2017: Year in Review What’s up, 2018!

Posted December 28, 2017 in Thoughts, Updates

I really enjoy reading other people’s (and companies‘) ‘year in review’ blog posts. I did it in 2015, but skipped last year because I was on my ski bum sabbatical.

2017 was a really turbulent year for me (Saturn return, anyone?), as it was for many others (and the world at large…). I immediately had an idea for a fancy React project that could live at 2017.notlaura.com, but one lesson 2017 taught me is that I’m someone with more ideas than bandwidth.

In a nice turn of events, my 2017: Year In Review post ended up morphing into the Tales of a Non-Unicorn follow up I’ve been trying to write for the last eight months. Stay tuned for that! This post, then, will be a forward-thinking one.

I have two primary focuses in 2018:

Focus 1: WordPress.

I’ve been on the WordPress wagon for around six years, but my perspective has changed over the course of 2017. Up until this year, I saw WordPress as a tool I used to make money. My real passion was working on the front end; I wanted to “bridge the designer-developer gap” by way of design systems and I don’t know what. I think I missed that wagon, and I don’t care to chase after it.

Now, that’s pretty much swapped; I’m a lot more interested in WordPress than I am front end (I still hesitate to say that…I do love front end). For a variety of reasons, not least of which are full-time job opportunities, I see more potential for my professional and personal growth in WordPress, and I’m going to double down on that. I just can’t do it all, unfortunately, and it’s time to specialize.

With that in mind, here’s what I’ll be up to in 2018 with regards to WordPress:

  • Continuing to help organize the Hollywood WordPress meetup
  • Contributing to Gutenberg via documentation, written tutorials, and maybe even some source code. I’m guessing this will help with my ever-present goal of beefing up my JavaScript knowledge.
  • Building websites that take full advantage of what WordPress offers. That translates to removing ACF (and probably Timber) from my workflow in favor of tools in WordPress Core like the Customizer and the Gutenberg Blocks API. The extent of this beyond a current pro-bono project is contingent on what my bill-paying work ends up looking like.
  • Speaking about the above in talk titled something like, “Mapping ACF’s Flexible Content Field to Gutenberg Blocks”…or something like that.
  • Go to LoopConf in Salt Lake City in February, hopefully!

Focus 2: Understanding, and helping others to understand, what’s behind the tools we use.

That translates to better understanding Computer Science. The motive for this is, in part, getting myself in shape for technical interviews, but primarily for the value in understanding the mechanics behind the abstractions we use every day.

Writing all of those CS posts this year has made it much easier for me to get the hang of new technologies; the tools we use will always change, but what powers them won’t be changing anytime soon. I think it’s well worth our while to invest some time in the latter.

Here’s what I’ll be doing in 2018 with regards to that:

  • Writing a series of four posts about CS fundamentals for CSS-Tricks
  • Participating in a book club/algorithms study group through Learn Teach Code here in LA
  • Mayybeeee…speaking about this! I’m submitting a proposal to a few conferences, so we shall see.
  • Teaching something along these lines for Girl Develop It LA.

Although this is a lot of work, I’ve cut out a few topics from my things-to-focus-on list, such as SVG animation and illustration (I’ll still do this in some capacity, somewhere), learning React and headless WordPress (except if the right project comes up, I’m in), and the fixing job titles thing (I’m just over it).

Like I said above, I’ve officially realized I have more ideas than bandwidth, and I must stop holding myself to an arbitrary standard created from what I see other people doing on Twitter. That’s paralyzing.

Bonus Personal Goals

My work goals are also personal in nature, but here are some miscellaneous non-web goals that I may or may not update as the year progresses:

  • Avenue of the Giants Half Marathon in May
  • Write a blog post about roasting coffee. Did you know I roast my own coffee?
  • Do two wall-worthy art projects, and maybe take an art class – ideally printmaking if I can find one!
  • Read a total of five non-web books and three web-related books.
  • Volunteer four times, perhaps for something to do with helping the homeless population. It is such a devastating issue here in LA, and one I’m reminded of every time I leave my apartment.

And now, it is time to stop writing about what I’m going to do, and do it! That being said, writing will be an important part of 2018 for me. As a result of the plans above, I hope writing will both become easier for me and a bigger part of my identity as a web-worker.

Okay, now go think about your 2018! If that’s a thing for you, I mean.


What do you think? Do you have any questions, thoughts, or related links to share? Did I make a mistake in my post?

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