2022 was a rollercoaster year for me in terms of my personal life and my career as well. Today, I will share how my 2022 was, the things I learned, the challenges I faced, and my plans as well. Let's know who I am first.
I am Ayush Pawar, pursuing my B.tech in Computer Science from IIITG, India. I am in my final year of graduation. So now, let’s begin my version of Dev Retro 2022.
I divided this entire article into sections. First, I will discuss the goals that I planned for 2022, the challenges I faced in achieving every goal, and then how I overcame those challenges. Also, I will discuss what were my experiences while doing all this.
I made a list of things I wanted to do this year. These were my goals for the year 2022.
Secure an off-campus internship. 😁
Secure a good full-time job from on-campus placements. 💪🏻
Build an online presence by blogging. 📈
Start freelancing. 💸
Learn a new tech stack. 💻
Well, I achieved all of my goals except the first one. Achieving all of this wasn’t easy. I faced a lot of difficulties and I also overcame them by being persistent and determined.
Now, let’s see the difficulties that I faced while trying to achieve my goals.
So, talking about my 1st goal, I already had an on-campus internship offer from Legato Health Technologies. I wanted to crack an off-campus internship in a good product-based company. Back in January, I was a new person. I did not know about networking and how to approach people for internships. This was my challenge number 1. To find opportunities and network with others.
Talking about my 2nd goal, as we all know, on-campus placement is a mixture of hard work and luck. The second part was out of my control. I was solving DSA problems on Leetcode since November 2021. Around 4-5 months of dedicated practice was what I did to improve myself. I was so lost in DSA that I forgot about my core subject🥲. By the time I realized this, it was March/April already. So this was my challenge number 2. To learn core subjects and also work full time in my internship.
Moving onto the 3rd goal, this was the biggest challenge for me. To build an online presence. Thankfully, I chose the right platform at the right time to kick off my blogging journey. We all know which platform I am talking about (HASHNODE). I just needed to write blogs on topics I know about. Sounds easy, but where is the challenge? Well, the challenge was maintaining consistency. You have a lot of energy in the initial few days, but you run out of topics and you also lose motivation because you are not seeing any progress.
My 4th goal is a goal for a lot of beginners web developers/app developers, especially the ones who are in college and want to earn money to manage their expenses. I was looking for a freelancing gig since the second half of 2021, but I never got any leads. This was the only challenge that I had to face. Probably everyone has to face this when they are trying to freelance. It is super difficult to get started on fiver and Upwork. So getting leads was my challenge to achieve this goal.
My 5th goal was probably the easiest of all. To learn something new. Until 2022, I only had Flutter and Dart under my hat. I wanted to explore other technologies like nodejs and python. Like every other beginner, I was stuck in tutorial hell. So getting out of that tutorial hell was my challenge.
The challenges that I faced in goal number 4 and 5 were going side by side with my on-campus placement preparation. So I had to prepare for placements, learn new things, and earn some money as well.
So how did I manage all this and achieved all my goals? It was not all my hard work, to be honest, it was support from my friends and a bit of luck as well😉. Let’s find out.
Secure an off-campus internship.😁
As I said, networking was tough in the beginning. I wasn’t able to get people to reply to me. Then I did some research and found out the following things.
A well-drafted first message.
Wish people their work anniversary or birthdays (It helps).
Try connecting with people who come on the 2nd page of LinkedIn Search. They get fewer connection requests compared to people on page 1.
Build a good resume with decent skills and achievements and then start reaching out.
After following these practices, I started seeing results. I messaged more than 100 people for an internship and a few of them replied as well. I got a call from a recruiter from smallcase, AlphaGrep, and Motorq, and someone from Zomato also referred me for a summer internship. Smallcase, AlphaGrep, and Motorq were all looking for 6-month interns. They told me I was a bit late to reach out🥲. In Zomato, my profile didn’t match any of the open roles. Since I only knew Flutter and nothing else, I lacked there.
This rejection was also one of the main reasons why I wanted to learn something new apart from Flutter. I tried till April but in the end, I failed. I gave up and started my internship at Legato Health Technologies in May 2022.
So my learnings were drafting a good message, building a good resume, and how interacting with strangers.
Didn’t get a positive result here but I am sure this will come into use somewhere in the future.
Secure a good full-time job from on-campus placements.💪🏻
To learn core subjects, I decided to go to YouTube. Since YouTube had so many videos, I was confused about which one to follow. Luckily, I landed on Striver’s core sheet. It had enough interview questions on DBMS/OS/CN/OOPS. I had important questions, and now I needed the answers.
So I went to the Gate Smashers channel on YouTube and started watching videos related to the questions on the sheet. For OOPS, I watched a video with freecodecamp. Only watching videos was not enough though, so I started making notes on the Notion. These notes were the best thing that I did in my placement preparation. Not only it helped me but also my friends for their preparation😁.
Placement season started and everyone witnessed how huge luck plays a part in on-campus placements. Luckily, I got placed in an excellent company and I am very much satisfied with my compensation. I am not even looking for off-campus right now. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t.
So my learnings were to prepare notes and give dedicated time to learn core subjects. Have a proper timetable.
The result obtained was a good full-time job.
Build an online presence by blogging.📈
Starting was easy. I loved writing blogs for the first 3-4 days. Even though I didn’t get any views, I was motivated because I love to share my teachings and I learned a lot in Flutter. So I just wanted others to know how I did things and how they can do it too. The tricky part was to generate content once you are out of your content. So after two weeks or so, after writing around 20 articles, I was almost done with beginner-friendly things.
I praise Hashnode a lot because I didn’t even do a single promotion of my Flutter blogs initially and still I started getting views organically. I was proud and happy when people were loving what I wrote. So I decided to learn more. I started going on YouTube and other platforms where I learned new things and then wrote blogs on them.
I wrote 1 post per day. In that way, I had more time to research and my consistency would also prevail. Hashnode also had this small thing called Spotlight Tuesday where they mention an upcoming and rising blog on their social handles every Tuesday. I got featured on it once and it motivated me to do more.
Following 1 post per day trick and also seeing my blog grow, I was now consistent with Hashnode. I wrote for 60-65 days consistently, but then my internship was going to start. Now I had to manage my internship, my placement prep, and my Hashnode. So I decided to give Hashnode a break and focus on the first two things.
Now that I am done with everything, I will be back to writing posts on Flutter and other new things that I learned this year.
There were a lot of teachings. I learned how to write blogs, edit images, and videos, and stay consistent and motivated.
As a result, my blog reached 20k+ views, got featured on Hashnode spotlight, got into the top 10 articles of the week regularly, and also got mentioned in the top 100 articles in the write-a-thon organized by Hashnode. I also got a freelance writing gig opportunity.
Well, we all know how hard it is to get that first client. Luckily, my previous hard work helped me here. In 2021, I took part in a lot of hackathons with my friends and I won quite a few of them as well. One of my friends had a friend who needed a Flutter dev for a project. And that’s how I got my first client. It was by reference. After that, I did 3-4 freelance projects.
I believe the best way to get your initial clients is by reference or by word of mouth. For that, you need to show your work. Either do well in hackathons or do open-source. That would be my advice to get started in freelancing.
I learned how things are done in the past can help you in the future. Hackathons can help if you do well in them. I learned how to negotiate a deal while deciding a price for my work.
The result was enough earnings from freelancing to pass my semester in college.
Learn a new tech stack.💻
The only way to escape tutorial hell is to build something. How to get the motivation to build something? I mean, why would you give time to build something which won’t give you anything right? I think that’s why beginner-friendly hackathons exist. You can go there and build a to-do app.
That is what I did. I wanted to learn nodejs, so I built a to-do app backend just by following the documentation. For errors, Stack overflow was my friend. Since I was in my college hostel, even my friends helped me when I was stuck somewhere. Don’t be shy to reach out for help. Once I was comfortable enough (after 2 basic projects), I even did a freelance project in nodejs. This is the best way to get started with something. Build something.
Apart from nodejs, I also flask which in turn helped me to get better at Python. I built a discord bot using flask and python.
Want to learn rust? build a basic functionality in it. Want to learn HTML CSS, build a dummy two-page website with it. Don’t dwell too much on syntax. You will learn it along the way and after some time it will be in your muscle memory.
Still, if you feel that you need at least one video to get started, then freecodecamp is the best place to go. They have beginner-friendly videos on every topic. I learned about beginner-friendly SQL from freecodecamp. I learned dynamic programming and OOPS from their videos.
My learnings were that you can only learn to ride a bicycle by actually riding it rather than seeing someone else ride it.
The result was that I got to add a new tech stack to my resume. My domain expanded, and I also secured an internship at a company called Bonito Designs. Since I am not working on Flutter here, I believe learning a new tech stack has surely helped me to convert this opportunity.
The most important learning that I got this year was to manage my time properly. Once you start managing your time and doing things accordingly, you can do a lot of things in a day. There was a time when I was doing my internship work, my freelance project work, learning core subjects, and watching modern family as well (entertainment is important as well), all in a single day.
Just like how I had goals for 2022, I also have goals for 2023. There is a lot of stuff going on in my mind that I want to do and I will try to do it one by one.
I want to continue blogging and help others via the hashnode ✍🏻.
I want to publish an app on Play Store📱.
Learn new things on my first full-time job and grow exponentially. 📈.
Keep my side hustle on and build multiple income streams💸.
I hope in December 2023 when I am writing another Dev Retro, I would have done all this successfully✌🏻.
So this was all about my 2022. It was a rollercoaster of a year. I saw the highs of success and the lows of failures. In both phases, there was only one thing constantly going inside my head, “This time shall too pass”.
I hope this article helped you to learn a few new things. Don’t repeat the mistakes made by me and keep working hard. You will surely get what you deserve 💯🥂.