2022: Year in Review
Positive thinking. Proclamations. Systems.
I was very intentional about proclaiming that 2022 would be amazing. It was almost like I could feel it from the very first day of 2022. “This year is going to be dope” I’d say to myself and everyone I talked to at the beginning of the year.
I’m not going to lie; 2022 was my best year yet! I mean, don’t get me wrong, every other year has been fantastic, but 2022 was so exceptional that it reminds me of 2019 - the best year in the last decade.
Of course, 2022 wasn’t just filled with only good things, bad occurrences happened as well. This review will cover the good and the bad. I’ll also share my plans for 2023. So, let’s jump right into it. 💃
I passed the CKAD exam
If you don’t already know, I transitioned from Web Development to the Cloud Native field in the middle of 2021. I had always been fascinated by Kubernetes and other Cloud Native technologies, so when the opportunity came to make the switch, I thought this was the universe saying, “go for it”.
Transitioning to a new field involves a lot of learning and risk (because things may not always go as planned), and even though learning new things can be great, it can also be exhausting sometimes.
The company I work for is very intentional about the growth of their staff, so they paid for me to take the CKAD exam to enable me to improve my knowledge of Kubernetes. So, I prepared for the exam, wrote at least one article every week about my learnings, and eventually took and passed the CKAD exam, making me a Certified Kubernetes Application Developer.
Passing this exam was a reflection of all the progress I had made since the transition and how much I had learned. It made me very happy, but it also reminded me that I still had a lot more to learn.
I was promoted to Senior Developer Advocate
If you ask me if there was any day in 2022 that I was literally smiling from the beginning to the end of the day, then it will be that very day my manager told me that I had been promoted.
Becoming a Senior Developer Advocate in 2022 was one of my key goals. Seeing it materialize was literally one of the best things that have happened to me in my career. Aside from the salary increase that comes with a promotion, it is a reflection that your manager and the company at large believe that the work you’ve been doing is valuable and that you deserve to be taken to a new level because of that.
I’m always smiling most of the time, but I smiled a hundred times more throughout that week. 😂
I gave in-person tech talks in Europe and the United States of America
I have spoken at some international conferences, but it’s always been virtual. This year was different. I got to speak in Europe and the United States of America in person!
My first in-person international conference in 2022 was at KubeCon EU in Spain. I honestly couldn’t believe that I was going to speak at the world’s largest cloud native conference because it wasn’t even up to a year since the transition. It was almost unbelievable, to be honest, and wouldn’t have been possible without my manager and other amazing colleagues at Ambassador Labs.
The second in-person conference was at All Things Open in North Carolina. I got the opportunity to talk about two things that I love; Telepresence and Open Source. #AllThingsOpen was one of the most organized conferences I’ve been to - everything was set in place, the location was great, and the speakers were absolutely fantastic. I loved every single minute of it. Shout out to the organizers of All Things Open for creating such an excellent conference.
The interesting thing about speaking in person at these conferences is that I get to see so many people that have inspired, motivated, and supported me in person.
I travelled to six countries
Most countries and people across the world have a bad stereotype about Nigerians, so it can often be difficult to travel when you have a Nigerian passport. You’ll have to go through the draining process of applying for visas and getting rejected by the embassies. Even when your visa gets approved, you’ll still have to deal with standing in long queues when passing through immigration or getting searched more than every other person by the security just because you are “Nigerian”. Nevertheless, I’ll take the searches and queues over not my visa application getting rejected by the Embassy.
Regardless of these setbacks of being a Nigerian, I was opportune to travel to Europe and the United States of America for the first time this year.
I was only able to get the Schengen visa because I applied with someone who was a frequent traveller. I think my bank statement helped too lol, but considering that my Schengen visa was rejected in 2021, I think this one was approved because my application was tied to theirs.
I think I got my US visa because I had travelled to Europe already, worked for my current company, which is based in the US, for more than a year, and was invited to give tech talks at a conference in the US. I can’t explain why my visa application was approved, but these are my conspiracy theories. I had heard about how many people have been rejected severally, so I was grateful to God that I got the US visa.
Even though I went to 6 countries this year, I visited more than one state in each of those countries. This tweet below by Sultan about my trips made me laugh so hard when I saw it 😂
Anyway, let me briefly break down each trip. 👇
Europe - France, Spain, & Greece
Before travelling to Paris, I had never gone on a solo trip. Yes, I have travelled to several places before Paris, but it was either for tech conferences where I went with other tech people or on vacation with someone. This time, I left Nigeria alone for the first time. This meant I had to figure out everything myself, from taking pictures, exploring, translating French to English, communicating with the French folks, etc. Doing this solo trip reminded me that I was able to do anything by myself and that I was happy with my own company. Paris was fantastic! I finally got to see the much-talked-about Eiffel tower and the Louvre museum. I ate croissants, walked around the city, made memories, and visited other historical landmarks.
After Paris, I went to Spain for KubeCon EU. I met some of my friends from Nigeria who are now living in European countries. I also met my manager, Daniel, for the first time too, and it was amazing. Daniel is the best manager I’ve ever had, and it was so good to finally see the person I had been working with and speaking to virtually every week in person. I met a couple of other colleagues from Ambassador Labs as well and met some of my Twitter acquaintances in person too.
A couple of months later, I went to Paris (again) and Greece (Santorini and Athens) for vacation. Honestly, Santorini is just as beautiful as they claim it is - you could see the moon up close cause your hotel is on a hill, the water is blue, and the houses are white. Lovely place! Athens was amazing too - they had a lot of fantastic quotes and historical buildings.
