I’ve been seeing these fantastic year in review retro articles pop up all over the place this week. I’m going to take a stab at reviewing my year both professionally and personally, and then set a few goals for myself for the upcoming year. I really love this format as I feel like it will hold me accountable, and help me strive to hit my goals. The last thing I want is to let you down, dear reader!

Let’s Start Professional

I Moved on from my job of almost 4 years with no new job lined up.

This was a massive one for me, and really falls into both the professional and personal category. The group of folks I worked with were like family, and I wrote at length about that.

I Learned some Backbone, Handlebars, and Node.

What I didn’t get a chance to write about is what followed. A week or so after leaving I got a contracting gig with an awesome agency. I was fortunate enough to work with a pal of mine, and got to learn some Backbone, Handlebars, and Node in the process.

It was really the first time I got to play around with an MV* framework in production, and it was great! Backbone provided a really easy way to set up user signup, and the basic CRUD needed for the project pages associated with the site. The gig only lasted six weeks, but in those six weeks I was able to learn quite a bit. Not to mention the couple of cool components I got to build.

See the Pen Neat Parallax Hero Effect by Dominic Magnifico (@magnificode) on CodePen.

See the Pen Marty McFlyout Nav by Dominic Magnifico (@magnificode) on CodePen.

I gave my first ever presentation at a local meetup!

This was probably one of the more nerve-racking things I’ve had to do. I don’t fancy myself a very apt public speaker, however it turned out great. I wrote about what I learned, but the short of it is that speaking to a group of people helped me understand the subject I was talking about even better, and opened the door for me to feel comfortable giving more talks to larger audiences.

I started writing.

You’re reading the result of that. I rebuilt my blog with Jekyll and starting writing. The magnificode blog saw a staggering one post in 2014. I increased that number tenfold in 2015! I got super close to averaging one post a month, which I’m pretty happy about.

I started a new job.

Last, and certainly not least, is my new job as Senior Front-End (Frontend/Front End/Front-end) Engineer (Developer, Designer, Code Pusher). I could go on and on about how much I’ve learned in the couple months that it’s been since I started, but I’ll try and keep it short.

I’ve learned the importance of escaping all the things in WordPress.

I’ve learned how insanely extensible WordPress is by itself through the use of hooks. I almost exclusively used to use Advanced Custom Fields for extend WordPress, but I’ve learned how to eliminate the need for that almost completely. (Repeater fields, and the Flexible Content Type in ACF are still immensely helpful).

I’ve learned how to set up a local environment for enterprise level clients with vvv and how to deploy those sites with beanstalk.

And lastly, the company I work for was kind enough to purchase the awesome React for Beginners course by Wes Bos. I came out of that with two pages of dense notes, a hugely commented project, and a solid beginners understanding of the React framework.

As I write this, I’ve been fighting the feeling that I’m not growing, or expanding quick enough professionally. But the sheer amount that I have written above has proven that worry utterly wrong. In the past 365 days I have learned a ton!

Gettin’ Personal

Personally I hit a few milestones that I find to be quite awesome.

I moved out of a house I was living in with 4 of my closest friends, and into a house with my girlfriend.

Always a terrifying step in any relationship, but I’m pretty damn lucky to have such an awesome woman. The first half of the year was spent long distance as she finished up school in New York. She then moved into the house with me and my four buddies, a bold step for a girlfriend, but it worked out great. She’s without a doubt one of my closest friends, and the transition was seamless.

I logged over 200 workouts at the gym, lifting a little over 7.5 million pounds in the process, and started eating much healthier.

This was a big goal for me. Towards the middle of 2013 I really put a focus on my health ( Before I moved into the house with my friends I lived by myself, and living by yourself has a sneaky way of making it easy to eat EVERYTHING ALWAYS). I made it a point then to go to start going the gym, In the past year I’ve lost almost 10 pounds, and my main lifts continue to increase. Hooray progress!

I drove from New York to Denver in 2 days.

I’ve never been out of the country, so any travel that I do get to do is super exciting. Once my girlfriend finished school, I flew out to New York to help her move back to Denver. We drove to Chicago in one day, had a lovely dinner on the river. We then drove from to Chicago to Denver in one shot. We had to avoid some nasty storms and tornadoes in Kansas to boot!

Looking Ahead

This is the hard part for me, I have an insatiable desire to learn all the things, and learn them immediately, so setting reasonable goals for myself is tough, but here it goes…my professional and personal goals for 2016.

  • Gain a better understanding of vanilla Javascript
  • To go along with that dive into WebGL and libraries like Three.js
    • I want to get to the point where I can make something like the folks at Active Theory have in ther lab…brilliant, beautiful stuff.
  • Speak at three or more separate conferences/meetups
  • Attend 6 or more conferences/meetups, network, meet people, collaborate!
    • I’m actually part of the way there, the folks at CodePen and myself have organized Denver’s first CodePen Meetup in February. You should come!
  • Draw a lot more
    • I have a neat little drawing tablet and recently purchased some great pens for line art and illustration. I’m drawing a ton of inspiration from all of these talented folks.
  • Read more
    • I love books, I just need to make the time to read, at the very least 30 minutes five days a week before bed.
  • Get my 1972 Pontiac LeMans repainted, and back to it’s former glory.

2015 has been a year of much learning and much growth. Oh also…you know…Star Wars

STAR WARS!