Adam’s 2021 Year in Review

2021 – a 2nd year living in a pandemic. For us in Australia it meant stricter lockdowns, wearing facemasks, and missing out on family time with those who didn’t live in your direct household. For single people, it meant a lot of isolation. I had some conversations with people who were really hurting.

The introduction of COVID-19 vaccines last year saw many seeing the light at the end of the tunnel with the promise to end the lockdown if we hit 95%. But boy did it polarise people – I have a wide group of friends and employees, and I saw friend against friend on the pro-vax, anti-vax stance! No matter where you stand on the issue, I hope we can have conversations with less heat with each other in 2022. Listening and open dialog gives you an understanding of the other’s perspective, which is so important.

It was great to sneak in a visit to my mum in Melbourne after not seeing her for such a long time, and to also see some of my team doing YOLO! activities towards the end of the year. A YOLO! day is an extra day of leave you can use at SSW to do something you wouldn’t normally do… and we saw colleagues doing things like diving, swimming with turtles, and one with sharks! Hence using the term ‘You Only Live Once’!

This year I used mine to go eFoiling with Andrew from the SSW TV team, and my daughter Eve. eFoiling is like an underwater skateboard and hover board combined. I was told it was totally safe, and that the worst accident in Australia was a bruised bum!

Eve was awesome and killed it! She was up on the board gracefully and rode off into the sunset. Whereas I almost killed myself! 🤣 I had an unfortunate run-in with the board (falling off) in what I was told was ‘the worst eFoiling accident they’d seen in Australia.’ It involved a lot of blood in shark territory, required an emergency hospital visit and several stiches in my face. 🔥🏥

eFoiling is great fun, but I don’t think Anastasia will be letting me do it again… I’ve lost some of my handsomeness… so maybe I should find something else to do in 2022!

Figure: Eve and I learning to eFoil at Sydney’s beautiful Palm Beach

Reflections on 2021

Over the Christmas and New Year’s break I always sit down with my girls for a few hours. We start by writing down our own retrospective items and then talk through each one together. It is fun to share our highlights and lowlights with each other and I think we all learn a lot. After that we do the same thing again, with our goals for upcoming year. I always enjoy it – it’s fun to learn what my girls are hoping to achieve in the year ahead.

It’s also something I do with my development team. This year I sent everyone a “Chewing the Fat” (a survey on Microsoft Forms) on their 2021 experience, and how it compared to 2020. Interestingly, it looks like most of our team had a better year in 2021 with 60% (green) of people saying it was better than last year. Maybe they are used to living with COVID…

Figure: 60% (green) of the SSW team said that 2021 was better than 2020, but 22% (blue) said it was worse, and 16% (orange) said it was the same.

Planners vs Non-Planners

Do software developers sit down and do a plan?

Answer: Yes, 59% (orange & blue) sit down and do some sort of plan and 41% (green) do not bother. They might be happier. 😊

Figure: The pie looks very divided – it’s almost split down the middle!

2021 Highlights from SSW Software developers

Living through a pandemic is not easy, and there’s plenty of negative to think about. So I was very happy to read plenty of personal and work-related highlights.

Here are some things that make a software developer smile. I’ve chosen some that warmed the cockles of my heart…

Work highlights:

👩🏻‍💻 “I learnt a lot of new technologies and frameworks. By being involved in various client projects, has given me valuable experience and insights. I love the software development industry”

👩🏻‍💻 “I would say being entrusted with the POC for our client’s rules engine. It is really cool to be leading something and to have the responsibility on me”

👫 “Joining the SSW Team”

👩🏻‍💻 “Really enjoyed working on my current client and trying to put my best foot forward for SSW”

🤩 “My highlight would be all the cool projects as a whole here in the Newcastle office! And also the outdoor RGBW lighting was cool!”

📆 “Running a User Group for the first time solo & joining the amazing team (especially Brisbane) 😀”

💪🏻 “I had been working with a long-time client and worked closely with their IT Manager. The IT manager moved to a different organization and re-engaged with SSW and asked for me by name. I was thrilled that I had left a big enough impression for him to ask to contract me again with the new company he was now working for. This was a big highlight of the year for me.”

