I went into 2016 with the goal of leveling up my development skills and filling in some of the gaps I was missing when building front ends. Before this I had spent most of my development time reverse-engineering existing code and tweaking parts to achieve a desired outcome. I didn't have a solid understanding of the languages and what was happening as a whole. I started this process at the end of 2015 by taking part in makerscabin.com. It definitely provided a great explanation of core PHP principles, working with templates and building databases.
At this point I knew some more specific areas I wanted to learn about, including Laravel, React, Flexbox, and a better handle on SASS. I took reactforbeginners.com which was an incredible dive into React and allowed me to use it on my own site, with much less confusion than I would have had otherwise. At the same time I was still working on my front end toolset including learning Flexbox via flexbox.io and flexboxfroggy.com. I was working on the front end a lot and decided to dedicate some time to improving my design process as well, by improving my Sketch workflow with the help of leveluptutorials.com.
Looking towards 2017
While I was continuing on my learning path I wanted to expand my network, open opportunities and go into 2017 with many things on the Horizon. In December, I went to 3 Meetups and learned from some great designers and entrepreneurs on design systems, early stage products and more about the startup scene in my area. I also took part in https://www.outofofficehours.com/ started by @dustin. Over the course of 2 weeks I met with @thinmatt, @renn, @cfaydi, and @Brilliancrank. What I learned from these individuals was invaluable. Probably worthy of a blog post on its own. But it provided great introspection into my career and what value I could offer, as well as what were some opportunities to further my growth in the coming year.
In the last 2 weeks of 2016 I started planning for hosting an event in spring of 2017, getting halfway through a client branding and site project, starting a conversation about building a template library for a potential client, and in the midway point of launching a side project of my own. I plan on keeping this pace up, and I can't wait to see what doors open in 2017 as a result of 2016's grind!