Happy New Year guys! So it’s a good time to share our stories in 2018, here is mine. What changed, what will not. We fought and won, sometimes we failed and retreated a bit. Things are many, I will pick the there that is closest to my heart.
From React to Cryptography
The first is my focus has switched from React to Cryptography.
I have been doing web development full time since 2011. React started to be my main tech stack since I left Ruby and Rails at 2014. But started from April 2018, I made a switch to write about Bitcoin and Blockchain, and later I found out the real charm behind Bitcoin, cryptography. It is really awesome that I am now doing a lot more than web things, my earlier years of experience on Linux and C become useful again.
However, my love for Web won’t change. And web development is for sure my only area of expertise for now. So it’s probably that I will build web apps as tutorial sites, or as frontends for blockchain projects, namely DApps, in the future. The Web means open, cryptography takes the openness to next level.
From In-classroom teaching to full time writing
Even though it is not full time, but I did give a lot of in-classroom training for the recent 2 years. This changed in 2008, there was only one training I run at the beginning this year, then I devoted all my time to writing tutorial online.
It’s hard for people like me to make money in a small city like Qinhuangdao, but my experience here brought me a lot of confidence and meaning of life. Qinhuangdao is really what we call a small place, there is not many tech startup here, even people in tech area probably don’t use google and never heard of Github and Wikipedia. No real tech community means people don’t really care about what I do. But still like any other place, there are hard working souls that are eager to learn, not many though, but once I meet such people, I start to find my background can make a lot differences, and this is really cool. But the problem is the market is not big enough, and I can not make enough money here. So when I got sponsored to do full time writing this year, I stopped in-classroom training. Xiaolai once told me that if you stay in a local place, it’s hard to gather enough like-minded people to really make a difference, so It’s a good idea to work in big cities like Beijing or on the Internet.
So I did, and now I work full time on the Internet. But the thing won’t change is my focus on helping beginners. I still believe everybody needs to learn to code, and there will be half billion people who code in the future.
From coder to Tech Writer
The third switch of mine is from being mostly a coder to mostly a tech writer.
This is no such thing as a pure coders. We are all problem solvers. However, coding is what I do full time since 2006. Even recent years, I spent a lot on video making, but still I spend far more time on coding. But 2018 is different, even though I still made more than 1700 commits at github.com this year, most them are about docs not code. Blockchain is a new world, most people still need to grasp the basic ideas first. Writing seems more efficient way to serve my audience, at least for now.
The thing won’t change is my love for Open Source. Guess what really made my happy 2008 ? Sure I put almost all my money in Bitcoin, and Bitcoin made me some money, but Bitcoin price tomorrow is something nobody can guarantee. What fills me with hope is how much attention the mainstream starts to put in Open Source. Thousands of open source foundations were set up in the past 2 years, most blockchain projects are an open source project. Some may say it’s a hype, it’s people chasing after money. But I saw many great developers now are able to work on open source full time, that will make all the difference.
So that’s my happy 2018. I had my hands on blockchain and cryptography, that makes me more optimistic about open source, something I do through all my career. It is not the technology we use, it is the idea of bring openness to the world that really matters. URLs are powerful, I will write lots of tutorials on the Web and for a better Web, and have them linked with each other like a wikipedia. I will focus on technology as it is the way to bring people’s reasoning and kindness together.