What I Learned In 2016 And What I Expect In 2017

The year 2016 is about to leave us all and is going to be a part of our memories -- even if they exist somewhere deep inside us. 2016 gave us a lot of things. Most importantly, it gave us hope. As the end of this year comes closer, we have to wrap a lot of things up so as to get ready for the next journey. The journey all of us have, is pretty much the same. Most of us consider it to be different from others but basically, don't we all want to be happy? Happiness - as in rich, as in famous, and as in with our family and friends? Despite the differences, we all have the same journey... the journey to struggle, the journey to work, fall, learn, and earn. 
Well, most of you know me, how I write, I like to keep it sentimental, I like to give my audience a bit of a "personal" touch. So, here I am, back with my 2016 farewell post in which I will share what I did in the past year, what I faced, what I got, and what I want to share with you guys as a personal experience. Last time, I got a good review whereas this time, I need a good lot of friends and people who need to collaborate with me.

Beginning of 2016

By the start of 2016, I was already an MVP on C# Corner and you know the vibe we get for being an MVP. Things were going really smoothly and here is what I did wrong.
  1. I never had goals for my year. People were talking about their "New Year Resolutions" and I had none.
  2. I had already made up my mind that I was where I had to be. I admit that 2016 made me realize, no dude, you're not even close. 
  3. I was not allowing others to collaborate with me. I was trying to be the "Unsung Hero".
  4. My happiness was defined by what I got, not by what I delivered. 
  5. I was always ready to try something out but never ready to look into what others are trying out at the moment.
And, here are the hard lessons I learned.
  • Not everyone has to share my opinion. They have their own and I should respect them. 
  • Goals are for noobs, dreams are for men!
  • We are not competing against others. Our main competitor is time.
There were many other lessons that I learned in 2016, some personal ones too. So, I won't bother sharing them here at all. So, these are a few of the suggestions that I would like to suggest to everyone for making the most out of your 2017.

Mark the calendar days to work for 

Throughout the year, what you are going to do anyways? Will it be just the same regular year, the year everyone has? Or will you make out something better, make the world a better place to live in? Most people consider themselves to be experts, at the time when they are hardly beginners (I found myself among these people during 2016; that was the very first thing 2016 taught me.)
Every beginner has to go through this and I personally do not understand why they say there are fewer "low-ability" people who are involved here. Whereas, in my own experience, I have found this effect in almost every person. Why did I mention it here? That is because you need to draw out the things that you will be doing in 2017. I personally am going to draw out a lot of stuff that I am going to work on.
Previously, the way I usually tried to get something done was, just get onto it with "No plan"; and thus, I usually failed. Most of the times, I had to abort the project, change the way it was being done, and so on. But of course, there needs to be a better way of doing things. You can have your own way of doing things. Mine is - I drink tea. Long story short, before 2017, make sure your mind is clear from any kind of grievances that 2016 might have granted. 2016 is going away, make sure the problems it provided you with, are also gone along with it. Start a new year, start a new journey, and make sure you do not repeat the same mistakes you made previously. 
A few things that require some chatter are -
  1. Make your plans appropriately. 
  2. Do not eyeball anything. Your judgement might be skewed, you might not be focusing on everything. 
  3. Do not hesitate to work with others, they are here to help and learn. 
If you are not going to follow this, then be assured, Murphy's law will be on your back.

We are not the best 

The moment you make up your mind to consider yourself the best and on top of everyone else, that is when you start to decline.
Remember that quote?
Same thing is true here. When you consider yourself to be on top, that is when you start to come down and others whom you pitied will rise up above you. I have personally felt that I am not the best out here, not even mediocre. I agree with the fact that I have put some fancy stuff out there, won a few of awards, and got a bunch of good prizes, but that doesn't make me any better than anyone else. The fact is, others may not have gotten the same chances that I have. 
If provided with similar chances to what I had, they might have been better person that who I am in real life. So, it is all about chance. I have met many excellent people in 2016, many fools too, and I got to learn a lot from others that I had no idea about. I am looking forward to meeting other excellent folks out there in 2017. Read more on how I am going to do that. 

