What a year - Dev Retro 2022

What a year - Dev Retro 2022


9 min read

I still can't decide if the year 2022 was good or bad. It was full of fear of uncertainty, stress, and danger. Tho, it was also full of accomplishments, opportunities, and experiences. I both lost my old life and started a new one.

β€œIn order to gain something, you have to lose something... If you've gained something, it means that someone, somewhere has lost something. Even happiness is built on someone else's misfortune.”

Genki Kawamura

Somehow this quote resonates too well with my situation, even though I'm the one who gained something and lost something. I still consider myself lucky. Let's start from the beginning.

Start of the year

It's a new year! Full of hopes, plans, and goals to achieve. One year of our happy marriage, I have just started my career as a Junior Developer for about 3 months and I was having fun. The hit I took financially from my previous career was strong and I still felt that maybe, maybe, I'll have to return back to my previous job if I won't progress further in some reasonable time. I've set a goal to get closer to my old earnings by Autumn, otherwise, I will drop my dream job. Things were slowly settling, I got used to a 9-5 job as a developer after years of working as a seafarer. Things were going smoothly, except for the bad signs of the upcoming war, that were all around the media.

I thought of it a lot and was thinking of moving away with my family, but we were all joking that it will never happen - it can't happen. We were wrong. The tension was growing rapidly and on the 23rd of February, being afraid that I may be mobilized we made a decision to get the first available ticket to travel to Moldova on the 24th of February early morning. The plan was for me to travel first and then my wife, and our dog Kiwi would join me the very next day. Needless to say, that didn't work out.

Over the years of sailing I've got a weird habit of not sleeping before travel because I'll sleep in the bus/airplane, so what's the point? And since I had the tickets on hand already, I thought the same. Reading through Telegram chats was giving a very alert feeling. Then, we have seen a message that the Russian president is going to make a statement at night - my first thought was: "F*ck, he is going to declare war". I wasn't too far from the truth. It was indeed a declaration of war wrapped up in a "Special Operation" naming.

The moment he finished the speech - blasts. We've heard around 3-4 explosions nearby, followed by a few more. I can't remember honestly.

As I told you, I was working as a seafarer for many years. We know that it's always better to be ready for any emergency. That's what we've done with my wife the day before - made a small "survival kit" backpack.

I called the parents, woke them up, and told them the war started. Never thought, I will ever say these words in my life. And I hope you, reader, will never say it for real too.

We grabbed our "survival kit", the dog, and moved to my parents' since their house had a basement. The streets were empty, which honestly was both scary and relieving. Didn't want to see a military presence for sure. While moving towards my parents, we have seen a rocket or few, followed by really loud explosions. Now, I understand that it was antiair missiles, but at that time "who knows what that is". We safely reached my parents' home.

First months of war and departure

First month of the war we stayed at my parent's flat and a few times went into the basement, luckily our city was far from the main front and we didn't have much action. There were some bombings and explosions, but we stayed sound. I can't describe the feelings I had at that time, all I can say I had a very large spectrum of emotions I had never experienced before. For the first few days, I couldn't sleep at night and I was literally "keeping watch" on the kitchen in case something happens to alert everyone. After a few days, I returned back to work, otherwise, I would go crazy.

I was working hard and studying a lot. I think it was some kind of protection mechanism I developed to get rid of bad thoughts. It became some sort of local meme in my previous company when I will set my Slack status to "πŸš¨βœˆοΈπŸƒβ€β™‚οΈ" and send a message that I log off to go to the basement πŸ˜… I'm extremely grateful to my coworkers and boss for their support at that time, I won't forget it.

A month passed and we decided to move back to our home because everything was quiet, not for long. On the same exact day, we had around 6 explosions about 1km away from our home and we returned back πŸ˜‚ It's impossible to always be serious and pessimistic and of course, we were going through it with humor, otherwise you would go mad. That was a terrible time, but also have very sweet memories of how we all went through all of it together. And to prove that here's a story.

One afternoon at my parent's home we were in the kitchen. My wife was having her best time of the day with a salmon sandwich when we heard a loud noise of what we thought was a plane right above us. My wife just mumbled: "Must be ours" and the very next moment we hear a powerful explosion nearby. You might be wondering: "so...what's funny about it?". To be honest, now when I write it I can't answer that, but at that very moment it was funny how sure she was πŸ˜… By the way, she kept eating her sandwich confused about why are we shouting at her to get away from the windows.

