Adam’s 2018 in review

Banner image that reads "Adam's 2018 in review". The background is black and grey. To the right is a picture of a rocket ship.

2018 was a whirlwind year and one that I’m very proud of. It’s fun to look back on and share with you all. This year SSW launched 2 new user groups, hit our highest utilization rates for client bookings, and ran dozens of sold-out training courses around Australia.

On a more personal level, I was lucky enough to be renewed as a Microsoft MVP for more than the 15th time, presented at a bunch of conferences, both in Australia and abroad, and spent several months living and working in Hangzhou, China with my little one, Ruby. Then, the whole family joined me at the end of the year in December.

Figure: SSW's 2018 in review

Figure: SSW’s 2018 in review

SSW’s 2018 Projects

One of the coolest things we did this year was move all our reports into Power BI, so now I can get quick facts and sexy visualisations for just about anything SSW does.

According to Power BI, in 2018 SSW completed and deployed 150 client projects, which is huge for an organization of our size (I know some people think we have hundreds and hundreds of employees, but we only have about 50!).

Figure: The green represents X%. At the end of 2017, I predicted that in 2018 JavaScript frameworks would remain king, and it seems to have panned out.

Figure: The big teal slice represents 78%. At the end of 2017, I predicted that in 2018 JavaScript frameworks would remain king, and it seems to have panned out.

Figure: Breaking down that X%, we see of all the web (JS frameworks, .NET and CMS) work we did in the past year. The biggest slice of this pie was Angular, then MVC, then React

Figure: Breaking down that 78%, we see of all the web (JS frameworks, .NET and CMS) work we did in the past year. The biggest slice of this pie was Angular, then MVC

There are many projects I’m proud of. Let me call out one. We made a vast and complex multi-purpose client portal for the Australian arm of an international client in the insurance and finance industry. It was our biggest project this year and took a team of 9 developers almost a full year.

I was warned this project could be difficult, but that’s just part of the job, and we weren’t the first consultancy to take a crack at it – previous great consultancies had tried and failed to complete the project, so it was especially sweet when we delivered it successfully. This can be mainly attributed to highly-skilled SSW devs and the client’s willingness to follow the Scrum process.

Conferences and community engagement

Presenting is one of the favourite parts of what many SSW developers do, and I’m always on the lookout to work out what stuff we should share to make us – and the industry – better.

For me, in 2018, I was lucky enough to present at the following events:

I also did some tours on these topics:

  • 9 Knights of Azure: Services to get you started
  • The Azure Superpowers
  • SSW Chinafy Experience Day

A couple of other really fun community activities I was involved with included:

Working in China

My time in China was amazing. I was there for about 2 and a half months with my youngest daughter, Ruby, and it was an incredible educational experience for us both. She attended the Hangzhou International School (aka HIS), while I worked with the SSW Hangzhou team, and visited some of China’s coolest technology parks wherever I could.

The Chinese are moving at a breakneck speed, compared to how Australia works, and the progress is evident across many industries, like software, hardware, construction, and more. When I visited China in 2017, I noticed the SSW staff would generally carry about 4 things in their pockets – phone, wallet, keys, and tissues (bathrooms don’t have toilet paper). Tech has changed so rapidly since then that this year I noticed that they only need to carry 2 things – their phone and the tissues.

I’m going to be dedicating entire blog posts to my time in China, so I won’t go into too many more details now, but so stay tuned for those in future. For now, here’s a link to my daughter Ruby’s blog post, as she’s already posted: http://rubycogan.com/2018/12/life-in-china-is-not-boring-for-a-high-school-student/

SSW TV

Each year, SSW TV becomes more and more important… it’s starting to feel even more important than the SSW rules!

There’s a bunch of great technical video resources including our user group events, the conferences we’re involved with, interviews with experts, and more. I’m really proud of it.

The analytics for SSW TV on Youtube show that 2018 was our strongest year yet! In the past 12 months, SSW TV:

  • Released 51 new videos to the public
  • Acquired 6,439 new subscribers
  • Received More than 0.5 million views
  • Was watched for 3,353,859 minutes (that’s 6 years and 137 days!)

Our most popular video released in 2018 was Clean Architecture with ASP.NET Core 2.1 by Jason Taylor, which accounted for 26% of new views in 2018.

All up, we’re at:

  • 960 videos
  • 21,826 subscribers
  • Almost 2.5 million views – wow!
  • 16,039,153 minutes watched (that’s 30 years and 181 days!)
Figure: 2018 was great, as we got more than twice as many new subscribers than in 2017

Figure: 2018 was great, as we got more than twice as many new subscribers than in 2017

SSW events

SSW has been running events since the 90s, but in the past few years, we’ve really ramped up the frequency.

Right now, SSW runs monthly user groups in 5 cities: Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, the Gold Coast, and Brisbane. On top of that, we run a couple of annual hack days – such as Angular Hack Days and Xamarin Hack Days. One highlight from our Hangzhou branch in China was running a Global AI bootcamp day – and these are just our free events.

In the past couple of years, SSW’s FireBootCamp has been running 1-day and 2-day developer training courses in areas such as Azure, Angular, .NET Core, and more. These sessions are immensely popular and frequently sell out entirely, thanks to the great social media posts by Penny and Jo.

The event stats for 2018 were:

  • 34 paid events (many sold out!)
  • 45 free events

SSW Sydney renos

The latest round of Sydney renos are underway. Since this is a big part of my life, I really want to talk about this, but because it’s painful, I’m going to talk about it later.

Executive summary: we’re almost there. When we’re done, there’ll be an opening party.

Looking back at Microsoft’s predictions for 2019 from 10 years ago

A bit of fun – this 2009 video from Microsoft predicting what 2019 would be like. If some of their predictions don’t look familiar, don’t worry – 2019’s just beginning so we’ve still got time to make them a reality. 😉

Looking ahead at 2019

Since Microsoft bought Github, one of the best things that could have happened, I believe it will become more and more important in the corporate community.

I think it’s going to be another good year, with a lot of consolidation around the 2 big JavaScript frameworks (Angular and React). I predict more and more companies will implement bots, and all the server-side stuff will become more solid, with the underpinnings of Azure .NET Core, containers, and DevOps… which will allow us to sit at home and spend more time with our families – that’s the dream, anyway.