Africa - Rwanda & Ghana
My best friends and I have been talking about going on vacations since forever, but the vacations never left the group chat. This year, we didn't just go to one country, we went to two! My best friends (Somto and Grace) are two of the most important people in my life, so anytime I get to spend with them is always fantastic and filled with great memories, laughter, communication, and peace. They are the best friends anyone could ask for. I love them so much, and I’m grateful I have them in my life.
United States of America - Detriot & North Carolina
I got to attend KubeCon NA in Detroit and speak at All Things Open in North Carolina. It was amazing to see what the US looked like in person, hang out with more colleagues from work, meet friends and acquaintances, and just all around have an amazing time.
The weather wasn't as cold as I expected and that was good because the cold and I aren't the best of friends. I plan to return to the US next year for vacation, so I can go to states like New York, San Francisco, Vegas, etc. I honestly can’t wait.
I took a step back from being active in the tech community & Twitter
I didn't do much in the tech community this year, but I’m adding it as a good part of 2022 because it was an intentional decision. Throughout my career, I’ve been super active in the tech community, and even though it is great and impactful, it can also be very overwhelming and would sometimes prevent you from doing other things you love because you’ll always have so many things to do every day.
Aside from speaking at All Things Open and KubeCon, I organized OSCAfest with some amazing folks, spoke at my hometown (Google I/O Uyo), and few more virtual tech conferences/events.
Honestly, taking a step back from the tech community and being active on Twitter was very much impactful in my life. It allowed me to do more things I loved, like travelling, watching movies, resting, spending more time with my loved ones, and, most importantly, not having too many things to do every day.
2023 will be different, though; I’d go back to being active on Twitter, hosting tech events, and speaking at more tech conferences, but this time balance it out with the things I love so I don’t feel overwhelmed.
I partnered with some amazing tech companies
I had partnership engagements with Talent QL, AltSchoolAfrica, Teleport & LinkedIn this year. Given the fact that I wasn't very active in the tech community this year, it was nice to still be able to partner with these companies. I look forward to partnering with more companies and tech communities in 2023.
Some things didn't go as planned in 2022
One of the key things I wanted to do in 2022 was to create more video content. But like every other year, 2022 passed without me creating a YouTube channel or a TikTok page.
I struggled a lot with consistency and maintaining a stable schedule this year. Some things that contributed to this were procrastination, change in time zones when I travelled, etc. I definitely want to be intentional about this next year.
There was a saving goal I wanted to reach this year, but I wasn't able to. Nevertheless, I’m still grateful that I utilized my money effectively this year and used.
I barely wrote an article on my personal blog. In June, I even wrote an article titled Hey! I’m back with the intention of becoming active with writing on my personal blog again, but I only wrote one more article after that. It’s not like I stopped writing completely. I wrote over 15 - 20 articles for my company, but it would have been nice if I also published articles on my personal blog too. I started writing this year in review today, so the year doesn’t end with me publishing only two articles on my blog because three is better than two 😂.
What will I be doing in 2023?
Inspired by 2022, I will start 2023 by proclaiming how it will be my best year yet. I won’t stop making those proclamations, I’ll also set systems to ensure those proclamations get manifested.
Here are some of the key things I want to do or achieve in 2023 👇
I want to travel to Turkey, Amsterdam, Saudi Arabia, Italy (for my birthday), Morocco, and the US (for Christmas). I need to utilize the full potential of this remote work. Why work in Nigeria when I can be lying down on a beach somewhere and working? 😅
2023 is the year I finally take this video content creation thing seriously. I know it’s going to be hard and out of my comfort zone, but I’m going to push myself to do it.
I love Nigeria, but I’ve finally come to the realization that Nigeria isn't the place I want to live in for the rest of my life. The government has been actively working towards making the country even worse, and I can’t even imagine what the country would look like in the next four years. I want to live a life where I don’t have to worry about power supply, internet service, or even the chance of surviving an accident or illness because of the inadequacy of the hospitals. It is super exhausting. I don’t have anything figured out yet, but I’ll think about the countries I’d like to relocate to and take steps toward making it a reality.
There was a lot of inconsistency with my fitness journey in 2022. It significantly improved in the last few weeks of 2022, so I want to maintain that and even improve in 2023.
Just like every other year, I’ll be working on improving myself. From learning Golang, journaling, improving my Kubernetes and Cloud Native knowledge, video editing, etc.
I bet there are so many other wins and losses that I didn't include in this review because I can’t remember them since I started writing this article today, and I want to go back to continue my vacation quickly. But before ending this article, I thought to share that one of the key things I learned from 2022 was the power of positive thinking. The ability to always stay or at least try to see the positive side of every situation you are in, whether it is a good one or not. It can be very beneficial for your mental health, growth, and the people you interact with.
Finally, I want to thank God for everything he has done for me. Honestly, I struggle to find the right words to express my appreciation to God. He made all of this possible, and I’m returning all the glory to him. I also want to thank everyone who has contributed to making 2022 phenomenal for me. And finally, I want to thank me for believing in me.
Next year will be better!
I know this year wasn't the best for most people, so if you are reading this, I want to use this opportunity to tell you to stand strong because 2023 will be better. You have your whole life ahead of you, and the fact that this year wasn't so great doesn't mean other years wouldn't be better.