Reflecting on a 2023 of Learning and Growth

As I sit down to reflect on the past year, I'm filled with a sense of gratitude and humility for all that 2023 has brought into my life. It was a year marked by learning, growth, and the beginning of new ventures, each step teaching me more about the industry and myself.

The journey into deepening my technical expertise was both challenging and rewarding. Achieving AWS Certifications was a significant milestone, marking an increase in my understanding and capability in cloud computing. Similarly, diving into AI with certifications and training was like opening a door to a new world of possibilities. These achievements were not just personal triumphs but also avenues to contribute more meaningfully to the projects I undertook.

One of the most memorable moments of the year was speaking at PyCon Ireland. Sharing my experiences and insights on "Leveraging AWS SageMaker for Scalable AI Deployment" was a humbling experience. It reminded me of the power of community and the shared passion for technology that brings us all together. The opportunity to learn from others and contribute my own knowledge was incredibly fulfilling.

However, not all went as planned. I was eagerly looking forward to speaking at NIDevConf 2023, but unfortunately, I contracted COVID-19 and had to miss it. This was a disappointment, but it's given me a renewed determination to share my talk on building my own personal TV channel as a screencast. I've set time aside in the first quarter of 2024 to make this happen, and I'm excited about the opportunity to share my insights and learnings in a new format.

Another goal I had set for myself was to become the maintainer of the official Ruby client for the TVDB API. While I made some initial progress, this work has stalled due to other commitments. However, it remains on my list to pick up in 2024. This year, I really want to up my game on open-source contributions. But more on that later, I guess – talk is cheap, and it's the actions that count.

2023 was also the year I took a significant leap into entrepreneurship with the launch of SkillfulGorilla, my boutique software consultancy. Starting from scratch, building it client by client, has been a journey filled with its own set of challenges and rewards. Each project has been a learning curve, and I'm grateful for the trust and collaboration of each client who chose to work with us. The consultancy is growing slowly but surely, and I'm committed to nurturing it with the same dedication and quality that I put into every aspect of my work.

In addition to my professional endeavours, I've found great joy and fulfilment in contributing to the community. With the help of the wider community, we rebooted Belfast Ruby, and I hope to continue fostering this vibrant community as the year progresses. It's been inspiring to connect with like-minded individuals and share our passion for technology and development.

However, the year wasn't without its moments of realisation. The latter part of the year brought an intense workload and a flurry of activities that stretched me thin. It was a reminder of the importance of balance and the need to sometimes take a step back for rest and rejuvenation. I took some time off in December, stepping away from the screen and the constant buzz of work. This break was a breath of fresh air, giving me time to recharge and come back with a renewed focus and energy.

As I look back on 2023, I'm reminded of the importance of humility and continuous learning. Each success and challenge has been a stepping stone, and I'm thankful for the journey. As I step into the new year, I carry with me the lessons learned, ready to face new challenges, embrace further learning, and continue contributing to the world of technology with a humble heart and an eager mind.

Here's to the past year of growth and learning, and to the future that awaits!