Personal highlights:

🏡 “Moving finally to a totally new city after 20 years in the same place”

👨‍👨‍👦‍👦 ”Getting to see my family again, after 2 years”

👨🏻‍🎓 “Graduating from my Bachelors with a good grade :)”

💑 “I got married to my wife”

👨🏻‍🎓 “I finished my thesis”

🐢 “Swimming with turtles”

🍽 “I went to cooking classes, the crypto journey was a blast, and I did 1 in-person conference!”

💪🏻 “Being able to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle during lockdowns.”

👶🏻 “The birth of my son”

🕺🏻 “Being my friends’ accountability buddy. Getting back to dancing again *finally*, after being vaccinated. Moving to a Hybrid work model long term. Love the mix of onsite and remote!”

A Quick Re-cap of the Year 2021 for SSW

We’ve had a really great year at SSW, with some seriously cool client work, and of course fun presentations and events online. Looking forward to in-person events again!

the SSW 2021 Client/Project 'wrap up'
Figure: The SSW 2021 “Wrap Up” – great to see so much engagement with our dev community!  

SSW’s Projects

We have a cool new report that shows us the technologies used in our projects. We discovered that the old report didn’t accurately show all of the technologies used in a project, so we made a new Dynamics 365 form that allows for more information to be given. Our data now looks a lot different. You can read about how we did this on my August blog post “The Power of Multiselect”.

What tech was dominant?

Answer: Full stack solutions using .NET Core, Angular dominate, and amazingly Blazor beat React! To be fair, it’s a long tail with no one tech really dominating the SSW projects in 2021. Cloud tech is everywhere, with the word Azure all over the place.

The top 5 technologies used were: Angular, .NET Core, Azure Functions, .NET Entity Framework Core, and Microservices.

Chart showing the most popular tech in 2021
Figure: SSW’s Power BI report shows different tech used throughout the year. Angular and .NET Core are still dominating, with Azure Functions coming in 3rd.
the new technology results from multiselect
Figure: Multi-select rocks – you can see how much more data is now collected… look at that rainbow of technology compared to the 2020 data!


SSW TV continued to grow in 2021 with almost 36,000 subscribers tuning in to watch our videos! That is a lot of free learning! There’s a bunch of great technical video resources including talks from our user group events, the NDC 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 2021 has continued our upwards trajectory, taking on another 2,500 subscribers in that time. In the past 12 months SSW TV has:

  • Released 50 new videos to the public
  • Acquired 2,500+ new subscribers
  • Received 0.5 million views
  • Was watched for 2,287,920 minutes (that’s 4 years and 35 days!)

Our most popular videos released in 2021 are:

  1. Modern Web Dev with Blazor and .NET 6” by Jason Taylor with 10% of new views in 2021
  2. “What I’ve learned from 20 years of programming in C#” by Joe Albahari
  3. “Blast off with Blazor! 🚀 – Supercharged Enterprise UIs using AntDesign” by Luke Parker
  4. Federated Identity: An intro to OAuth2, Open Id Connect & Duende Identity Server 5” by Anthony Nguyen
  5. Get the most out of EF Core by avoiding these common mistakes” by Jernej “JK” Kavka, interviewed by Andreas Lengkeek for Tech Yak.

All up, we’re at:

  • 668 videos
  • 35,674 subscribers ⭐
  • Over 4 million views
  • 24,920,880 minutes watched (that’s 47 years and 41 days!)
SSW TV subscriber growth
Figure: SSW TV continues to grow every year! More great content is planned for 2022!

Conferences and community engagement

SSW were luckily enough to run a handful of in-person events this year. When COVID-19 numbers were zero, and confidence was high, we were able to run some in-person training for Angular and .NET developers, as well as a few User Groups with real people! It was so nice to have people back to the office before we were promptly locked down again.

Figure: A User Group with Jernej “JK” Kavka presenting to a live audience!

We were also able to sneak in some in-person office dinners and fun before numbers started creeping up and we had to once again socially distance!

Happy New Year and I hope we all have a great 2022!

SSW Sydney
Figure: Some of the SSW Sydney crew celebrating Christmas and the end of 2021
SSW Brisbane
Figure: Some of SSW Brisbane crew celebrating Christmas and the end of 2021!
SSW Melbourne
Figure: Some of the SSW Melbourne crew celebrating Christmas and the end of 2021