Keep learning

Make sure that you make the best out of 2017, by learning new stuff that you had never thought about in 2016. Take me, for example. I am a computer programmer and am very bad at graphics and good UI or UX.  I do create good stuff but my design skills are worse than anyone else's. So, I started out to learn graphics. I am learning
  1. GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP)
  2. Blender (3D graphics software)
  3. Color theories
  4. Human vision and anatomy. 
These things are in no way related to computer programming where everything is a binary 0-1. But, at least I can say that I can make something out of nothing. What do you say? 

You can always redeem your free Visual Studio Dev Essential benefits, to learn a lot of cool stuff on PluralSight. They are really amazing, plus you get much more. So, you can start your 2017 in a great way. 

Work as a community

Now, we are all aware of what a community is, every software company has a community. Even the non-open-source ones have it, and in many cases, they have a better community. I don't want to strictly ask you to follow this pattern because in many cases, you might have already chosen to have your own community. In my own experience, I found the following communities really useful in the computer field (I won't mention C# Corner. I am already writing the post here, which is enough to include it in the list.)
  1. CodeProject
    People are a bit strict, you have to follow the rules. For beginners, the community is a pain. Vincent might have an answer to this as he did experience their harsh behavior.

  2. MSDN Forums
    Microsoft based forums are really helpful in many cases as they contain everything - technical articles (TechNet), code samples (MSDN Code Galleries), video tutorials (Channel 9) etc. So you can find everything over there. 

  3. Stack Overflow 
    QA site, but make sure you have searched on Google a billion times before asking something or helping someone out there. One bit of a mistake, and you're banned.
Nonetheless, you can always have your own personal community, a local community of 10-15 programmers or computer geeks, and you can have a chat together, talk about new stuff every month. The benefits of this are many. There are many ways in which a community can help you out, there are many softwares available that are a result of a community-based approach. If someone was developing them alone, they might have never been put out there. 
I understand that you are amazing, but there are people who are more amazing than you are.
Here are a few of my suggestions of what  to do in the community,
  1. Regularly meet up with your peers. 
  2. Be their host, and allow them to be the same to you. 
  3. Share your knowledge, work together on new projects. Everyone will have their own ideas for the project, making it better and amazing to work on what you love and are passionate about. 
  4. Help them out.
  5. Always invite others to join you, and always accept the invitations to join and meetup with other communities. 
If you are unaware, there are many online ways to collaborate. Facebook Groups, Twitter accounts, Meetup profiles etc are all used regularly to connect with people and decide to meet up next time. WhatsApp groups are also included in this. 

Give back what you take 

If today, people in the community are helping you out you should consider giving some back to them too. If we continue with our double standards, and stay hypocritical,  then we can for sure think of ourselves only and try to take everything for granted. But in real that is not happiness, happiness is to share what you have.
Be even happier if you want to be, give them more and never expect back anything from them. I would personally like to write all of this in a much simpler yet complex way in a C#-way,
  1. void Help( {  
  2.     while (true {  
  3.         // keep helping.   
  4.     }  
  5. }  
 What you get, until you have to help them out is pretty simple in this programming jargon that I personally believe in. Now comes my man, Eminem, 
Indeed this guy has helped me a lot in focusing on helping out others, without expecting anything back from them. There are many who do not have similar chances as we do, they always look up to us to help them out in their regular day-to-day problems. Most of them won't say anything to you in order to get help, call it shyness, it is our duty as role models to help them out in their regular day-to-day procedures. We, using our knowledge and experience, make them aware of what they should be doing and what they should consider avoiding.
I hope you will help others out. I might also be looking for help, so make sure you are there for me. :)

Ask someone to work with you

Since we had already worked in community, collaborated on some online platform, similarly, if you can find some good student to work with you, that would be a blessing. That will be a benefit to both of you
  1. You will have a fresher to work with you, they will always have a newer implementation and idea for what you are working on, be it machine learning, be it kernel development, new students will always have a better idea to work on that. 
  2. They will be able to work on a real project; students do not get a better chance to work on a real project and thus they do not have a real understanding of how things actually work Thus this will help them out too.
I personally am looking forward to students and undergraduates working with me on a project. In 2017, I will be open to new projects and ideas to bring to reality. For more information, see the "I am open" section below. 

