Kevin Murphy

Software Developer

2021 Year-End Review

This isn’t a “real” post. This is a summary of all the things that made up my year in 2021. Thanks to all that were a part of it.

Writing πŸ”—

I published 15 articles about Ruby or software development in general this year. I started the year sharing how to cache native Ruby gems. That post ended up in Nokogiri’s docs, which was an exciting surprise.

I ended the year writing about what’s special with setter methods in Ruby. In between, I’ve written about coverage, best practices, evaluating alternatives, and a handful of Ruby and Rails topics.

I drastically increased my public writing in 2021, and it’s coincided with the first year I’m aware of people sharing my work. I already mentioned being in Nokogiri’s docs. I’ve also had my writing featured in Ruby Weekly ten times, Ruby Radar six times, and Awesome Ruby once in 2021.

Speaking πŸ”—

As of this post’s publication, I’m still not comfortable meeting in person (hopefully that changes in time for RailsConf 2022), but I enjoy speaking, so I did my best to take part in virtual conferences I was aware of. I submitted six proposals to three conferences (yes, you can submit multiple proposals to conferences!) that had a virtual component, and was accepted to one.

At RailsConf 2021, I shared the parts of a MBA curriculum that I find valuable to me as a software developer.

One benefit of virtual events meant that I was able to speak with different regional groups without needing to travel. This year, I presented to groups in:

Hopefully in future years I’ll be able to get to these areas in person, but for now, I’m thankful to the organizers for allowing me to participate in their virtual events.

Lastly, I was invited as a podcast guest for the first time in 2021. I joined Rails with Jason (now Code with Jason) to talk neither Rails nor code; we discussed the skills I learned in a MBA program that are helpful to me as a software developer. Later in the year, I was on Remote Ruby to talk about best practices, and when they might not be the best.

Reading πŸ”—

For the first time, I was a technical reviewer for a book. Twice, in fact! I was privileged to get an early peek and provide feedback on Noel Rappin’s two books.

It was an unexpected, and weird, experience to receive final copies in the mail and see that my words (in the form of a blurb) are the first you read in each book. Don’t let that deter you though - each book gets better after that.

Employer πŸ”—

After five years with The Gnar Company, I started a position at Vendr towards the end of this year. I’m thankful to all my teammates at both companies for being great collaborators.

Personal πŸ”—

2021 was a hard year personally, for reasons that were shared by most this year, and for other reasons that aren’t unique to me but just happened to occur this year. That’s all I have to say about that here, but let’s talk about things that helped this year.

New (to me) in 2021 πŸ”—

While a healthy dose of known comforts and familiar music played no small part in my year, here are the things I encountered for the first time that helped get me through 2021.

COVID 19 Vaccine πŸ”—

If you are in an area where you’re eligible and able to get a COVID vaccine, I encourage you to do so. For yourself. For me. For all of us. In the US, you can find a place to do that here.

Taskmaster πŸ”—

I’m a year late on this compared to everyone else in the US who discovered this on YouTube, but maybe it’s better that I had it saved for 2021. It’s a British panel game show where contestants compete for the best completion of various “tasks”, making fun of themselves and each other in the process.

If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power πŸ”—

I know, I’m entirely predictable. Anything Trent Reznor is involved with I’m obligated to devour. That said, Halsey’s latest album is so powerful, layered, and enjoyable, that I’m sure if I were a Spotify user, it would be my most played album of the year.

Broken (in the best possible way) πŸ”—

I’m no stranger to Jenny Lawson’s writing, and her latest from this year is another of my favorites. Her bravery, irreverence, and humor are perfectly matched with my sensibilities. Plus, you can order it online from her very own physical bookstore and get a signed copy.

John 5 πŸ”—

This isn’t necessarily new (though he does have a new album that came out this year), but I dug into his entire catalogue this year. He’s a session guitarist clearly capable of playing any guitar in any style, but whose personal work mainly focuses on metal shredding (with a touch of bluegrass), all on a Telecaster.

Looking Forward πŸ”—

What am I hoping for in 2022?

Further engaging with the Ruby and developer community πŸ”—

If you have a podcast that you think I might be a good guest on, if you run a regional meetup looking for speakers, if you have a conference that I could be a fit for, if you run a publication that features content I might write, if you have an affinity group I can help out with, or if you’d just like to meet, please reach out.

COVID vaccines available to children under 5 πŸ”—

You can’t rush science, but I look forward to having a fully-vaccinated house.

Bruce Springsteen’s No Nukes Concert πŸ”—

This won’t be new in 2022 - it’s from 1979 - and it’s available now, but I have it on my Christmas list, so it may not be until 2022 that I can take in this bit of history from the E Street Band.

Thank You πŸ”—

If you made it this far, I have to believe this isn’t your first introduction to me and you’re a repeat reader. Thank you for doing that this year, and I hope you continue to track my work in the future. It’s been a great joy to see people interacting with things I produced this year, so if you’ve liked anything I put out this year, please, let me know - and thanks!