Well, without realizing it we are already at the end of 2021. Is it just me or not, this pandemic era makes time goes faster? I remember the last time we can meet each other by a person is about March 2020, and we're almost done everything online for nearly 2 years LOL.
I hope you're all good until today. Like most people do at the end of the year, I'd like to write some of my yearly recap and hope for the next year as a newbie frontend developer. Feels opinionated, but I think this can give you some new insight for planning what to do for the next year. For me, writing this can also be a self-reminder for myself when I read it again.
We all know the Covid-19 pandemic has caused a lot of companies to enable Work From Home (WFH) regulation, except my previous company at that time LOL. From February 2021 until I resigned, still had to Work From Office (WFO) 100% every day even it's a software house company and very possible to do everything remotely.
I started to feel that I'm not enjoying my job at my previous company due to the toxic environment. I even did not learn anything except about mitigation and survival, LOL. For about one year I work spontaneously rather than making planning like a sprint planning routine like common tech companies did. When there're requests from the client, then my senior and I just work on it based on the requests.
The manager didn't give support at all. They just give ideas (actually add the workload for the devs) without explicit and concrete examples. So I have to think harder about the implementation. When the app is successfully developed, the developer never received any appreciation, only the managers.
In August 2021, I got burned out and didn't have the energy to work anymore because of the workload and the workflow. It lasts for several weeks. Luckily it was not a busy moment because there's a lack of client requests at that time. Actually, I still love coding, but not for the company's tasks.
I even spoke directly to him, and luckily the manager did not deny the facts that I've spoken. But the general environment and situation make the changes very impossible to be implemented. So I can say, there're no changes until I resigned from that place.
I learned that work culture and environment are very crucial. After I survived in this company for about one year and three months, I decided to not extend the work contract and luckily I got a new job for the next year.
In August 2021, after I healed from my burnout, I work on a freelance project with 2 of my former college friends. We made a web app using React (frontend) and Node.js (backend). I fell in love with React because of this.
I struggled a lot on the first week because I used Angular before then I have to switch to React in a short time. But, when I understand the code pattern and the basic things of React I finally finished all of my tasks for the project. Thanks to Agustinus Nathaniel for guiding and helping me to understand React properly.
After that, I invested my money to buy a domain for myself and challenged myself to build my own portfolio site using Next.js. Finally, I can finish it within a month. Not only that, I still developed some personal projects using React & Next.js to sharpen my understanding of React things.
I remember the moment I decided to prepare for my resignation in September 2021. After I finished developing my personal site, I challenged myself to make several personal projects and published them on Linkedin. Sometimes I wrote some articles and published them on Linkedin once a week.
My life changed since that time. I got several direct messages which contain a job offer as a frontend engineer (React-based). I also got a lot of phone calls from the talent hunter who offered me a job for their client company.
Now, I'm very selective in finding a job because of my past job experience. I don't want to get into the same toxic place. So when I got a phone call from the talent hunter or recruiter, I did some research by myself to find out the information details about the company, including the company reviews at Glassdoor.
I can identify the red flags regarding that company just by looking at the former employee reviews. Not only reviews, if the company does not have a professional profile like Linkedin Page, actually it can be a red flag too.
Besides that, if I know that I have some friends who work there, I usually contact them and ask them about the work culture and situation there. Actually, I have got an offer letter from a Financial Technology (FinTech) company where some of my friends work there with a high salary. But without asking for more details, I canceled the offer because my friend often overwork and still have to work remotely from home on the weekend (hustle culture). I know the salary is interesting, but hustle culture is not for me and can lead me to burnout again.
What you see is what you get. If you know you've been warned through the red flag that you got from the previous reviews or the information that got from friends, the reality won't be far from that.
Luckily, in November 2021, a recruiter from another hospitality company reach me through Linkedin. Then I followed the recruitment process and finished the take-home project. The pleasant moment is when during the user interview session with the squad leader. The user was not judgemental. He was even amazed at my take-home project result when he reviewed it. We spent time for the interview for about one hour, talking about my previous projects and experiences. It was so fun.
Several days later, I do the final interview with the manager. He is the first supportive manager that I've ever met. He cares about the employees' mental health and workload. He even explained and tell the truth of the company's current situation to me during the interview. We talk about many things during the interview for about more than one hour, LOL.
Finally, after the salary negotiation and the last interview, I received the offer letter. The recruiter was very helpful. She even reminds me of when there are some mistakes in my submitted personal data.
For your information, I live in Bogor, Indonesia, and the company is at Bandung. It's pretty far from my home city, but luckily I got the option to work remotely even after the pandemic ends, yeah!!!
I'll start to work again in January 2022. Wish me luck and I hope this is the better job for me to grow.
As I mentioned before, this is the first personal project that I've done in 2021 using React & Next.js. You can access and take a look at yehezgun.com. I don't like to make complex designs. I'd rather make the simple one so I can understand it by myself when I want to make some improvements, LOL.
So far there are two starter templates that I've made.
- yehez-nextchakra-starter.yehezgun.com -> Next.js (Typescript) + Chakra UI starter template
- yehez-vitechakra-starter.yehezgun.com -> React (using Typescript and Vite as builder) + Chakra UI starter template
You can read my previous article about the benefits of making your own starter template here.
When I wrote an article, sometimes I refer to some links as references. So I thought it will be great if I can have my own link shortener, so I don't need to use and repeatedly search for a link shortener. You can access and even use it at link.yehezgun.com.
The reason I made this is because I need a live markdown previewer when I wrote documentation (Readme file) for a project that I have made. I made it using React Markdown Previewer to enable the live markdown preview. You can access the live demo at markdown.yehezgun.com.
I've been exhausted from googling the same thing repeatedly. So I decided to make a site that contains the frequent things that I usually access or use to resolve "the redundancy" LOL. I made it using Shuding's Nextra. You can see mine at docs.yehezgun.com.
You can read my previous article about the reason why I made my own personal docs site here.
As I told you before, I never worked on a freelance project with my friends. Unfortunately, it's a private project based on client requests. But I can explain a little about what we've made.
We made a warehousing system in the form of web and mobile apps. One of my friends created the mobile app, and I developed the web app, especially the CRUD process. So the employee just needs to scan the QR Code of the goods and the changes will be automatically done on the server. The other employee can also check and validate the data through the website.
The KAI Access App, actually it's an app developed by my senior and me when I was working in the previous company. My senior developed it from scratch using Ionic & Angular. I just developed the requested feature like the Taxi Order system and PPOB feature.
2021 is a tough year for me personally. You have read my experience about how I struggled to survive and finally can get the new job. Thank God I can survive this year, LOL.
I know there're a lot of things changed and delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic since 2020. But there're some things that I want to achieve and learn more deeply in 2022.
I know I'm still a newbie in React development. I even still struggled with CSS even I'm a frontend engineer, LOL. So I decided to learn Tailwind CSS as my preferred and go-to CSS utility tool. Why? Because after I read the docs, it can push me to understand the design and little CSS fundamentals while I learn and use it. It also allows me to make my own design system.
- Clean Code
For about one year I work in the previous company, I got a bad legacy code. It was very exhausting when I have to improve some features. The code is like a mess, LOL. If I optimize my parts, it also means I have to optimize the following features. That's why I often code like a barbarian. I realized that I cannot do this anymore and had to change my behavior.
- Work-Life Balance
This is actually the common dream. Every people want to achieve it, LOL. I wish can achieve it through my new job soon. Hopefully, I also get a healthy environment and work culture, especially supportive colleagues.
Yeah, that's all from me. That's my 2021 recap and hope for the next year. What's yours?