev journey:

Learn web dev at freeCodeCamp > share blog posts/projects on Twitter > finish my Thesis > build a portfolio > Use thesis and portfolio to get internship > get first dev job thru referrals > graduate

Although I kinda wrote this on a happy note, there were days when I cried, been frustrated, been angry, etc. I just didn't want to write it cause it's kinda personal.

Sadly, this 2021, I decided to resign from my full-time job. I have a list of reasons to stay to help me make decisions, so when my deal breaker regarding the tech stack got ticked off, I decided it's time to go. Tho I also got a lot of things on my mind when making that decision. It was fun and I learned a lot. It was also kinda of a bittersweet cause I can't deny that I enjoyed the time I had there and the code that I've built was one of the things that I want to treasure and keep on improving. If things were different, I really want to stay and work on it until it's all grown up. Anyway, I'll be unemployed by the end of January. It's sad and scary but I guess I still need to move forward. Although I am sad, in the end, it was my decision so I gotta trust my guts.

With that, I was planning to continue my side project for the next two months then try to apply as a Full Stack Dev. I was also curious as to how employable I am, since there's a pandemic, I'll be able to see whether I'll be able to find a job that I like or not. Tho I am only able to do this cause I don't have much responsibility yet and I live with my parents. So after a couple of years, I need to be financially responsible to be able to do this again if ever I needed one. For now, I'm gonna be a free loader in the upcoming months πŸ˜…

With that thank you for reading this long post of mine 😁

Discussion (2)

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Mark Jonathan G. Maiztegui

Awesome, glad to see a fellow BlueHacks 2020 alum here! Didn't know there was a tagalog translation of the react docs🀣, better check it out

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Joeylene Rivera Author

Yup. You can checkout the repo here: github.com/reactjs/tl.reactjs.org 😁