Dev Retro 2022 — The Year of Firsts

It’s that time of year when I sit back and reflect on everything that has happened throughout the year. As I glanced through my diary, I realized there were many things I did not share on the internet.

This blog reflects on my 2022. It articulates my year as well as my development and writing journey. Later, I also briefly touched on my personal life. There are many ups, a few downs, a few breaks, and a lot of hustling.

If you don’t know me, I am Kaushal. I am a front-end developer and content writer from India who talks about the web, open-source, blogging, and cinema. I am currently working as a content writer at The Dapp List.

Take a seat, and grab popcorn; this will be a hell of a ride.

This year was full of my firsts. This year, I got my first internship, a freelance client, and a full-time job. I flew to Bangalore for the first time. I gave my first talk. I realized that I have the potential to follow both my interests – development and writing simultaneously. I started networking and met tons of wonderful people.

I went on my first trip in April, then recently went on my first-ever trip with friends.

Also, I watched less than fifty films in the first year since I started watching movies. Read lesser books than I usually did and completed no games since I built my computer.

I must be honest. I worked with two smaller firms in lockdown. But they were not related to software development or content writing. Hence I call it internship my first internship in the field of development.

I worked as a Software Development intern at HackerNoon for the first four months of 2022. It was not only my first internship but also my first remote work. Hence I spent a few days trying to understand my work, the remote culture, and know the fantastic team.

My prominent work at HackerNoon was integrating Cypress with our websites and configuring a CI/CD pipeline to automate it. Richard, my mentor, tweeted a special tweet to celebrate:

I remember the joy when my first pull request merged into the main repository.

One of my tasks as an intern was to publish one article per month. This was to grow the inner writer within us and get better at writing. Since I was already into blogging, I decided to write about something I had never written before. I finalized India’s digital payment revolution as a topic and started my research. I published two blogs discussing India’s success in the UPI system and RuPay cards. These are two of my favorite blogs to date.

One notable observation I want to mention is that everybody was super chill. No one was rushing things fast despite being in a startup that serves 6M+ users. Even though I was from opposite time zones, I hardly ever faced communication issues.

Unfortunately, the internship ended in April, and sadly, I had to leave the team.

When I started technical blogging, I wanted to clarify my understanding of the topic and share my learnings. I had never thought of getting paid for it.

One day, Aviyel approached me and asked whether I wanted to write paid articles for them. I had no reason to deny it. And I became a freelancer content writer even before I realized it.

I published my first blog on FreeCodecamp in February. I was amazed by the traction it received. It even got featured in Google News.

Somewhere in May, while preparing for my finals, four companies approached me for freelancing. I was on cloud nine. I ended up collaborating with three of them. I understood many things about handling clients, communicating with them, payments and billings, and overall freelance culture. It was the first time I considered freelancing and content writing a side hustle.

I have wanted to participate in Smart India Hackathon since I learned about it before the 2020 lockdown. This was my first year participating in it, and I even got into the top four!

My problem statement was creating a central repository for AICTE to manage university projects and establish a communication pipeline between students, professors, colleges, and different universities. We worked hard and were selected in the top four groups out of 68 nationwide participating.

The final was held at Chandigarh University in the last week of August. It was a 36 hours hackathon with three mentoring sessions and a final judging rounds. There were also some fun activities, a morning yoga session, and not to mention networking.

The 'Dokumushi' team with our mentor

It was the first offline hackathon, that too of such a large scale, for all of us. We worked 36 hours straight with little to no sleep. In the end, we created a working prototype of the model. Somehow, we didn’t win the final round.

Even though we could have done a better job planning, developing, and presenting the prototype, the journey from getting an idea to creating something to present in the grand finale of India’s biggest hackathon was indeed memorable.

I have been into open-source since 2020, but I have never contributed to a large repository or become part of an open-source community. It changed this year.

Tapas Adhikary started ReactPlay in the first quarter of 2022. I have followed Tapas since I joined Twitter, so I was assured that whatever he is planning must be tremendous and visionary. And it turns out it is.

ReactPlay is an open-source community helping developers to grow as software developers. Contributors can submit their React projects and get reviewed by working professionals. I was lucky enough to become an early member of the community.

Soon we started our blog, where we encouraged members to write a blog about their experience and learnings from creating a project(we call it play) or anything related to web-dev, open source, and similar topics. I took the responsibility of managing the blog. Now I contribute by editing, reviewing, and publishing blogs on the platform.

