2017 In Review

Now that 2018 is upon us I think it'd be a great time to reflect on the prior year and all that came with it. 2017 was a big year for me in terms of personal growth and clarity. I started off with a few major goals in mind.

I started a new job

My biggest goal of last year was to move to a new company as a developer. In April I crossed that goal off the list by joining a small startup here in South Florida. It's my second role as a developer since beginning this wild and trying journey.

Read 12 books

This was my favorite goal of last year. I rediscovered my love for reading recently and decided to prioritize at least 30 minutes of my time each day to a given book. I found it best to spend the last 30-45 minutes of my day with a book before going to sleep. It helps calm the mind and removes any exposure to screens that may disrupt my sleeping. Here were some of my favorite reads of 2017:

  • Alexander Hamilton, Ron Chernow
  • Astrophysics For People In A Hurry, Neil Desgrasse Tyson
  • A Feast For Crows, George R.R. Martin
  • 1984, George Orwell
  • Ready Player One, Ernest Cline
  • The Big Short, Michael Lewis

I (mostly) kept up with the front-end ecosystem

One of the more challenging things about web development is the sheer amount of information there is to learn, and how fast the landscape of the industry changes. I wanted 2017 to be about finding an efficient way to keep up-to-date with the goings on in JavaScript land, and to do so I created a nice selection of resources that always keeps me "in the loop". The 2 biggest things I did this year were join various newsletters around front-end development and follow knowledgeable humans in the realm of JavaScript, build tools, performance, and CSS on Twitter.

Below are some recommendations:


Twitter users

I listened to a ton of podcasts

I freakin' love podcasts. Honestly, I really believe that I turned a corner in my life when I started to spend time listening to them. There's a quote that I keep hearing on The Tim Ferriss Show that goes something like:

You are the average of the 5 people you associate with most.

I truly believe in this quote. It's honest and true. Having access to influential and smart people such as those that put their thoughts and ideas out into the world through podcasting is so valuable and has cultivated a mindset of work ethic and focused action that I try to apply every day. These podcasts fuel the fire inside me that keeps me moving forward.

My commutes used to be filled with listening to music and, although enjoyable, doesn't bring much intellectual value. I would encourage anyone who hasn't listened to a podcast to give them a shot. There are so many and you will no doubt find one that hits home for you. Below are some of my favorites:

Other favorites

As far as listening goes, I use an application called Overcast. It's seriously awesome. I can group podcasts by category, I can delete podcasts if I don't want to listen to them, I can go through a podcast's archive and download old shows to my phone for offline listening, and I can speed up the podcast to listen faster. I'm around 1.5x right now. My girlfriend thinks I'm on drugs.

I paid off my student loans

I don't have much to say here other than, f**k yes.

What could I do to improve?

2017 was a hell of a year, but there are some things I didn't get to accomplish, and some things that I could definitely do better.

One of the things I didn't accomplish was contributing to an open source project. This is an important goal for me that I will be pursuing in 2018. Open source can be intimdating, and often times I find myself not knowing where to start. If there's one thing I've learned in 2017 it's that the best way to do something in software is just to get your hands dirty.

I also didn't work on as many side projects as I'd planned on. Some of this can be attributed to lack of ideas, some can be attributed to laziness.

I'd like to see myself improve my time management. Increasing my productivity and using my time more efficiently will allow me to get more done in front of the computer while spending more time away from it.

The last thing I'd like to improve upon is writing. I want to fill this blog up to the brim in 2018 about everything that I'm learning, issues that I'm having, or life lessons that smack me in the face. I will be spending a lot of time trying to push my skills to the next level this year, experimenting with new technologies and building out some ideas that I've been contimplating recently. I fully plan to document everything here along the way.


Jake Wiesler

Hey! 👋 I'm Jake

Thanks for reading! I write about software and building on the Web. Learn more about me here.

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