Due to certain circumstances, I was able to leave the country any time I needed to, but I didn't want to leave everything behind. Though, in the third month, I gave up, because my parents would be way more comfortable if we weren't in the country. I left Ukraine with my wife.

We decided to move to Portugal for some time. We moved to Porto leaving everything back in Ukraine: family, friends, assets, and our lovely dog. I can't describe what I felt and how I feel now. The best word I found is "empty". This void stayed with me for a long time and till now it returns occasionally. I'm very grateful for the people that helped me to go through it and supported me all the time. But we were lost.

We didn't know what to do or how to live by the new rules. In the end, life goes on, we have to manage it.

New life

Life is like a zebra. There are white and black stripes on it.

During all these events I was trying to keep my spirit strong. I wouldn't stop learning and developing my skills. I would try to create content and entertain my audience, even when it was hard and I felt broken. My plan was still intact, I should grow and succeed. And I was following it. I visited conferences when I could and kept on grinding books. When I felt confident, I started a job hunt. I wanted to streamline my career and started applying to intermediate developer positions. After some tries and tons of rejections - offer. I've got a job as an Intermediate FullStack developer. The first good news in so long. All the effort I put in was not for nothing. I was extremely happy!

We have decided to make another move, but heck, the housing market in Portugal is crazy. After hunting for a month, we found a beautiful apartment on Madeira island, and I must say this was one of the best decisions we have made during this whole time. We finally had some peace.

Career development

Many months forward, we realized that there was nothing much to do on Madeira. Yeah, beaches, ocean, and beauty are cool and all, but heck we need to grow and develop. We wanted something bigger. We had a Canadian visa and were thinking of moving there for another "new life". We started applying for jobs there and it was a huge disappointment. I have received tons of rejections and wasn't even sure if it was because of me, or because we are physically not in Canada yet and companies were thinking that we need a visa.

I was really enjoying following great Developer Relations engineers and wanted to be like them. I am enjoying talking to other devs and sharing my knowledge if I can. I was always like that, though I never had much opportunity to do that for a bigger audience. But the job search for a Developer Advocate was even less successful than for a regular Software developer position. Until...

I never thought that my online presence could be beneficial, but thanks to networking I've got a sweet contract for a side hustle and also an opportunity to interview for a Developer Advocate position. After some interviewing and great conversations, I got an offer πŸ₯³

What a crazy/great year

This year was full of sorrow, fear, and stress. On the other hand, it was full of experiences, emotions, and success. I don't know how to feel about it. Most probably, it's just another year, whatever crazy or great it is.

What I know for sure, I have changed. Not much, but something will never be as it was before. I have reevaluated my priorities in life. Some things I thought were important, nowadays have so much less sense.

Probably that is not the "year in review" you have expected, but it is what it is 😁

Plans and goals for 2023

Starting from the very beginning of 2023, I will join the Vue Storefront as a Developer Advocate and we have another big move. This time though, I was more responsible about the future location and have made great research about pricing, taxes, and conditions. Don't want to announce it yet (with this whole thing you get to be very superstitious), so soon you'll get to know it anyway ☺️

As for career plans, I hope that I will succeed in the future role and will gain and improve the necessary skills to be a great Dev Advocate. I have big plans to widen my audience with the help of YouTube and Twitter of course. And as my main career goal for 2023, I want to give my first-ever talk at the conference.

And of course, personal plans. I really need to get my πŸ’© together and resume taking care of my health, which both means going to the gym and start eating healthy. To keep it realistic, let's say -10kg would be nice 😬

Oh, yes, the last one, finally reach $100,000 in total earnings a year. I think that will be possible if I won't get lazy in between πŸ˜‚

Personal wishes

It's already too late for Christmas wishes, but as someone who was grown in a country where New Year was the main celebration, we wish everything for a New Year celebration. So, I won't be different this time.

I wish that in the following year, everything you desire - you will obtain. I wish you health and happiness! And of course, I wish you would never experience what our people have experienced this year.

Happy New Year! πŸ’š

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