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Looking back, looking forward, and giving thanks

“Fearlessness is not only possible, it is the ultimate joy.
When you touch nonfear, you are free.”
– Thich Nhat Hanh

Happy New Year, and welcome to 2014! I’ve always liked the first part of a new year–it’s a good time to take stock, and take a little time to be mindful about where I’m going and what I’m doing. So this post will probably be a little more me-centric than usual, but hopefully there’s something of interest to you too–assuming you’re a fellow web designer, web dev, front-end developer, or just an all-around web geek :)

Looking back

2013 was a great year for me professionally, definitely one of my best so far. As I talked about in my very first post, I started 2013 in bit of a rut and like I was slipping behind the times a little in my profession. Now at the end of 2013 I’m much more up-to-date on skills, feeling rejuvenated, more engaged in the web community, and very excited for the future. All the people, projects, organizations, resources, and communities that have helped me get to this point are too numerous to list, but I want to call out a few that I’m particularly thankful for.

Many thanks!

Some things that have helped me out a ton in the past year: MOOCS and especially Harvard’s CS50, offered through edX, for teaching me some of the basics of computer science I’d managed to never be exposed to until now, as well as the joys of debugging C code, the shoptalk show podcast for making me feel more a part of the web building community, Codecademy for great interactive lessons to brush up on JavaScript basics, Tuts+ 30 days to Learn jQuery course for helping me go from jQuery copy/pasting to really understanding how it works (best practices too!), Eloquent Javascript for giving me a solid grasp of JavaScript programming, CSS Tricks for too-many-to-count great tips, JavaScript is Sexy for excellent explanations of intermediate and advanced JS concepts, Google+ for its topic-specific communities (HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript), CodePen for being both an awesome coding sandbox/playground and a source of inspiration from others, Codewars for helping me keep sharpening my JS skills through challenges and puzzles. Also, Design Train for helping me suck a little less at design, and the Higher Ed Experts Social Media Marketing for Higher Ed course for helping me level-up that part of my job :)

Looking forward

I recently asked 2 large Google+ communities “What web technologies, tools, or techniques do you plan to learn, or start using, or get better at in 2014?” (here, and here). The answer to that is going to depend on what your needs, goals, interests, etc. are–and this is totally unscientific–but here are the top responses: Node.js (mentioned 8 times), AngularJS (7 mentions), Dart (4 mentions), MongoDB (4 mentions), JavaScript (2 mentions), JS unit testing/Test-driven development (2 mentions), Ruby (2 mentions), and Bootstrap (2 mentions). Everything else that was given as a response, in no particular order: D language, JEE7, Backbone, Jasmine, Karma, Grunt, Foundation, Mixture, Handlebars, assembly, web services, Express, Meteor, Ruby on Rails, WebGL on mobile, Grails, Socket.io, iOS development, Sass, Yesod, semantic search, CSS3 animations and transitions, Go language, and–last but not least–flat design.

My own goals for 2014

I want to keep going with JavaScript, pushing into intermediate and advanced techniques, using the following resources: “Learn Intermediate and Advanced JavaScript” from Javascript is Sexy, John Resig’s “Learning Advanced JavaScript“, JavaScript Garden, Douglas Crockford’s JavaScript resources, and Addy Osmani’s Learning JavaScript Design Patterns. And more Codewars.

Also, I want to use Grunt (and work on processes & tools), start unit testing, explore Node.js & AngularJS, and build a web-based mobile app, getting it into at least one app store (already signed up for this MOOC!). And teach the web, both through blogging and teaching free in-person community workshops locally (already something in the works!).

On a more personal note, I want live life with less fear (fear of what other people might think, fear of failure, fear of the unknown), and with more gratitude. And in that spirit, thank you so much for reading this!

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