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This is the second time I am writing a year in review, the first one was for a recap of 2019. The year 2020 has been chaotic, to say the least. With COVID 19 turning out to be a mild world war 3, everyone had a fair share of this disorder and new normal. In this post, I am going to discuss the professional and technical things I accomplished in 2020.

A recap of professional things I accomplised in 2020 including blogging, a side projecat, and some other things

Highlights #

  • My interview got published on Developers Nepal’s Newsletter volume 1
  • Successfully migrated this blog from Octopress 2.0 to Eleventy 0.10 - here is the pull request
  • Deployed a pet project with helping hands from almost 2 dozen people - Au Tech Jobs
  • Before I took a social media break, a tweet thread I did in May-2020 about “How to run your side project for exactly $0 a month” gathered 36+ retweets and almost 60 likes.
Sum up the highlights of 2020

This year I got interviewed only once. At least I have 1 interview to share. I was asked to appear for a couple of interviews/panel discussions for youtube channels but I didn’t do it due to some reasons.

Interview Developers Nepal newsletter #

When Bibek Shrestha (not the one from Kandara :) band) asked me to do an interview for the first Developers Nepal newsletter I said yes. I got his email about it in mid-Aug (it was winter here then) and my interview was published on Nov 2 (almost summer here).

Also, big thanks to Aviskar and the team to condense the over ranting into something concise and readable.

The interview I believe has set the tone right for the newsletter. The second interview of Anita Sharma is also out recently.

My interview on the first editon of Developers Nepal Newsletter

Blogging and writing #

In terms of the number of posts, this year 2020 has been the highest.

I have written 24 blog posts and with this recap, it will be 25.

The year started with a post on the “Difference between backend, frontend, full-stack, and super stack development” which turned out to be the most popular post of 2020.

Most popular blog posts of 2020

Let’s look at other posts published this year that have gathered a good amount of views and read:

Most viewed blog posts #

Below are the most viewed posts of 2020 for the blog posts published in 2020 :

  1. Difference between backend, frontend, full-stack and super stack development - Feb 2020
  2. How to use Docker with Node.js a step-by-step tutorial - Nov 2020
  3. 5 benefits of pair programming you should know about - Jun 2020
  4. Docker build example: how to go from slow to fast docker builds - Oct 2020
  5. Vegeta load testing a quick primer with GET examples - Sep 2020

Looks like when I write about docker it gets popular :). I have been a bit cautious about cross-posting this year for a better SEO strategy. I have cross-posted to tech Medium publications, Hackernoon, and I have been deliberately slow to crosspost after September to gather some more SEO juice.

I have been lucky enough to get my posts published on Daily Js (108K followers) and JavaScript in Plain English (40K followers) publications on medium.

I have also published a couple of my posts on Quick Code (12K followers) and my work’s tech blog.

Moved blog to Eleventy from Octopress #

In March 2020 I moved my blog from Octopress to Eleventy. Octopress 2.x I can say is in a coma if not dead. I evaluated other options Hugo was one of them but Eleventy was a clear winner. It is simple yet super powerful.

Moved blog to Eleventy  on Mar 2020

My previous blogging software was limiting me as it took a long time to compile the markdown to HTML (CSS + JS of course). Now with Eleventy, that process takes seconds not minutes.

With this ease I have been much better and faster at blogging than before.

I did not change the theme, not even the colors. Eleventy is a lot faster to compile the markdown to HTML (CSS + JS). To make things JAM Stack I have added the most popular posts on the homepage. It comes from an API and the posts are pulled in on build time. I also use Forestry to edit it on the fly now.

Blog posts target - 14 posts, reached 24 :) #

For this year I exceeded my target on the no. of blog posts. I hope I can do it in 2021 too. I had set a yearly goal for 2020 to write 14 blog posts and a recap. Basically at least a post a month. I ended up doing 24 blog posts and this recap, making the total 25. Here is the breakdown by month:

  • Feb - 1
  • Apr - 3
  • Jun - 1
  • Aug - 1
  • Sep - 5
  • Oct - 5
  • Nov - 6
  • Dec - 3

Till August I had only 6 posts but Sep to Dec I pushed the tempo really up. As of Aug, I might have just reached my target of 14 posts. In the last quarter, I really pushed hard to get more content out. That brings us to the next segway of posting out good content consistently.

Alexa top 1 million websites #

First time in my life, I saw my blog make it to the top 1 million websites in the world as tracked by Alexa. It entered the top 1 million race around mid-Sep at 748K mark and climbed up to 520K. Then it tumbled down to the 735K range in Dec and stayed there.

Probably it will go out of the top 1 million but this is already a great achievement considering:

There are around 400 million active websites out of the 2 billion or more registered domain names. Basically being on the top 1 million puts your website at the top 0.25% of websites in the world which is not bad at all.

And FYI my blog does not get a tonne of traffic + it runs for exactly $0 a month.

This blog ranks on top 1 million websites in Alexa

Side project #

Similar to 2019, this year as well I focused on only 1 side project. The side project is AU Tech Jobs.

AU Tech Jobs homepage

AU Tech Jobs #

We soft-launched AU Tech Jobs on Aug 3 and till now almost 2 dozen people helped build it in one way or the other. The AU Tech Jobs App does not have a lot of users but we think it is benefiting users getting 1300+ jobs from 50+ companies in one place.

AU Tech Jobs app homepage

Most people contributed code to this platform which includes me. Other people like Ansubha helped manage the social media side of things for this side project I tried to lead.

I want to heartily thank each and everyone who helped build up this side project. Thanks again.

I would highly recommend do only one side project at a time and get it across the line. It is not a good idea to have 2 or 3 running at the same time. As none of them is in a production-ready state.

Misc - everything else #

Some points that I remember:

  • I helped more people find full-time tech jobs this year too. I helped a couple guys find a better second full-time tech job. I hope they will thank me and not forget the boat after crossing the river ;).
  • My most popular tweet of 2020 garnered 40 retweets (including quotes) and almost 60 likes. A screenshot is below:
My most popualr tweet of 2020
  • I took a social media break from Oct 2020 and it is still going on. I might carry it on for 2021 too.
  • It is said that I won the “CI/CD writer of the Year” award at run by Hackernoon. I was a runner up in the serverless category too. Congrats to Sagar for winning the serverless category. Also Milap for winning the Computer Science category. Good to see Nepalis winning.
  • I did not do any public speaking, even virtual ones. I didn’t even attend any virtual meetups. Public speaking for me is connecting to the audience best done in person. With this COVID situation is it not possible. I did a lightning talk on learning day at my workplace THE ICONIC about setting up a blog and how to SEO optimize posts. The first slide is below:
Only talk of the year on Blog and SEO
  • I was promoted to Lead Software Engineer circa Sep/Oct-2020.
  • I started using slack a bit more outside of work. It is a great place to learn and network. Among others Xplorers Slack group is Amazing. They also run the great Knowledge Academy blog.

Conclusion #

This year had its ups and downs.

One thing that it taught us all is probably being resilient in adverse times.

I hope we all get to see a better 2021.


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