In this post, I want to take full advantage of the challenge launched by Hashnode to look back to 2022 with the Dev Retro 2022 and tell what is the biggest lesson I learned this year and which made me a better developer.
This year I fully learned the meaning of the quote:
Don't judge a book by its cover
which in my case concerns a programming language that I have always considered over the years to be "old" and uninteresting, but which in the last year, thanks to the help of a colleague who has opened my eyes, I have learned to appreciate and to use more and more: Java.
Since university, I have always considered Java as a language to keep away from because, erroneously, I considered it as "old", too "enterprise" and far from what was the Hacker spirit to which I wanted to belong. I always tried not to take any course that included it as a language to use to pass the exam. In the only course that I could not avoid and which required a project with the recommended language Java, I asked the professor to be able to do it with another language, at the time I chose PHP, with which I had a fair amount of work experience and which suited me more.
A few years after finishing university, for a company I worked for, I developed a couple of native applications for Android at the time when Kotlin had just been announced, but the company still didn't want to use this language. My approach with Java had been to live with it for business needs, I was also starting to study Kotlin on my own to no longer need to use Java to develop applications.
Currently, I am involved in the maintenance and development of Java applications with Spring and I have been dealing with Java code, not always written by me, for about two years but until the middle of 2022, my relationship has always been one of love/hate with this language.
Since mid-2022, on the other hand, everything has changed thanks to the new entry into the team of which I am part of a colleague who has been working with Java for 20 years and who has opened my eyes to a whole series of Frameworks, libraries, patterns that I did not know but they completely and forever changed my opinion of Java and its ecosystem.
They made me change so much that, up until a year ago, I would have done any backend application that provides APIs and interacts with a DB with Node.js, now I wouldn't think about it for a moment and I would do it with one of Spring Boot and Quarkus.
As proof of the fact that I have changed my mind, I recently developed two applications that interact with Telegram Bots, and I made them both with Quarkus, one of them I talked about here: Save Bookmarks to Notion Database with Telegram and Quarkus.
The conversations and articles that I've been reading the most in the last weeks always refer in some way to Java and in particular:
- Vlad Mihalcea: an institution regarding the whole world of persistence and databases in Java;
- Baeldung: if you look for any Java and Spring guide 9 times out of 10 you end up here;
- Amigoscode: a YouTube channel with lots of quality content on Java;
- Giuseppe Scaramuzzino: I learned a lot from his videos on Quarkus;
- Maciej Walkowiak and Dan Vega on Twitter.
This year I learned how I had always had the wrong idea about Java because there had never been anyone who guided me and showed me what good I could find in its ecosystem. I learned how important it is to have a colleague, in this case, a mentor, who can open your eyes and give you another point of view on things because often your first opinion can be wrong and you could miss out on a great opportunity for personal and professional growth. I won't name him because I know he wouldn't want to but when he reads the article he will surely understand that I'm talking about him. I am looking forward to the new challenges that 2023 will bring and its new opportunities to grow.
Code strong, Alberto
Credits: Image by starline on Freepik