My 2021 Year in Review

5 minute read

Like last year, 2021 has been quite the year. Despite the pandemic, I stayed healthy and managed to have a pretty good year.

This reply to Nader Dabit's Tweet sums up a lot of my year, but let's break it down.

Talks permalink

I gave four talks. Were these conference talks? Most were lunch and learns, but I also had a Hacktoberfest talk.

The first talk of the year was for The Collab Lab. I went over what Storybook is and how you can use it in your application. I even did a live coding session demonstrating its use in one of The Collab Lab cohort's projects.

Here's the accompanying slide deck and blog post for the talk.

The Collab Lab was looking for more mentors recently, so I offered to mentor. I'm looking forward to meeting my cohort in Q2! Let's go!

My second talk of the year was a lunch and learn for my favourite community, Virtual Coffee! It was all about debugging JavaScript. From console.log to debugger.

Here's the accompanying slide deck.

Next up was another lunch and learn for Virtual Coffee, "Getting Started with Streaming on Twitch". Many folks were interested in streaming and learning in public, so I shared what I had learnt after one year of streaming on Twitch.

Here's the accompanying slide deck and blog post for the talk. Check out the blog post, as there was stuff I didn't have time to mention or forgot.

My last talk of the year was for Hacktoberfest. The AppWrite team approached me to talk about open source, and I was happy to oblige.

I appear at this point in the video.

Here is the accompanying slide deck.

If you're interested in other talks I've given, you can check out my talks page.

Workshops permalink

I gave two workshops at CodeLand 2021! The first one was about contributing to open source with my awesome co-worker Arit Amana.

The second workshop was on accessibility with my other awesome co-worker Suzanne Aitchison.

Folks paid for these workshops, so there is nothing I can share aside from some kind words from Jenny, one of the workshop attendees.

Making an Impact at Work permalink

It's funny how this section of my year in review is short, but nonetheless, I made some big impacts at work:

  • I got end-to-end (E2E) testing in place
  • Revived Gitpod in time for Hacktoberfest for Forem
  • Mentored and paired a tonne (outside of work too)
  • Shipped features
  • Worked a lot with the community (we're open source)

Streaming and Live Coding permalink

This year, I streamed a bunch with my co-worker Christina on the DEV Twitch stream, but I also got back into streaming more on my channel.

If you're interested in checking out the back catalogue of DEV Twitch streams, check out the DEV YouTube channel.

I also have my own YouTube channel, where some of my streams persist.

Explored Web3 permalink

I won't link to all the projects I've done in this space (you can check out my GitHub profile, but I will link to one project since it's modestly popular. I created a web3 starter project template.

The repository on GitHubOpenGraph image for

If you are interested in web3, definitely check out Buildspace and consider joining a DAO like Developer DAO.

I'm still exploring this controversial space, but all I can say for now is it's been fun exploring the tech and ideas.

Podcasts permalink

2021 was the year of podcasts for me. Before 2021, I had never been a guest on a podcast.

Virtual Coffee is my favourite community, and I had the privilege of being the first guest on their podcast. It was awesome chilling with my friends Bekah and Dan. Check out season 1, episode 1 with me!

Later on in the year, I got to hang with my co-worker Ben Halpern, Jonathan Carter, principal program manager at Microsoft, and Cassidy Williams, Director of Developer Experience at Netlify.

We discussed Visual Studio Code and everything related to it on DEV Discuss, S6:E7 - VS Code and the Extended VS Code Universe - DEV Community.

In the fall, Candost Dagdeviren reached out to me on Polywork about being a guest on their podcast. It was a great discussion. Check out episode #25, Live Pair Programming, Open Source, and Building Communities with Nick Taylor.

And to round off the year of podcasts, I got to hang with my co-workers Ben Halpern and Arit Amana, along with Michael Boroff, mental health program manager at Crossover Health. We discussed imposter syndrome DEV Discuss episode S7:E7 - We Have Tools To Help You With Your Imposter Syndrome - DEV Community.

Created a New Community permalink

With Forem, you can now self-host your own community! I'd been running a Twitter handle called vscodetips for a few years now, so I took this opportunity to create!

We're also on Product Hunt!

Working Out 💪🏻 permalink

Since gyms are closed, I built a garage gym. It's not huge, but it lets me put in the work.

I trained consistently this year, typically 3 one hour HIIT sessions/week. Not only did this keep me sane, it just all around made me feel better. Since I train at 7 am, it's also a great way to start the day feeling energized and having a clear head.

I'm still not where I want to be, but it feels great to be working out consistently again, as year one of the pandemic derailed my training. Also, after performing thousands of lunges this year and all kinds of single limb training, my body is snowboard-ready. 🏂🏻

Fun Stuff permalink

I rebuilt my backyard rink. It's a little wider this year and twice as tall. I ran into issues mid-winter last year where the ice ended up being at the same height as the walls. I had to use scraps of wood; I had to make it taller along with snow and ice. It worked but making it twice as tall this year will avoid all that.

How it started

How it's going

More 2021 highlights on Polywork!

Stay safe friends and see you in 2022!

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash