Nik Kantar

Friday, February 8, 2019

Goals for 2019

About as late as last year, here is my next set of professional goals.

Before we really get started, here are the previous iterations: 2018 (2018 review), 2017 (2017 review), and 2016 (2016 review).


It's an interesting time to be writing this post, since today was my last day at Friendbuy and I start at Sweetgreen in a week and a half. I'm honestly somewhat surprised how little on this list is influenced by the job change and everything else that came with it.

1. Get Back into Open Source

During 2016 and 2017 I made some meaningful contributions to the world of open source software. The vast majority of it were my own projects, which seems to be my jam, so to speak.

Things didn't quite go that way in 2018, and I'd like to change that for 2019.

Autohook and Starminder have gained a little bit of traction, and I've struggled to find the mental energy to address contributions to the former and my own goals for the latter. Parsenvy could use some refactoring. Publinker is barely a thing, but I already use it and have plans for it. Tidby could use, well, anything other than ability to slap someone around a bit with a large trout (and yolo, as of today).

In addition to the existing projects above, I have at least three domains already purchased and ready for the open source projects they're supposed to house.

If you're thinking "well, that's a bit ambitious of you, Nik", then congrats, we're on the same page. However, that hasn't stopped me before, so why would it this time?

The goal for 2019 is to make some notable progress on multiple open source projects. This includes working on the code itself, probably some marketing, and perhaps even adding some contributors/co-maintainers! Yes, I'm being intentionally vague because that's all a lot of work.

2. Write More!

Ah yes, one of my 2017 goals (2. Write Every Week) makes a (not-so-triumphant) return. I'm no longer delusional enough to think I'll find the time and energy to write something coherent every single week, but I do think I can do better than I have so far. Looking back at my posts, there aren't all that many that are worth sharing, or maybe even reading. It sure would be neat to change that.

3. Read Some Tech Books

At every job interview I've had in the past few years, the idea that I want to learn has come up one way or another. It's not something particularly unique to me—lots of programmers say the same thing. I've never been all that great at tackling that with a focused aproach, though, and that's what I want to improve this year.

I already have a few books lined up—namely Cracking the Coding Interview and Fluent Python—so all I need to do is get started. In a way I already have, as I'm currently reading The Responsible Communication Style Guide and want to finish it first.

4. Learn a Useful Amount of Frontend

Over the last few years I very intentionally dropped my full-stack identity and replaced it with a heavy backend focus. While I neither regret that decision nor have any problems with what it's brought me, I've noticed a trend of staying away from side projects which require frontend work. I've come to the conclusion that this is entirely because I'm not versed in modern frontend technologies and techniques, which is a very changeable thing.

Some of this will come through work—my role at Sweetgreen will at least begin as very much full-stack. Some of this will come through the previously mentioned open source projects, several of which require a frontend. All of this will come from simply doing it.

5. Give More Talks

In 2018 I—somewhat unexpectedly—gave a talk at Write the Docs Los Angeles. It was an awesome experience, and I'm about to give the same talk at SoCal Python in a few weeks. I'll be submitting it to at least one conference this year.

I've also got some ideas for other talks I'd like to give. One even involves hardware. I know—I too am terrified.