acheivement unlocked - 2013

December 23, 2013

2013 was a pivotal year for me, it saw me graduate from college and enter the working world. This year I shipped my first web application and finally started to feel like a real programmer. Here’s a list of some of my achievements, milestones, and goals for next year.

Presented at PyCon 2013

I was lucky enough to present a poster on our project, We Have/We Need, with several of my teammates. This was an amazing experience, and a capstone of sorts for all of our hard work. We got feedback and encouragement from a ton of amazing people.

Finished undergraduate degree

I spent the first two years of college constantly wanting to change my major to something easier. I finally have my degree now, and I’m glad to say it has “Computer Science” written on it.


Started journaling

After six quarters of doing weekly reports in school, and it felt weird not doing them after I graduated. I downloaded DayOne, a journaling app, in June and started doing (semi) regular journal entries. Mostly I just record the day’s events, which probably doesn’t have a ton of value, but when something interesting happens I am now more likely to record it since I’m in a routine of transcribing things. So far I have 130+ entries on DayOne.

Went backpacking for the first time in 5 years

I used to go hiking, backpacking and car camping a lot when I was younger. By the time I finished I high school I was pretty sick of the “great” outdoors. I didn’t go backpacking once in college, but I’ve gone twice since graduating thanks to the encouragement of my good friend Phi. Thank you Phi for helping me get motivated to get back on the horse.


Launched an Indiegogo campaign

Despite a complete lack of marketing experience, I was put in charge of UCSD’s first official crowdfunding campaign. I got to work with the amazing people at the Distributed Health Labs and even build them a new website. It was incredibly fun to join another group of passionate people working to tackle important problems. It has been, shall we say, a turbulent experience, but a valuable one overall.

Got tools

I’ve been comfortable with tools for a while, but I’ve never had any of my own. I was starting to get embarrassed when people would ask me for help and I would have to say that I didn’t have any tools on hand. One day a friend asked me for a wrench, one of the most basic tools there is, and I was ashamed to say I didn’t have one. That’s when I decided to put my foot down and buy some tools. I got the basic tools you’d expect to find in a toolbox and started organizing and improving my garage workspace so that I could work in it. I even restored a bench vise and grinder.

Goals for next year

Be less “precious” (with my ideas)

I have a tendency to be “precious” with my work. I won’t publish a blog post because it’s not brilliant enough, or I won’t publish code because it’s not elegant enough. Or I may not start on a woodworking project because the design isn’t good enough. Whatever it is, I’ll find reasons not to publish my work. Publishing your work means opening yourself up to criticism, but it’s also the only opportunity for you to grow. My goal this year is to be less precious about my work. Anything else is procrastination.

Learn Javascript

Javascript is the new assembly; it’s at the heart of all client-side web interfaces. I’m currently able to get by, modifying snippets from Stack Overflow but I want to have a more complete grasp of JS. And with JS becoming popular as a back-end language, I don’t think it will be long before full JS stacks are commonplace. My goal is to work through a book like Eloquent Javascript and do a simple Javascript project.

Teach something

Whether it’s shooting a gun, splitting firewood with a knife, or making a simple web app, I enjoy sharing what I’ve learned with others. I’ve benefited so much from the work that other people have put online, and it’s only fair that I contribute something back. When I was at the SD Mini Maker Faire I saw students from my high school showcasing the projects they had made and it made me want to give back to the community by creating some beginner-level tutorials. This year I’d like to make two instructables/project tutorials, one programming and one DIY/maker.

Go backpacking

It’s important to not spend all my time in front of the computer. I’d like to do at least two backpacking trips this year. Given that I already have the gear, and friends to go with, there is simply no excuse not to do this.