Looking back on the year - Dev Retro 2022
5 min read
2022 was a big year in my programming journey filled with learning, teaching, and expanding my interests.
In the beginning of 2022, I started volunteering to teach Python to under-served students in New York with Coditum's partnership with Hudson Scholars. After a few months of teaching, Coditum made an additional partnership with the Goldeneye Foundation in Oracabessa Bay, Jamacia. I was asked to volunteer with this program, and I started teaching Python to under-served students from Jamaica.
To continue to improve my programming skills, I also worked weekly with a senior Coditum instructor, who is a computer science major at Dartmouth, on data structures and algorithms. I feel like I learned a lot from him so far.
Around this time, I became the editor-in-chief of my school's newspaper, and I decided to make a website for the newspaper. I wasn't sure what the best tool would be to make it, but I had a few ideas like using Notion as a headless content management system (CMS). A headless CMS is a backend-only CMS that is accessible through an API. I found Notion's developer Slack channel, which I joined and asked about my idea. I got an amazing response from someone who was in the same situation as me. Sam Catania, the current editor-in-chief of the Stanford Daily, got back to me and said he used WordPress to make the website for the Stanford Daily. He was super helpful and jumped on a call with me to show me how he built and manages the Stanford Daily's website. I loved it, so I decided to use WordPress for my newspaper. You can check it out here.
I also started the programming team at my school and decided to use Codewars to find problems for our meetings and work on them collaboratively. Codewars is great because instead of only having easy, medium, and hard, they have 8 different levels in the form of Kyu, or martial arts belts. If you have a Codewars account or would like to set one up for free, feel free to follow me and I'll be happy to follow you back.
I took AP computer science principles last school year and got a 5 on the AP test (top 11%). This included making a group final project, and my group decided on a text-based adventure game. It was nice to collaborate with other students. This year I am taking AP computer science A, where I am learning Java.
At this point, I was getting really into web development, but I got stuck on CSS. I took Colt Steele's Web Development Bootcamp last year, which was great, but I felt like I had to do more. I found a great resource called Frontend Mentor, which teaches web development through building real projects. I struggled through my first challenge, using their Slack server for help, but I finally got it.
My next challenges were easier, so I started coding more advanced projects, including responsive ones. Making responsive websites was my next challenge, but then I found a great 21-day free course called Conquering Responsive Layouts by Kevin Powell. This was very helpful in my understanding of CSS.
After making a few responsive projects, I got in touch with Tyrell Curry, a front-end developer who was looking to collaborate on a Frontend Mentor project. I learned a lot about collaboration from this experience and made a great, responsive website called Insure.
After this, I started learning React from a Youtube tutorial by Academind, and then full-stack development with the MERN stack from this Youtube course by The Net Ninja. The MERN stack uses MongoDB, Express.js, React.js, and Node.js. I made a cool workout buddy full-stack application and learned a lot.
Last year I learned to touch type on the Colemak keyboard layout, which is more efficient than the standard QWERTY layout that was designed to be slow to avoid jamming typewriter keys. I learned Colemak on TypingClub, which I recommend. After spending a while only using Colemak, I somewhat forgot how to use QWERTY. Therefore, in 2022, I relearned how to use the QWERTY layout so that I could still type on other people's laptops without Colemak. Keybr was very helpful to relearn QWERTY as it uses your accuracy statistics to target the letters that are most challenging for you.
Recently, nearing the end of the year, I got in touch with a great programmer, Geoffrey Huntley, who was super helpful. I learned so much in one call, owning your own domain, servers and hosting, SSH, blogging, the IndieWeb, and more.
Searching more about the topics that Geoffrey Huntley mentioned led me to the cybersecurity Youtuber Network Chuck, who I couldn't stop watching. I was captivated by the field of cybersecurity and decided to start learning with TryHackMe's Advent of Cyber. I fell behind a little while building my portfolio and finishing up with midterms for the first semester of school, but I am excited to continue this course early next year.
I listened to a Ross Tech & Innovation Alumni Association talk by Dave Cole, CEO of OpenRaven, which offers data classification for security. He mentioned the podcasts Security Voices and Darknet Diaries, and the book The Cuckoo's Egg, which I started listening to and reading. They are great and it's hard to put them down.
I'm excited to continue to improve my web development skills with React, get better at teaching, and learn as much as possible about cybersecurity next year. Next school year I am taking a cybersecurity course that leads to a CompTIA Security+ certification. I am also going to start blogging regularly, which is exciting.
Please add a comment with the areas that excite you the most or with any questions and I'll be happy to expand on these further.
Dev Retro 2022