In Hacktoberfest, we started receiving no-code and low-code contributions as well. I maintained our hacktoberfest repository that manages no/lode contributions done to the community.

Apart from this, I worked on configuring a linting setup to the codebase. It was one of the most time-consuming issues I have ever worked on. Everyone in the community collaborated to take this mammoth down. And now the codebase is finally lintified.

During my visit to Bangalore this month, I finally met the inspiration for open-source and content writing in person.

It was fascinating talking to him about so many things – the education system, notetaking, content creation, and of course, the ReactPlay community!

In the Content Writing section, I mentioned that four companies approached me for content work. One of the companies was The Dapp List. I worked for five months with them as a freelancer and then decided to do it full-time.

Deciding to transition to a different domain was difficult. I knew I won’t be able to focus much on web development once I started here. But I love writing as much as I love programming. And I already had experience working as a developer at a startup. Hence I decided to give it a try.

And let me tell you, it has been a wonderful experience! It’s been two months since I started, and I am enjoying my work. We use Gather Town as a virtual coworking space despite being remote. And that’s where all the fun happens. From brainstorming to meetings, racing with a co-worker to petting a dog, we don’t feel like we are physically thousands of kilometers away.

But meeting the team in person is always exciting. Especially when you are totally remote. I flew to Bangalore to host our first-ever Breakfast with Builders in India Blockchain Week. And that’s when I met the team in person.

I am guilty of not sharing many updates of my personal life on Twitter. So here is a quick trip to major areas of my life outside computers.

I spent most of my life at home, spending time with myself. I did not enjoy socializing or meeting new people. This changed in lockdown with slow hits of realization when it struck that socializing is an essential aspect of human life. I started meeting friends and started joining meetups in 2021, but 2022 is when I peaked.

In April, I went on a short trip to Velas. It’s a beach in the Ratnagiri district of Maharastra where the locals come together for turtle hatching.

As mentioned previously, I visited Bangalore this month. I was always fascinated with Banglore and its culture. I spent a week in Bangalore during ETHIndia, and damn! I love this city already!

And finally, I went on a 10-day trip to Himachal Pradesh with my college buddies. It was my first trip with friends, so I was very excited about it.

absolutely amazing, fabulous and fantastic!

Cinema is an integral part of my life. Watching films and trying to analyze them to understand what the director wanted to convey. I watched 40 movies this year. Comparing this with previous records, the number is too less. But considering I was busy writing, traveling, and exploring myself, it’s an understandable count.

My favorite film of the year is Everything Everywhere All at Once. I loved everything about it. The film is the best example of how a multiverse movie should be filmed. The other film I was so excited about was The Batman. I waited for over a year for the film, and every second was absolutely worth it.

I am looking forward to the next year. There are many films I am eagerly waiting for—especially Oppenheimer, Dune-2, Killers of the Flower Moon, and The Killer.

(fun fact: I’m going to watch Avatar right after finishing this blog)

I am a die-hard fan of Kurzgesagt. So when they announced their unorganized offline meetups, I was so excited. So when I heard that Siddharth, a friend from Our Tech Community, is organizing an offline meetup, I showed my interest in helping him organize and talking about how Kurzgesagt shaped my life. He instantly agreed.

I spoke about my favorite video of Kurzgesagt, Optimistic Nihilism, and how it changed my perspectives of looking at the world.

At the start, only a few people were paying attention, so I was feeling nervous. But I realized there are around 20 people who are paying clear attention to me and are genuinely interested. I turned my focus toward those 20 people and continued my talk.

It went amazingly. While preparing for the talk, I had many fears and doubts, but I concurred with them as I finished the talk.

This has been a monumental year for me. I explored myself at such a scale for the first time in my life. And I hope to do the same this year as well.

Plans for 2023 are simple— become more curious, write down what I learn, visit more places, meet amazing people, and do less worry about tomorrow.

Another set of goals for 2023 is regarding my professional life. I want to improve at TypeScript and Next.js and build more projects with them.

I haven’t been able to publish many articles recently. A few drafts are lying in my drafts, but I need to work on them. Here’s what you can expect from my Twitter and Blogging profiles the next year:

  • A blog series about technical writing and JavaScript
  • Blogs around open-source and front-end development
  • Updates about my career and academics
  • Threads about becoming a better technical writer

Until then, happy holidays! 🥂


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