I'm the type of person to document and write down plans or steps for anything I do, but a lot happened to me in 2020/2021 when I was depressed and too broken to review or write out new plans. 2022 was the first time I started a new year without any short-term or long-term plans. The old ones were out the window; almost everything I knew about my life was gone as my life was heading in an unknown direction.
So I took a break from planning my life and left it 100% to God, wondering what the end result would be like. This article will discuss my 2022 challenges, accomplishments, and everything in between.
In 2021 I joined tech twitter, and when December came, I experienced the December holidays on its streets. Of all the happenings, the one that stood out to me was the EOY(End of Year) Review that almost every person was writing. I wasn't going to write a review for 2021 because it was too sad for me, but I told myself I would do so for 2022.
So even though I didn't have any plans for 2022 except to survive, I made a short list of tasks. Simple stuff I was sure I could finish and nearly impossible ones to inspire me. I also decided to document any achievements I made along the way.
And I recorded many achievements that I never imagined would happen to me in 2022. Out of the 28 tasks I gave myself, I finished 20 of them.
I journeyed into 2022 again without a laptop so learning web development and applying confidently for jobs or internships was still tricky for the first few months.
In February, I got a front-end developer role at a Nigerian startup. (I had to borrow someone's laptop for it.) I wasn't happy working there, but I wanted to gain experience. But the longer I stayed, the more it felt like a toxic environment. So after a few months, I left.
It also was challenging balancing a full-time job as a developer with writing articles as a hobby and having a healthy social life. In 2021, it was easy to write articles continuously because I was without a job. But in 2022, I struggled to write frequently. I wanted to write 20 articles for my blog but ended up writing 7.
And I worked on weekends because I wanted to meet the deadlines for the contract articles I was writing. But I tried to sleep as much as possible and rewarded myself occasionally for my hard work.
Social anxiety didn't allow me to network with people as I would have liked. When I wanted to go out, especially to tech events, I would prepare myself before the event on how to do my networking. At the event, I would panic and end up talking to a few people or not networking.
During the year's second half, I started volunteering my skills to the tech community. My friend Benny Ifeanyi Iheagwara got me to speak at a twitter space and later as a facilitator for a training program. I was scared at first, but later relaxed and enjoyed the experience.
After the first training program, I got excited and started applying to other ones. I had already forgotten how busy I was and didn't expect to be picked by some of them. One time I had 2 programs running simultaneously for 3 months at the same time during my already stressful work life. It was hard trying to balance all these commitments, but in the end, I was happy I was a part of all of them.
I had a lot of wins in 2022. Many of them I didn't dream or think of. My goal was to survive and see what God might do for me, and he surprised me. If someone were to tell me at the beginning of the year that I would achieve all these and be where I am today, I wouldn't believe it.
Almost all of the jobs and gigs I got in 2022 I never applied for. I was either referred to by a friend, or the company saw my work online and reached out to me.
I got to write articles, get paid for them, and have most of them published for companies like LogRocket, UploadCare, 2Captcha, and Turing, to name a few. I wrote over 20 articles and had almost all of them published, with half featured on Daily.dev, CSS weekly, and a couple of other Email newsletters.
I added more technical skills to my bag, including Vuejs, Bulma CSS, Nextjs, Ant Design, and Redux Toolkit. I also got a new job at another startup, Tramango, immediately after I left the first one. And I also got to experience what it was like to work in a sane environment.
I contributed to 5+ open source projects, including Moja Global, through the She Code Africa Contributhon program, which I participated in, and ChRIS through the Outreachy program. I also built an open-source project called Tech Roadmap, which provides free curated resources for code and no-code tech jobs.
I competed in 1 of the Hasnodes Hachathons and spoke at two Tech Twitter spaces. One was hosted by Non-Tech in Tech (NTIT), and the other by Nsonye. Thank you, Benny, for getting me started on this talk/volunteering thing.
I got to guide/mentor a handful of individuals on technical writing, development, and design, and also be a mentor/facilitator for 4 programs. I was a Front-end developer mentor for the She Code Africa mentorship program and a Technical writer facilitator for the training programs hosted by Yoable, Nsonye, and Empower Her Community x NTIT.
I attended 3 in-person tech events; OSCAFest, CareerBuddy, and Startup Festival. And I volunteered for 3 more; Mara Blockchain Masterclass, DevFest Lagos, and the No-Code Tech Summit. And I attended a lot of online events as well. I also made friends from these events and many new friends online from different places, and I met several of them in person.
I also don't remember being depressed or extremely sad throughout the year. Baby girl was either happy licking ice cream or too busy with work to be sad or depressed. And I got to grow spiritually too.
My sister and I also bought my mum a new phone, and then I also bought myself a new laptop (not a Macbook, though), phone and tablet.
Then I went into investment again. I stopped because there was no money. Sapa no let me (which in loose terms means 'poverty/brokeness did not allow me to').
There were only a few disappointments I had. I applied to many companies as a writer and developer and was rejected.
I also applied and wasn't picked for the Outreachy program and The Collab Lab. I got discouraged and took a break from job-seeking during the second half of the year.
Then I lost a $36k+ job due to village people (a term used my Nigerians to mean bad luck). Omo, I was sad for a couple of weeks.
I am thankful for a lot of people who contributed to my growth. I'm thankful to Emmy Stephen for explaining what tech was all about and helping me decide which career path to follow, and to Elijah Obominuru for allowing me to prove myself and Sandra Onome for the referral.
And to the people who supported me and cheered me on even when I wanted to give up countless times, including Gabriel Akinyosoye, Joseph Tsegen, Eniola Oladipo, and my beautiful sister, Tomisin Akintokun, thank you.
And most importantly, I am thankful to God; it would have been harder without him, and to myself for not giving up and pushing through.
Here are a couple of things I learned in 2022. First, no work is worth my mental health, even if I am my own boss. Another one was that if one were to die today from overworking for a company, that company would find someone to replace them immediately, so put yourself first.
The third was that having a life outside work is very important, especially if you are a developer. Most of us have formed the habit of working every day non-stop, especially in this work-from-home era.
I am not a fan of going out and socializing and was terrified of public speaking, but when I noticed that my little life was starting to become nonexistent, I had to force myself to meet people, make friends and do things I usually don't do. Basically, I left a lot of my comfort zones. It was scary, and it still is, but I know it's for the greater good.
Constantly recording my wins and losses, no matter small or insignificant I thought they were, really helped me visualize my year. I made a notion page to document my journey, and I'm excited to start the experience again in 2023. (If you are curious as to what it looks like or want a copy of it, here is the Achievement Tracker template)
365 days is a lot of days for someone to remember everything that happens. If I had done that in 2021 and celebrated even the tiniest wins, I wouldn't have been as sad or depressed as I was then.
Of Course, other lessons were learned, but these few were eye-opening.
Nsonye tweeted asking what our one word for 2023 is, and I chose Metamorphosis. I have successfully survived 2020/2021 with all its downs and downs, and it has shaped me into who I am today. 2022 was the development process, and now it's time to fully morph into this new person I am becoming.
In summary, I plan to learn more skills and improve on existing ones, move a few steps higher on the work ladder, write more articles and documentations, speak at events, mentor more people, build more awesome projects, contribute to more open source, develop myself spiritually, mentally, and physically, go out more, make more friends, significantly increase my current earnings and enjoy life 100%.
And with this, we have come to the end of my Dev Retro 2022. Thank you for reading my EOY review. I hope you gained a few things from it. Welcome to the new year. 💃🏽