2021 In Review
Since 2018 I have been writing down things that happened in my life, particularly the good stuff, as we tend too often to forget about them and focus on the bad events.
2021 was such a surprising year for me that I figured I could use some of those notes to reflect and review the year in a blog post.
For some context, before 2021, I…
- was working in my first full-time job with an incredible team at a Brazilian startup;
- had just created my first three gems and I was pretty excited about it;
- had started to learn about interpreters with Crafting Interpreters;
- had made my first major open source contribution: getting a PR merged into RSpec;
- had left this blog picking up dust, and only wrote one article in the entire year of 2020;
- had just started Ruby Cards.
Since this blog was pretty much dead and I wanted to get better at writing, I made a resolution to write a blog post per month in 2021. Turns out that writing more was one of the decisions that opened many other opportunities for me. The article “Don’t use comments! Use code.”, for instance, got featured in RubyWeekly and got me to talk on a podcast for the first time!
I’m also glad that I finally graduated from college after all sorts of COVID nonsense. Not that the degree itself changed anything in my career, but it’s nice to take that weight off my shoulders.
Kinda out of nowhere, I decided to learn Rust. I’m delighted with Ruby, to be honest. Still, learning a new language is cool, so I picked one very different (statically typed and compiled). Not exactly the easiest way to learn a new language, but as one of my first projects, I created Lana, a LISP implemented in Rust influenced by Clojure.
I was used to doing internal presentations at my previous job, but I gave talks elsewhere for the first time this year. They were on the 3rd and 5th editions of ada.rb, alongside people like Rafael França, who has always been a role model for me.
Then in the second half of the year, almost by accident, I started working on one of my dream companies: thoughtbot 🤖. I saw that a fellow Brazilian (@SarahLima) had joined the company, then I thought, “What if I tried?” and here I am.
I never thought I would get here this early in my career! It still feels otherworldly working with people I always admired, like Josh Clayton, Steph Viccari, and Joël Quenneville (to not mention all the other amazing folks I met after I joined). For sure, this was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life.
On the technology aspect, I still got to work with Ruby, which I absolutely love, but I got the chance to work with other tools as well, like Next.js and TypeScript.
I’m eager for all the new things I’ll learn and apps I’ll work on within the following years.
Even though I didn’t release any new library this year, I did some work on open-source. I contributed to many projects I use daily like ViewComponent and Rails. Beyond writing code, I did more OSS things like reviewing PRs and issues in Rails. I even wrote a blog post about how to start contributing to open-source to help other folks start doing it.
I already regularly checked Ruby’s issue tracker. This year, though, I got more actively involved in discussions about new additions to Ruby there. This is a habit that I want to keep for a couple of reasons. First, I want to understand the shaping of new features in Ruby, and second, I want to help/influence this process. Doing this led me to my first three commits in Ruby 1 ∙ 2 ∙ 3.
One of the hobbies I started in 2021 was pixel art. I did a bit of it when I was a kid but never invested much time in it. I hope to eventually use this ability to create sprites for my games.
Something that graduating from college did change was playing games without feeling guilty. I finally experienced some of my most anticipated games like God of War 2018, Marvel’s Spider-Man, and Hollow Knight.
I felt the need to read a bit more (non-technical content), so I looked for alternatives this year. I always had an interest in comics, but I didn’t have money to buy them as a kid, so I signed up for Marvel Unlimited. I’m having a blast reading Ultimate Marvel!
I have a standing desk, but most of my work is sitting. I know this is not ideal, so I decided to start working out by year-end. It’s very recent, but I have already started seeing the results.
I also had a chance to take PTO and go on some much-needed vacations! After all this time in the pandemic, it felt good to recharge my mental health.
I’m really proud of my consistency. I wrote one article every month. It might not look like much now, but it was quite a change from a year where I basically hadn’t written anything.
Posting one Ruby Card every week was a massive effort too! And the numbers reflect my work. I grew the Twitter account from less than 100 to over 500 followers!
Contributing to Rails and especially Ruby were my personal highlights of 2021. I’ve always wanted to do this! I’m really happy with those achievements.
Ironically, I wish I had been more consistent with Rust. I didn’t play with it as much as I would like. For instance, I haven’t implemented language-defined macros in Lana and several other features.
I started the year creating a Roguelike (here’s a Twitter thread about it, if you’re curious) but left it unfinished. I tried learning the Bevy game engine, but I didn’t go too far. I’m not good at balancing my liking of game development and programing language design.
I wish I did more pixel art. I was very excited about it, but I lost momentum by the end of the year. It’s hard to be consistent on too many things at the same time
Talking at RubyConf was another goal of mine, but I changed jobs close to the CFP deadline, so I missed it. That was a bummer, but I think I made the right decision.
My main goal with 2022 is to keep doing what went well last year and improve what didn’t work.
I wanna keep getting involved in Ruby’s development and keep working on my health. I’ll leave game development on hold for a while and focus on programming languages. I specifically want to understand how type checkers work and build a simple one.
I hope I can visit new places this year. An international trip would be fantastic, but the pandemic might not allow me to do that.
Speaking of which, I wish we could live a COVID-free life (at least a mask-free one), but that probably won’t happen this year (and maybe neither in the next one). Well, one can dream, right?
Phew! That’s it for 2021. It was a surprising, weird year! I hope to see you in 2023. Take care!