Like previous years, I would like to write a quick recap of the things I have done in 2023. Taking some time to reflect on the things achieved this year from a professional standpoint would be a great look back, let’s get started!
Table of contents #
- Interviews for 2 podcasts
- Blogging and writing in 2023
- Community building
- Talks and events
- Side project - Speakers camp
Below are some of the highlights of the year 2023 from a professional and tech point of view:
- I was invited for 2 interviews, one in Dubai (taken in the Nepali language) by Harka for his podcast and another one in Sydney by Eli (from Carrersy)
- Published 25+1 (this review) posts on this blog. Compared to 2023, in the past 12 months, the traffic has gone up by 5% or so but the last 3 months is showing a downward trend. Thanks to LLMs and Google Algorithm changes. I have written 1 post for Simply Wall St. tech and 3 posts for Meticulous, this year.
- The side project for the year was Speakers Camp, where I helped foster 3+ new speakers, more on this later.
- I did 7 public talks this year with 1 being virtual. One of the talks was in Melbourne and another one was in Brisbane. I also did 2 panel discussions as well.
- Growing communities has been a big thing for me this year, especially with a focus on GDG Cloud Sydney community (and other GDG Communities)
I have been with Simply Wall St. since 2022, it will be 2 years soon that I have been working with SWS and it has been a great experience. The flexibility SWS provides is unparalleled and the tech side of things is amazing too. Which leads us to the 2 podcast interview I did this year.
Interviews for 2 podcasts #
I did 2 podcast interviews (some people did not reply to my email, sadly). At least on one, I self-invited myself, and on the other Eli invited me to be a guest. The first one was Harka’s podcast as discussed next:
Harka’s podcast #
Harka Lopchan (not Sampang) started his podcast in early 2022. When we went to Dubai in March this year, I self-invited myself as a guest on his podcast. I knew him when I lived in Dubai and we had met a few times before 2018. We discussed a lot of things in this 1 hr 2 min episode from immigration to tech and from Nepal’s economy to blogging. It is a good podcast for anyone interested in migrating to a new country and tech. This podcast is in Nepali language, below is the YouTube video and Spotify:
If you would like to listen to the audio version, it is available on Spotify
For the amount of time, energy, and dedication he devotes to this podcast, I wish him 100K and more subscribers soon. Now there are Nepali celebrities, singers, and other personalities as guests in his podcast. I wish him all the best.
Then in April, I did another podcast with Eli which was released in May.
Careersy podcast #
Eli works as a recruiter for Atlassian and he also runs Carrersy for career coaching. It was good to have that discussion with him regarding my career, tech stuff, and things like working remotely. The podcast is below and on Spotify too:
Let’s discuss some writing and blogging in the next section.
Blogging and writing in 2023 #
I have been blogging since 2007, crunching some numbers in the 227 posts on this blog it has 347306 words with an average of ~1530 words per post. More on this, next.
This year I wrote 25+1 (this review) posts with 2 posts each month 3 in July and 3 in December were the 2 exception months. This year I have written posts on PostgreSQL, Jest, Axios, Typescript, Node.js, Gen AI, Next.js, Docker and other people skills topics too. Even though the traffic has reduced significantly I aim to keep writing blogs in 2024.
Most viewed blog posts of 2023 #
The 5 most popular (by views) posts written in this year 2023 are as follows:
- How to use Next.js with Docker and Docker compose a beginner's guide
- How to run MongoDB with Docker and Docker Compose a Step-by-Step guide
- A beginner's guide to running Elasticsearch with Docker and Docker Compose
- How to use environment variables in Next.js (includes a working example app)
- How to use ON DELETE CASCADE in Postgres with an example
Looks like things about Docker get more views :). Next, I will discuss the traffic trends of this blog.
Traffic is down (thanks to LLMs, especially ChatGPT) #
I think it is a mix of multiple things but possibly Google’s search traffic for core technical topics has gone down this year after Nov 2022. For example, if you want to run a specific test with Jest, earlier most software engineers would Google it (where my blog post would pop up in the top 5) but now many software engineers will ask the same question to a LLM like ChatGPT or Bard. This surely means traffic to tech blogs like mine and even stack overflow have decreased a lot in 2023. In an official blog post, Stack Overflow revealed:
Conversely, in April of this year, we saw an above average traffic decrease (~14%), which we can likely attribute to developers trying GPT-4 after it was released in March. Our traffic also changes based on search algorithms, which have a big influence on how our content is discovered.
I am not going to go into numbers but the situation is bleak, particularly in the last 4 months which might be triggered by Google’s algorithm changes too. Anyhow I will strive to write the usual 2 blog posts a month in 2024 unless I find that it is not beneficial to the readers/audience anymore. Speaking of which, similar web paints the below picture of this blog which was at 358,133 global rank last year this time.
