On the go in 2014

April 15, 2014

It was my intention to have a 2014 resolutions post of various topics and progress I wanted to make for the year. Well, things move quickly and we’re already well into 2014 with lots happening, so I’m going to do a short look back instead.

In January 2013 I started with the guys at Hybrid Forge, here in Edmonton, Alberta. I started off as an E-Commerce Analyst, and ended the year as an E-Commerce Lead, specializing in setting up, theming and developing Magento. What a platform! Magento, based on the Zend Framework, builds upon many layers that can easily have your head spinning. As my start into the web as a profession Magento had no shortage of challenges. As time went on, I ended up working on other projects in the company, including some Drupal work. Outside of work, I was learning Symfony for a project, and also launched a few sites on Drupal. All the different ways these platforms accomplish similar goals gave me the foundation I needed to grasp the mechanisms used by larger codebases and frameworks.

About two months ago, I left Hybrid Forge to try and take the next step into the big world of web development. I was excited to see what else I could learn and accomplish. My friend Adam Braly, who works at Snapshot had a fun opportunity for me to go down to Southern Oregon to work on a website. The guys at Snapshot were great, and gave me a chance to practice my skills with a new team, and bounce ideas about development and process. The website was being built in wordpress and was my first time having seriously touched the platform. It was immediately apparent that there were some parallels between it and Drupal, although Drupal arguably with a more established foundation in the CMS space.

My 5 week Oregon adventure ended in Portland, which is neighboring the town my family lives in. Portland is an amazing and awesome city, which I love to visit. With it’s fun and laid back culture it was the perfect place for the Ember.js conference which I was able to attend. Back in August 2012, when I first decided to get back into web development, I wanted to play with a new idea and javascript seemed like the perfect candidate. I decided to dive into Ember.js making a basic app, getting a feel for how MVC could live in the browser, and how you could rely on data-binding to make your life much, much easier. The guys behind Ember, who also live in Portland, are big names and have contributed to some serious open source projects over the years. It was brilliant to see how far they and their team had come with Ember and where they plan to go. One of the best parts about attending the conference, which is the first tech conference I’ve been to, was to see how welcoming everybody was. It’s easy to feel like you know the least in the room, but it’s empowering when that isn’t what matters.

These past few months, and even through the past year, I have come to realize that everyone is always learning. As we learn, we develop, which is often consumed by others, causing them to learn and develop. It’s this gigantic ever-hungry feedback loop, accelerated by the web and systems like Github. It’s alright not to know, as long as you’re humble and hungry to be better. I am looking forward to 2014 and being able to talk more about what I have learned and contributed. Stay tuned.