2020 was a year none of us will forget. For me, it was a transformative one, and I wanted to share what I’ve done this year, what I learned, and what I expect for the next.
My career, or “day job” changed a bit this year. At the start of 2020, I was on the Product Marketing team at Pluralsight and had a pretty solid plan for how the first six months or so would go. I was plotting out some talks I’d give, got accepted to a couple, and anticipated a year much like 2019. Of course, that didn’t happen.
The first big trip of the year would have been to London, and I was excited about that, but then the virus hit. Things changed wildly. I won’t share a lot of details here. We (like every company in the world) had to change fast. And we did. We banded together like a family, pulled some rabbits out of hats, and gave everything we had to adapt. It worked out.
I ended up doing more talks/presentations to a bigger audience. Conferences, meetups, and other events will never be the same.
Changes were made this year, and lessons were learned that will help us as a company. Personally, I learned a lot as well. At the end of the year, I’m on the content team, and will be pouring some serious efforts into our blog, so keep an eye on that. I’m excited.
I learned that the world is resilient, my co-workers and leaders are awesome, and I can always find new ways to grow.
Tech I’ve Focused on This Year
There have been some massive changes in technology in 2020, and it’s impossible to learn them all. I’m interested in far more than I could ever learn, but that’s why I’m in tech. But here are the ones I’ve focused on this year:
- Computer Vision
Some of these are carry-overs from previous years, mainly Go and AWS. I’ve continued to advance my knowledge in these areas and share what I know. I put out a course on Go this year that I’m pretty proud of, and hope to do more in the future. I gave a talk at GoWest on the same subject. My love for Go just won’t… go away. Get it?
I’ve also stayed pretty deep into the AWS stuff. I’m not using it professionally as much, but still use it for personal projects and a couple of side projects to keep my skills sharp. It’s a great service that changes rapidly, so it’s helpful to keep up with it.
Blazor was a cool thing that caught my eye, and I had to jump in and learn it. In January, I gave a talk at the Portland .NET group (my last in-person talk), and I’ve stayed with it. I love the technology and am excited to see it grow.
React and Vue are ongoing topics that I can’t get away from. It’s exciting to see all the progress and changes being made.
Computer Vision is something I’ll likely never use professionally, but it’s just so fun to play with. I learned more about JPGs and PNGs in 2020 than I ever thought I’d need. But it’s fun. Tech will never be “just a job” for me.
Other Learning Focus
This year I joined the content team at Pluralsight. At some point last year, I became obsessed with figuring out what makes content great. I continued that obsession throughout 2020 and have consumed a massive amount of information about it. Now that I’m on a content team and in charge of content, my new knowledge will come in handy.
I’ve consumed countless articles, videos, and courses. I’ve read a ton of books. Here are some that stand out:
There is certainly a pattern here. You’ll notice these books about content, public speaking, and what makes ideas stick. That’s very intentional. There are tons of books out there about writing sales copy and content marketing for sales, blah blah. I’m not writing to sell anything. I’m writing to entertain, inform, and enable, so these books fit that goal nicely.
I learned a lot about writing and creating great content. I hope to put that to good use, and of course, I’m going to carry this learning theme into the next year.
This year was interesting in my career as a volunteer firefighter. Generally, around 80% of our calls are medical calls. Anything from weakness to heart attacks, trauma, etc.
This year our medical calls dropped, and I’m guessing it has to do with the fact that nobody wants to go to a hospital right now unless they absolutely have to. But our call volume didn’t drop that much.
We had a wide range of other types of calls to make up for it, including a conflagration I spent days on (that’s me in the news photo, with my rig Heavy Brush 11) while another fire broke out right behind my property. It seemed for a while the whole state was on fire.
Other Cool stuff
This year I was given my Dad’s old TIG welder and started teaching myself how to TIG weld. It’s been going… OK.
I did manage to fabricate a nice upgrade to the welding cart for my other welder:
I love being a beginner at stuff.
What will 2021 Bring?
I have no idea. Right now, I think my areas of focus will be:
- Cloud stuff
- Front End development
This list will change as the year goes on.
I want to thank all of you who read this site, send me emails, and follow me on Social Media. I’m very thankful for the amazing life I have.