2016: Year in review

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As 2016 comes to an end in a couple of hours, I want to look back and see how much of the goals I set out to accomplish last year was actually accomplished. I wanted to:

I have to admit these were wishes not really strong goals as there was no real plan to accomplish them or time frame given to them and as such I failed to accomplish any of these things. Now that's not entirely true because I did learn some ES6 and did actually learn React and did some HTML and CSS, although I don't think I leveled up and data viz is something interesting that I would like to do sometime but honestly I don't know why it was on the list in the first place. While I learned these things they have not stuck. You don't really know something because you have read it. You know it when you can do it without referring to your books, when you can create something from scratch from all the knowledge you have in your head, then you have learned.

I have been learning JavaScript for a long time now and have not really broken through. I think it comes down to the particular why I learn, at the moment it's very arbitrary and messy. I'm not very focused, not because I cannot be but because so many thing excite me and I want to learn them all, at the same time. So I've been learning about learning, and the particular way that I learn through blog posts and articles, it has been really illuminating hand has helped me understand myself a whole lot.

Learning is a process, not a goal. There's no end to it. It is a painful process. You will fail countless times but that's part of the process too. In fact I believe failure is an important part of the process. Most of the things I know now that have stuck, have stuck because I failed. New concepts don't always click the first time around, or the second or even the tenth time around. You'll have to stick it out, if you do there's a reward, a breaking point where things suddenly begins to make sense. You get it. The proverbial "Aha" moment.

The most important thing about learning is repetition. To really learn something and master it you have to do it a lot of times. There's no ceiling or magic number of hours you need to have under your belt, we all learn differently and take varying amount of time to grasp concepts but repetition is the key to mastery.

Learning is sedimentary, you build upon what you already know, trying something slightly more challenging than what you can comfortably do now.

This year I attended Google Developer Group (GDG) in Port Harcourt, and one thing I learned was focus. Someone gave this sage advice: Pick a book on a subject you want to learn, read it cover to cover. Do all the exercises, everything. Digest that book. Know everything in that book. Read it over again if you have to. So I have been doing this. I've started reading Eloquent JavaScript and doing all the exercises.

2017

For 2017 I'm a bit scared to make goals. I'm sure I will but maybe not quite yet but I sure want to write more PHP and JavaScript code. I want to write more blog posts, I want to speak in a conference/tech talk/ anything really. I want to write a webapp and demo it at next year's GDG. I also want to spend less time on Facebook and Twitter and increase my creation/consumption ratio.

2016 has been a good year, all things considered but I believe 2017 will be even more awesome. So many great things to do and look forward to.