Taking note of your past year’s achievements is very helpful in motivating yourself and also having a clearer picture of whether certain activities you did or tried actually had the outcome you hoped for. For example:
- Did the SEO tactics you made to your blog increase your blog’s traffic?
- Did your resume overhaul cause any improvements to how often you get asked to interview?
Stuff like that.
I want to go over some of this past year and let you know what changes I made that really helped me out personally and professionally.
A quick overview of some achievements that I consider impactful to my career and family:
- Was given over $2000 worth of product simply by writing on my blog
- Was featured on many blogs and publications like C# Digest, .NET Weekly, builtwithdot.net, and more
- Became the first guest blogger on builtwithdot.net
- Overhauled my blog by migrating from Wordpress to Hexo (better SEO via site speed, semantics, etc.)
- Gained over 1000 followers on Dev.to in under 5 months
- Gained over 200 Twitter followers in my first year on the platform
- Gained over 100 followers on my YouTube channel
- My first time speaking at a user group in May 2018 (about Clean Architecture)
- Started working remotely
- Moved my family back to Nova Scotia, Canada (the place we want to be!)
- Had my 8th baby at the end of the year!
- Started Coravel which is almost at 600 GitHub stars
- Started Coravel Pro which is my first ever attempt at building a paid product
When I started my career as a software developer I had to move my family away from where we lived - our “home” - since there’s just no tech jobs here.
So for years I’ve been trying to work my way into a remote position. After years of trying this is the year I’ve finally succeeded!
In 2017 and into 2018 I decided to focus on my blog and getting useful content out to different newsletters, etc. to gain more visibility. After getting one article featured on the .NET Engineering Team’s blog I realized that it was actually possible to do it! So I just kept on chugging along!
I also overhauled my professional resume using some research I had done on that topic. This lead to getting a job offer to work remotely with a start-up doing some work in the medical industry.
Sounds great - but it would have been more strain on my family in terms of hours worked and all that comes with start-ups though…
Long story short, the offer was pretty much matched by the company I was already working for (a great place to work). I decided this was a better deal since I enjoyed working for this company. We had some candid chats and they understood that my decision to look for work elsewhere was based on a need to work remotely - and they were willing to accommodate.
So, immediately my family and I moved back to our “home” and it’s been awesome!
Here are some tips I learned which helped me land a remote job offer, that might help someone else in a similar position:
- Get your blog onto popular newsletters and sites if at all possible. Then highlight this at the top of your resume. In other words, name-dropping 😎
- Check out Cultivated Culture as a great overall guide
- Work your butt-off learning everything you can about the specific area of specialization your find yourself in. It’s not easy - it takes a lot of work
Many of the stats from the initial days of Coravel can be found in that article as well.
Today, Coravel is nearing 600 stars on GitHub!
For me, that’s insane. Creating a useful and popular set of tools for other .NET developers to use was never something I was ever expecting or trying to do.
Coravel was literally just a fun attempt to solve a problem that I had. I just wanted to see if I could build something simple to make building .NET apps that much easier for myself.
Other stats that blow my mind (all within the first 6 months of the project):
- On average, there are 100 hits on the repo per day (to read the docs)
- It’s been featured on Microsoft’s .NET Foundation Stand-up’s 150th show
- It was also featured on Microsoft’s official ASP.NET site
- Downloaded over 4000 times on NuGet
In addition to Coravel, I’ve started my first ever paid product - Coravel Pro. I knew I had to skills to do something like this, but actually doing it was a lot of work. 😓
But - I did it! With some help and encouragement from some good friends, of course.
What are some tips I can give others on this front?
Solve legit problems that you are experiencing and just let the world know about your problem and the fix you created.
The “fix” could be software. It could be a book. It could be anything.
That’s really it. Everything else you can learn on a need-to-know basis (managing a repo, etc.)
Get on Twitter. Follow some blogs. Start commenting. Encourage the authors.
Follow “the guys/gals” that you look up to in the community.
Did you know that those people you look up to are people? People you can actually interact with?
I’ve made some good friends in the past year by simply getting involved in the community.
And… of course - the best for last. Baby #8!
Yes - I was very tired. That’s why I look very tired. 😋
I’ve got so many ideas for “stuff” I could do. Books. Saas products. You name it.
But I’ve got 8 kids. And a wife. I work full-time. I also contract part-time on the side.
Part of caring for my family, however, is to pour time into my career and profession.
On that note, I don’t have any solid “goals” per se.
There are a few areas I want to focus on for now:
- Coravel + Coravel Pro
- Finding a specific niche for my blog, personal branding and e-mail newsletter (perhaps a new thing altogether? Dunno…)
- Trying to get healthier (I had some health scares recently! 😨)
Other than those fundamentals, I have no expectations 😎
I am planning on going through Julian Shapiro’s Life-Planning guide called “What to work on”.
I think that will 100% put me in a more focused place. Maybe I’ll blog about my results?
Thanks for reading! Let me know in the comments what your plans are for the upcoming year! I’d love to hear what everyone is up to!