A look back at 2016

I have never used this website to reveal anything about myself as an individual. It’s always been a technical blog without delving into personal feelings and photos of my cat (ok maybe once). I’m going to keep it this way but the article that you are reading now will be the only exception. The end of a year and beginning of a new one is a fantastic opportunity to summarise my achievements, failures and set up some goals for the upcoming year.

This year was pretty wild personally. It’s been full of tough incidents like my mother’s cancer (she is fine now) that taught me a lot and made me look at life from a totally different perspective. Next year is going to be very important for me because from the 20th August 2017 I wont see a “2” in front of my age anymore. I’m going to be 30 this year! Let me present my professional and personal achievements of the past year followed by my 2017 goals.

Professional

Creare is the company where I worked for almost two years. It was an amazing time for me but in the middle of 2016 the management of the company changed and I made the snap decision to leave. It was time to find a better place where I could grow, fueled by my passion for the web. Literally on the same day I left the company, the guys from Engine Creative sent me an invitation for a Front-End Dev position. It is a company with an amazing reputation and it is not an easy thing to join a team of the most creative people in middle England. I did it and I’m extremely proud to be a part of this great company. I learn a lot, I receive lots of inspiration from my co-workers, huge support from the directors and I feel that I can make an impact (that sounds so hipster). Thanks Engine!

Engine Creative Team

A developer’s life doesn’t stop at 5PM when I leave the office. It’s been the best year for my open source contributions ever! I contributed over 800 times into a plethora of open source projects. The most successful of my open source projects is Siema - a simple carousel plugin written in pure JS with no dependencies. I did it totally for fun, but the community has adopted these few lines of code with great enthusiasm. Many thanks open source people!

GitHub contribution graph in 2016

The website that you are looking at has grown insanely. Maybe not massively grown in content but it has gained increasingly high popularity. With around 80 unique daily visitors last year I’m now talking about over 3000 unique visitors every single day. This is what I call a personal success! This year I wrote 30 articles and I consider this a huge achievement. Thanks for reading guys, this is the thing that will keep me publishing more and more in 2017.

Unique visitor on my website in December 2016

Personal

This year I realised that I have a problem. I totally lost the balance between the personal and professional parts of my life. Losing this balance cannot be considered a life success but acknowledging it can be a good starting point in doing something about it. More about this in the resolutions section below.

For the first time in my life I have some savings. I managed to find a reasonable balance between the things that I need and the things that I want — this is definitely helpful when you are facing your 30s.

This year I took my first decent holiday in years and I understood the importance of time away from my computer. Thanks to my amazing friend Christina who invited me to spend a week with her in a small, beautiful village in Greece. I have to say that when I came back after that holiday my productivity was better than ever before. I’m adding a decent holiday to the list of things that I’m going to do regularly every year. Thanks again Christina :-*

Beach in Pefkohori with Christina

In 2015 I didn’t read a single non-technical book. Unfortunately I still cannot share with you any impressive statistics about the number of non-technical books that I read in 2016 but it is getting better. It is such a great feeling to read something that doesn’t require every single cog in your brain to spin. I want to do it more often.

In 2017 I will…

My main focus in 2017 is around finding a healthy balance between my personal and professional life. I want to enter my 30s in great mental condition and slightly better physical condition.

Speaking about my professional self, 2017 is a year of new things! In 2017 I will learn a new programming language just for fun. It may be Elm, it may be Swift or my first steps with C - we will see. Another new skill that I’m planning to learn is video making. I’m not going to dedicate my whole life to it, but I feel the need to do something more in this area. As a huge fan of photography I’m planning to invest some money in a new system of Sony cameras and get my hands dirty with video making.

A few years ago I didn’t know English at all, but since I met my other half and moved to the UK five years ago things have changed and my communication skills are getting better. Although it’s still not perfect I’m ready to accept a big challenge — speak at my first conference ever. I have been invited to one reputable event and have accepted it! Crazy! I have submitted to do a few talks for other European conferences in 2017. Stay tuned and follow me on Twitter to find out more later on this year.

I have now been together with my girlfriend for five years and for all the better (and despite some of the worst) moments we have decided to go one step further. This is too personal for me to share more details here. But, essentially, I’ve grown up :)

My girlfriend Olga and myself

I wish you all an amazing 2017 guys. See you right here, same place, same time next year :*