This post is very old. Technology, especially open source, moves very fast and it's likely that some of the information could be out of date. Please take that into consideration as you read this post.
Probably the most notable change I experienced in 2011 is my rate of growth. I've always loved to learn. I was good at it in school, and really couldn't get enough. It came easy. In highschool, I didn't spend very much time doing homework after school because I usually did it during other classes while still listening to the lecture. What little homework I remember doing was math, mainly calculus. I was actually excited to get home and spend a couple hours doing what amounted to a few problems. My classmates would come home and complain about going to sleep at 2am because they had so much homework - this I could never understand. But this aptitude begat laziness. So much so that it led me to become bored during college and walk out mid-class.
The following years I continued to program and learn a bit here and there. But I had no peers, no mentor, and nobody challenging me. I firmly believe that to get better at anything, you have to surround yourself with people better than you. You also have to challenge yourself. Without those things, you can continue to learn but your rate of growth will be stunted. This year was full of challenges. I was surrounded by a programming teamwhos skills far surpass my own. This was an introduction into a whole new world for me. I started following people on Twitter, reading smart peoples' blogs, asking questions and expanding my knowledge. I also jumped into the Unix world when I bought a Mac in December of 2010 (I certainly didn't buy it for the OS). With this came a plethora of new tools, CLI goodness and possibilities I'd never thought of. Not to mention a new way of thinking. I also started learning Vim. From a programming perspective, this was a pretty good year. My involvement with the CakePHP project has sadly dropped dramatically. That's because between startups and "real" work I'm working 60+ hour weeks. I've noticed, however, that this drop has slowed my learning once again. This is something I'll have to be careful of.
Another experience that helped my growth was my visit to Japan. I've always been fascinated with Japan, its culture, its food, and its people. I visited a buddy out there for a couple of weeks. He spoke some Japanese, so I learned any I could. I absolutely love the language, so getting to speak it was a pleasure. I'm a pretty quick learner, according to my friend. I'm hoping to learn more later (
Jeremy Harris is a web developer with over 10 years of experience. He's coded in many languages and currently focuses on PHP, both agnostic and framework-based. When he isn't at the keyboard, you can find him walking @riverthepuppy or brewing beer. He only talks in the third person when peer pressure dictates he should, such as on his blog.