First (& last) post of 2018

This is kind of the obligatory post so that I don’t leave 2018 without blogging 😬

Not including Christmas travel, I took 10 trips this year – including my first big vacation trip, to Ireland (where I got engaged 💍🎉). The rest were conferences & team meetups, all in North America.

I didn’t give a talk anywhere, which is disappointing looking back, but I also didn’t apply to many conferences. I think I left 2017 feeling not-great about my speaking ability, like…

  • other people were giving better talks on the tech topics I would speak about,
  • and I was more interested in speaking about non-tech topics (like the spark of an idea for an intro to neurodiversity and how to make your teams neurodivergence-friendly, or the other idea for an intro to the social model of disability to reframe how to talk about web accessibility) but don’t know many tech-adjacent conferences that would want these talks.

I think the way through the first issue is to blog more, then I can get a grasp on how to present the info in a talk. And I do want to focus on tech talks/topics. There’s a plan for 2019, so hopefully you’ll see more posts around here.

Work-wise, I started the year working on a project that has already been all but sunset. After that, I jumped into a new project that will eventually become the new way to use WooCommerce. I’m proud of my contributions there: a framework for shared components (on the wc.components global and published on npm), for components that 3rd party developers will want to use; an emphasis on accessibility with each component; and a system for component documentation that uses proptypes and inline docs to generate a developer-friendly docs site.

A few months ago, I was asked to join another project – the WooCommerce blocks “feature plugin”: to replace the [products] shortcode with a set of easy to use blocks. It’s my first real work with Gutenberg (well, directly; wc-admin uses the React library & components, etc without the block editor). I’m the only dev on this project full time, but there are a lot of people involved in different aspects. Balancing feedback and scope along with a sprint/release cadence has been its own learning experience, but a good one.

Last January I started helping out with the hiring process for developers. That’s meant that I’m running some initial interviews and coding exercises each month. I was very nervous about this starting out – I even gave myself an “out”, but I had to get over the initial reactions first. I set a slack reminder 3 months from a stressful ride-along interview, where I told myself I had permission to back out. To my surprise, I’ve enjoyed it – it’s been interesting hearing other developers’ backgrounds, and the path to where they are now.

Overall, this has been a strange year, but personally trending positive. I feel like my career is finally on a track, and a track I like; and the idea of making a 3 or 5 year plan doesn’t feel so nebulous.

As for 2019… aside from “blog more”, I don’t have a lot of work-related new year’s resolutions. Personally, I want to bake more (Mel got me this huge book of whole wheat baking recipes, and I have plans for a cheese babka), and sew more. I am possibly the world’s slowest sewist, but I have a tunic pattern and some wonderful flannel fabric that I’d like to use before it’s too warm to wear it.

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