In the next section, coming out of the virtual world let’s step into “IRL - in real life” of communities and meet humans in the flesh.
Community building #
Your network is your net worth, full stop. If you do not expand your network, when there is a need (particularly a professional one), it will be difficult for you to get the best outcome for the situation. That is also one of the reasons I have dove into community building and nurturing this year.
GDG Cloud Sydney #
When I looked back at the stats of the meetup group, from March 2023 more than 900 people have joined the group and we have seen more than 1450 RSVPs for our meetups. We have also reached more than 3000 members in mid-October this year.
Other GDG communities #
I have also helped establish or revive existing Google Developer Groups (GDG) communities across Australia. With a big help from Matt, the community manager at Google this feat has been enjoyable.
GDG Darwin #
I helped Sujan start GDG Darwin which did 3+ meetups in 2023. Great job by Sujan and the team. It is amazing that Sujan needed only minor guidance and he has taken this big task on his own and executed it successfully. Kudos, to more meetups in Darwin for GDG Darwin.
GDG Canberra #
Then, there is the recently started GDG Canberra headed by Kiran. The team in Canberra did the first meetup in November and another one is planned for late Jan-2024. Also a big thanks to Abhishek, Ramesh, and Tijan for helping out at GDG Canberra being amazing co-organizers.
More coming soon #
A couple of GDG groups are brewing in Australia, details to follow. The thing here is you need to be part of the community and real-life (in-person) events are even more important after the 2+ years of isolation we have witnessed due to COVID-19. Hopefully, at least two new GDGs will be formed and active in Australian cities by Q1 of 2024, fingers crossed.
I have been involved in communities since 2006. The main issue for communities not sustaining for long is not having proper backing for financial and operational needs. The other important thing is having great succession planning, if the organizers leave the community should not fall. This is where leaning onto a big company like Google helps sustain communities for a long time.
Mentor at GDG Devfest Kathmandu #
Next, we will discuss the talks I have given and events I have been a part of.
Talks and events #
I also got a chance to do 7 talks (one virtual) and 2-panel discussions. I was a judge at a hackathon too. I used 3 talks across 7 events and one of them was presented virtually and another one was done at a university.
I was also part of 2 panel discussions one at Google Sydney in Apr-2023 about Career and groundbreaking technologies.
The second panel discussion was at GDG Devfest Brisbane which included things like career, and other techy things. You can watch the view of that panel discussion below:
I also participated as a Judge for a Hackathon at Dented Code Academy in April. It was an interesting event to be a part of:
Now let's move on to organizing an event a conference in Sydney.
Helped organize Google I/O Extended Sydney #
Speaking of conferences, I also helped organize Google I/O Extended Sydney 2023. My contribution was mostly on the part of selecting talks and helping shape the content rather than the logistics side of things. The logistics part of the day was very well managed by Kartik Arora and a team of volunteers which I helped to assemble.
I also helped organize an event focused at students liasing with GDSC USyd and GDSC UNSW too.
Time to discuss about conferences, next.
And speaking more of the conference, I attended 4 conferences this year and spoke at 2 of them. Both the conferences I spoke at were not in Sydney but they were in Australia, one in Melbourne and another one in Brisbane.
I helped organize Google I/O Sydney 2023, so it was obvious that I would attend it (even if it was only in the afternoon). Then in Aug, I attended Cloudflare Connect 2023. The best part of the conference was the discussion with Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon Brookes.
I gave a talk at the GDG Devfest Melbourne 2023 in October and the same talk about serverless containers at GDG Devfest Brisbane 2023 in December. Both the conferences were very well organized and visiting Brisbane was a great experience.
Talking about speaking I helped 4 people get into speaking at meetups, that story is next.
Side project - Speakers camp #
I have a side project each year, which does not necessarily need to be code or a product. I like helping people as last year it was Bloggers’ Union, this year it was Speakers Camp. The basic idea is to push, help, and motivate people to get into public speaking of any form, especially speaking at meetups which has a lower bar than speaking at conferences.
The 4 speakers I had helped in some form be it content, delivery, or finding a slot at a meetup were Prasiddha (Pras), Kushal, Sagar, and Ashis. Their talks varied in content, from serverless functions to Machine Learning and Flutter. Below is a clip of Pras thanking me for mentoring/pushing him to do public speaking.
And some of the other speakers are here too:
At least two more are in the pipeline for Q1 of 2024, hopefully, more speakers will overcome their fear of public speaking and break into it.
All in all, this has been a great year in terms of professional things done. I hope to continue blogging, public speaking, organizing meetups, and helping out the community in general in 2024 too.