Keep dreaming

 In my previous post, I shared the same opinion, in my current post I am asking for the same thing. 
Dreaming is the only possible way to achieve your goals.
Obviously, no one believes in dreaming but I personally have learned that dreams are the only way to do the maximum with what you have. This is a bit of philosophy to talk about, but trust me if you have dreams that you want to achieve, you will always achieve success. 
Plus, I also want to share the views, goals don't primarily help you out. Goals are a way of limiting your own approach, most people do not feel the same strength to work once they have achieved their goals. I myself felt the same when I achieved Microsoft's MVP award. At that time, I started to decline in performance, I quit working out anything at all. Because I personally felt maybe "this was it", and that only left me impotent (no pun intended.) You might see my previous profile and see how I stopped producing any content at all. 
Now I am starting to dream again, I hope you will join me in my dream to make something useful.

Race against time 

Another main lesson that 2016 taught me was that I am not racing against humans, instead, our main competitor is time. Time has been winning, and definitely it will win against us, it will take many of our heroes, it will take us, and our loved ones too. But the main thing is, did you work enough to make sure that you can say, "I did my best."  
On November 14th, I had a sad incident and happened to break my left hand, things were normal as I still had my right hand to work with perfectly, but however I noticed that despite what was going on, the only thing that was going on was that I was losing my time.
For more than a month, I did  nothing at all and that is when I really realized that I was actually being hit by time. The time was slipping and the less actually I worked, the more time had won.
But now that I am in a perfect health, I am personally thinking maybe I can race against time to do something useful and I personally suggest that you work with me. 2017 will have 365 days, count them down and they will pass away from your hand like sand. Start working on your projects that you are going to receive and work on in 2017. 

I am currently open. 

Now comes the main part. Let us for a moment forget about me being an MVP on any platform, let us consider that I am just another programmer who is always open for any suggestions, requests, questions, or anything that I can help you with. My previous year taught me a lot of lessons, and I found that most of the stuff that I really want to do relies on working with others. Open source communities are available for us to work on, we can collaborate on personal projects, anything that you consider me to be a part of -- I am available. 
Many people have said on various occasions that MVPs do not reply to their queries and have shown me proof to their claims, which I really very much regret. There is nothing that I can personally do in this case because they are "independent experts". It is their choice to help you or not and we do not force anyone and since they are my colleagues, I would just request that if they are harsh to you or do not respond, just reach out to me. I will try my best to help you out. There are many ways to connect and I am going to share a few of the methods, in which we can easily connect, collaborate and work together. 

I write a lot 

I personally enjoy writing and covering the topics that people require the most, so if you want me to help you in anything and can wait for a while, I can ask you to kindly send me the suggestions or the problems that you have and I might just cover that topic in an article of mine. But remember, I might have covered your topic so please have a look at my previous articles, tips, blog posts and answers.

We can talk about it 

You can easily find my Facebook, Twitter and even GitHub profile to connect with me so that we can easily solve your problem.

I am working on a few things

I am currently working on a few books, plus I am going to develop a few courses in video format that you can use, so if you have anything for me, let me know and we can definitely work on that. Currently, I have developed an intermediate course on Visual Studio Team Services, and in the future I am working on bringing C#, .NET Core, SQL Server, C++ programming, Linux and many more courses for beginners, all free of cost on my YouTube account; I would appreciate if you can subscribe to my channel, keep looking ahead, I might upload new content any time now. 
Plus I am also going to publish ebooks on C# Corner, that are also free of cost, you can download all of them from here, on C# Corner. 

Have an idea?

I am open to community based projects, open source projects, or any other non-profit project that you might have. I personally am thinking of helping out students and beginners in the computer science field.
If you are a beginner, a student or anyone who wants to work for students and beginners, you can find me on Facebook and we can work together, I already have a few people on my list with whom I am collaborating, and I would love to work with you. Ping me and we can start.
In all of  2017, I am going to start helping out students in their career advancements. 2017 is about to start, just wanted to share what I have learned in 2016 and what I am going to do in 2017, I would very much enjoy working with you! - See you in 2017.