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Personal report for 2018

You can find the personal report for 2017 here.

Generally, it feels like this year was a frustration — I planned to do much more than I managed to. I expected it to become a leap, but instead it resembles more just a slow turn. Still, this turn was made in the right direction. The problem is that it looks like I need much more time to get to the destination.

Achievements in 2018

  • In several months after I left Kayako (i.e., after the respite) I started to look for a new job. I looked mostly for short-time projects, but was also ready to consider long-term part-time jobs. So, I started with asking for job opportunities on my social networks and web-sites, and then by bidding for appropriate projects on freelance sites, such as Upwork. Nevertheless, some time (a month or so) I did not get any offers. Certainly, this made me worry. For this reason, I started to bid more intensively. And, eventually, this ended up with 7 parallel projects, at one period of time! And, that was crazy! Luckily, I managed to implement all of them successfully. So, in result I was able to obtain a stable income for this year. And, that’s an achievement! Certainly, it’s not steady and there are times, when I have too much work, and times, when I have no work at all, what affects the income correspondingly, but, generally, I have more or less fixed earnings each month. (Of course, my earnings were much bigger and more stable, when I worked at Kayako, but that’s what freelancing is and I knew, what I was going for.)
    By the way, soon after I left, Kayako was acquired by ESW Capital. That’s a sad news, but, to be honest, this was something, that could be expected.
  • I became a top rated freelancer on Upwork with 100% job success score (see my profile). Upwork was my main source of income for several months. My very first Upwork client, which is also my very first client in general since I left Kayako — Ty Roden from That Company — continues being my client till this moment. Anyway, right now, Upwork is no longer the main source of income for me…
  • My web site (and my Redmine plugins) helped me to find other jobs (again). That’s how I was found by itratos Ltd & Co. KG — my main regular client for almost a year. For itratos I do not only Redmine plugins development (while mostly this, for now), but also some PHP coding for eShop software and Symfony-based application (not much though, at the moment). So, I’m also learning new things such as the Symfony framework. By the way, itratos also sponsored the update of the Project Sections plugin.

That’s, probably, one of the biggest achievements. It was not mentioned at the first place only because it’s actually not ready yet:

  • I need a specific mobile app, that does not have any appropriate existing alternatives. As I’m using Tizen mobile OS (on a Samsung Z1 smartphone), I decided to develop such app for this OS. At this moment, the app is already functioning and usable, but misses some important features, what does not let me use it for my needs, for now. But, it’s a matter of several months. Eventually, I plan to release it as a commercial app (I think about monetizing using ads and, probably, to allow removing them as a paid option later). Unfortunately, to make it ready as a commercial app I’ll need much more time for testing and even research (it’s slightly “innovative”, so I’ll need to see, how it behaves). To implement this app I learned three new technologies: EFL (a UI framework consisting of Elementary, Evas, Eina etc), EDC (a kind of a mark-up scripting language) and SQLite. Tizen will become a testing platform for this project and, if it succeeds, I will consider releasing it for Android and iOS as well (I’ll need someone’s help for this, so, if you are an Android/iOS developers, we can be partners). A nuisance is that the development of the app takes much more time than I expected initially (development in C was never fast, but Tizen’s EFL does not help here at all). (Certainly, the app already has a name, but I’m not ready to share it for now, so I’ll reference to it as #MyTizenMobileApp.)

And, one more thing regarding That Company:

  • Ty Roden from That Company was willing to give back to the community. Therefore, he decided to open source one of the plugins, that were created for That Company. That’s how I was able to release my (meaning developed by me) first new Redmine plugin in this year. This great plugin is That Email Log (named after the company), which allows Redmine administrators to quickly check, which emails were sent out by Redmine. But, that’s not all.
    • Later, I suggested Ty to release a feature, that I personally liked, as another open source plugin. Certainly, he agreed. In this way, you also get the tiny That Issue Reply Button, that adds a Reply button to the action menu of the issue page. (Another feature will be released as one more open source plugin soon, so stay tuned.)

But, That Company was not the only company, that asked me to developed an open source Redmine plugin:

  • Cristian Tarara from a Romanian company Westaco wanted me to develop one more open source Redmine plugin. This plugin is Westaco Versions, that adds global and per-project filterable and configurable version lists. These lists become available under the Versions menu item, which gets added before Issues menu item. The corresponding pages include the query form, that resembles forms on Issues and Spent time pages. So, this is the second new big open source Redmine plugin, that I was able to release this year. Thanks to Cristian.

By the way, I offer a discount for those clients, which agree to open my work, that was done for them, to the community (as an open source plugin, for example).

  • Finally, in this year I also managed to release new versions of some of my open source plugins. These were ISSUE-idWikiNG and Project Sections. That’s all, unfortunately (so not a great achievement). The rest plugins (which I’m using) seem to work fine on new versions of Redmine (3.3 and 3.4) though (so their update is not so indispensable).

An interesting thing about this year is that I’m earning mostly by developing plugins for Redmine. However, this is also a problem, because there will be a point, when I’ll be getting very similar requests (I don’t like doing the same twice). That’s why I would also like to have some other types of job, but, unfortunately, I’m not successful in this for now.

Failures in 2018

  • #MyNotStartupProject is stuck. I will need years to implement it considering the amount of time, that I can allocate. It looks like to be able to finish it in a reasonable time I need to work only on this project, but I can’t do this, because I have to earn money. Investments, which would remove the need to earn money, would definitely help, but I don’t think, that I’ll be able to find them at the moment. So, now I’m looking for optimizing my time and #MyTizenMobileApp is being developed exactly for this purpose. Of course, this project also takes some time, what does not help the situation for now at all.
  • Orangutan is dead. And, it will, probably, remain such, as I don’t plan to revive it any more. It was aimed to help optimizing my time, but #MyTizenMobileApp should be much more handy here (in other words, #MyTizenMobileApp replaces Orangutan).
  • I managed to release new versions only for ISSUE-idWikiNG and Project Sections. I still did not update the rest of my plugins. But, this was anticipated, because, as I wrote in my previous report, I need more time for other my projects. So, I still consider dropping some of my plugins. Certainly, if my open source works generated some income, I would be able to maintain them better. Project Sections (see here), That Email Log and Westaco Versions prove this. I have even created a Patreon page for accepting donations, but it’s still zero there (for around a half of year). I also considered adding a Donate button, but no trusted companies, that provide such button (such as PayPal), work in Ukraine. I’m still looking for options though.
  • At the beginning of the year, I attempted to join Toptal (a community of top 3% freelancers, as they name themselves), but failed. I did not pass even the first interview, which was a communication test. The problem was in my spoken English, which is really not too good (I communicate with my clients through text generally, so I don’t have a good spoken English practice, unfortunately). In other words, Toptal requirements to English appeared to be too high for me (they are generally higher than normal, as far as I can tell). They suggested me to take a half of year to improve my spoken English and get back to them, but, to be honest, I did not have time for this (my aim is different from just becoming a Toptal community member). Anyway, I would love to improve my spoken English skills and even tried looking for English speakers, I could speak with a lot. I did not mange to find anyone yet though. So, if you want to become a one, please let me know.


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