2019 - a year in review

2019 is almost at an end and wow, what a year it has been. A lot of ups, some downs, but a major net positive overall. As I did last year, with this post I’d like to reflect a little on all that I’ve been working on this year, and share with you some of my plans for 2020, too.

As I said last year, my main goal for 2019 was to extend my training efforts. I am pretty happy with how this turned out, overall. While the year started a little slow, it took off around May, with a couple of downright crazy weeks around October and November. In total, I delivered 30 full days of in company training and another 19 half day and evening training sessions, with 15 different clients. Collaborating with training companies helped a lot in getting to this result, and I’m looking forward to continuing working with all of them next year.

Most of the training I delivered featured writing automation in Java, with C# coming in second, Python at #3 and here and there some JavaScript, too.

Adding to that, I have done two full day conference workshops (one at the Agile & Automation Days in Poland, the other at TestBash Netherlands) and three half-day workshops (at the TestNet and Test Automation Days conferences and one at a meetup).

The highlight of this year with regards to training was probably my trip to the UK in November to deliver two full days of in-company API testing and automation training. One thing I need to work on next year is finding a little more balance in the busy and the slow weeks and months by building a steadier pipeline of training work.

I worked with two consulting clients this year. The one I spent the most time with was an on site gig here in the Netherlands, where I was (and still am) tasked with coaching a number of testers (and entire development teams) with the implementation of test automation. It’s a really interesting and fulfilling gig that will continue at least in the first couple of months of next year, and I’m really happy with the results we’ve booked and the progress we have made.

Since October, I’m also doing some remote consulting with (and writing for) a consultancy firm in the United States, and so far this has been a really interesting and rewarding gig, too. I’d love to build on this relationship in 2020 and maybe find some other remote consulting clients, too. The idea of literally being able to work from anywhere, for organizations anywhere on this planet, without having to commute, is something that really appeals to me. So, if you are or know of an organization that could use some advice or consulting in the area of test automation, contact me, I’d love to talk and see if I can help you in 2020.

2019 has been a pretty active year in writing for me, too. I have written and published 10 articles on various industry blogs and websites, and another 8 blog posts (including this one) on this site. I will continue writing next year, as I think it’s still a great way to process and structure my thoughts, as well as a good excuse to learn new things myself.

Public speaking
This year, I’ve done 9 talks, mostly at meetups and conferences, but also one in-house with a client. Six of these were regular talks, one was a deep dive with some live coding, but most notably I have done two international keynotes, one at UKStar (London, in March) and the other at the Agile & Automation Days (Poland, in October). I really enjoyed both these talks and have received some good and constructive feedback on them.

Even though I’ll mostly be focusing on doing workshops at conferences and meetups (since that’s what I like to do best), I hope to be able to do a couple of talks next year, too. I’ve got one conference planned so far (in June) and hope to add a couple more to the agenda as 2020 progresses.

Other activities
Apart from all that I mentioned above, I’ve done one webinar this year (with Parasoft), appeared as a guest on a podcast (with the fine people that host de Voorproeverij) and had my first online course published with Test Automation University. I’m looking forward to seeing what opportunities 2020 will bring me.

The freelance life
No surprises here: I thoroughly enjoyed working as a freelancer this year, and I’m even more convinced that this is the most ideal way of working for me, at least for the next couple of years. The total freedom of going where I want to go and working on what I want to work on has been treating me very well again this year. It has also given me the opportunity to be there for my family when that was needed, without having to go through hoops or having to account for fewer hours or days worked. I’m very much looking forward to another year of freelancing in 2020.

For now, though, it’s time to wind down for a couple of weeks and recharge. Here’s to 2020 becoming an awesome year for all of us.