Its that time of year again, out with the old and in with the new. And 2008 was in fact a very exciting year, mostly professionally, and almost entirely unexpectedly.
I kicked off my year by getting my ZCE, which seemed like an excellent start. For my next trick, I parted ways with my employers (which sounds radical but really was a long time coming). I had planned on retraining to a "proper job" (accountancy), or going freelance for a while, but this was thwarted by me being offered a job by Ibuildings. They're effortlessly the coolest employers around here in PHP, and they are happy to have me telecommute from my home in Leeds. Working from home has been a new experience, and if I've learned anything, it's that it isn't for everyone. But for me, it works. I think I've done as much work this year as in probably the previous two combined. And of course there is the slight trap of being able to pop back to my desk any time, but I think the balance is just about balanced so far.
I'd already written a few blog posts and contributed to DevZone, and once I met Ibuildings things began to spiral from there. I spoke at the Dutch PHP Conference in June (large auditorium, no speaking experience, not something I'll forget in a hurry), and submitted talks to ZendCon. I wasn't accepted to speak at ZendCon but I did still manage to attend with support from various people, and I spoke in the UnCon while I was there. I also spoke at quite a few more local events, including the girlgeek dinner in Leeds, and the PHPNW User Group. Through the year I also started broadening my skills at work, preparing and delivering training, speaking at a seminar run by Ibuildings, and also speaking at our internal developer meet.
In November I was involved with the PHP North West conference in Manchester. This was huge fun! We didn't have a whole lot of experience but we just pitched in, begged help from anyone and everyone, and ended up with a very successful event. For me it was all the joy of a conference and seeing my PHP buddies without any of the flying around the world being in another country bits that I'm less keen on. We had a fun weekend, everything went smoothly, and personally I had a blast.
For the last couple of years, I've posted little screenshots of my blog stats on here, see one from 2007 (scroll right down) and also from 2006. This year, well, I've considered my stats to be "off the scale" numerous times. In fact, at one point I was convinced I'd had some kind of attack or other malfunction when I saw the spike ... when actually all that happened was that I wrote a popular article and people clicked through! So here's this year's entry.
Its been really exciting to see the y-axis labels change so much over the course of the year on this site, and I have every intention of continuing writing through 2009. I've been prolific this year with 195 blog posts; that pace won't continue, but I hope to continue to find a few minutes on a regular basis to record useful odds and ends that I would have to look up again next time. Perhaps I should be making more of it but I do still use this blog mostly as a replacement for a good memory! I've been blogging for almost three years and its been great to take the time to write some words rather than the code I usually work with. I was also delighted to be invited to write an article for php|architect magazine - you can see it in the /etc column in December's issue.
Looking ahead to 2009, what is in my future? Well after the experiences of the last few years, all I know is: you never know what is around the corner! I've a trip to south america starting next week, and I'll be speaking at php|tek in Chicago in May. All being well, a new niece or nephew will put in an appearance in early July. As for the rest, well, I'm hoping for good health and a quiet life - and the same for you all!