Reflections on 2022

John Kilmister, · 7 min read

As we come to the end of another year, lets look back at the highlights and reflect on the year. Although this post focuses on my personal achievements and journey through the year, I will include some useful tips to hopefully inspire others to try something new.

Starting with a New Job

Back in February, after seven years, I moved to a new company. I always find changing jobs a scary prospect, worrying if the grass is actually greener elsewhere. Recently I had also seen a lot of people change jobs and some of them quickly move again for a second or third time. I took my time I’m really trying to find a company that had a great culture and a role I could see myself developing.

I very much enjoyed my time at PureGym over the 7 years and we definitely achieved a lot. Looking back now, nearly a year later moving on was definitely the right decision for me though. The new job is quite different but definitely the new challenge and environment that I needed. I am now surrounded by other software architects, new challenges, and new opportunities in a very different sector.

I think some of the biggest lessons I learned from the job search, was not to take the first opportunity that came up, focus on finding a company for the long term and accepting that not every lead will work out.

Microsoft MVP Award

Photo of my MVP Award

One of my biggest achievements this year was to be nominated and then receive the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award for Microsoft Azure. It was a real surprise, honour and privilege as many of the people I look up to in the community have previously been awarded this.

If you’re not familiar with the MVP award it’s given to individuals to recognise them for their contribution and willingness to share knowledge around Microsoft technologies.

Any of you who know me know that I enjoy technology and sharing that knowledge with other people, hopefully inspiring them to go and build great things. Being part of the MVP community has been great so far and I am looking forward to new opportunities in 2023 along with creating lots of new content.

Blog Posts

This year I’ve continued with my blog, successfully keeping to my aim of at least one post a month. I have also had some great feedback that has helped improve the posts. Over this year the top new posts have been:

Looking forward to next year I hope to build on the URL shortener project by exploring other Azure services. I also have a list of technical challenges that I have overcome which I am yet to write up.

Having dyslexia I found regularly writing has helped me improve my techniques to work around the challenges. I have also found that setting a self imposed monthly schedule has forced me to get started and deliver new content. If you are unsure if you should start writing, just find a way to get going, as everyone has something to share.

Personally I have struggled with motivation this year and in some ways wish I had written more posts. I have a long list of things that I was going to write about, some of them I even wrote about but ended up on the cutting room floor. To overcome this I tried to use community events such as Azure Spring Clean and the festive tech calendar to motivate me.

Speaking and Events

Once again this year I have had many great opportunities to work with and collaborate with other creators. I enjoyed making a dynamic sticker generator with Sherya, talking to Ganning about Azure Static WebApps and chatting with Chris about tools of software architects.

I had the chance to go a MS build event and meet in person many members of the Azure community, attend MS Ignite event and helped with distributing tickets at South Coast Summit. During the year I have talked at SouthCoast User Group, Dev South Coast and few other events.

I hope to do much more of this next year inspired by many of the great people in the Azure community.


Personally, I think it’s really important to inspire the next generation of programmers.

This year, I once again had the chance to take part in the Bit Project Serverless Camp. I was able to share my experiences with the students on building a technical online profile, Azure functions and different JavaScript frameworks in a set of videos. I also had the chance to mentor an individual student, guiding them through building an application using Azure functions. It’s always great to see someone ask, deep and thoughtful questions then take those answers and build something brand new with them.

Back in March I also had the opportunity to speak to the students at Solent University as part of their happy hour industry talks. These sessions allowed students to get an insight into what the world of technology is like from industry professionals. It was really good to share my experiences, pit falls and advice with them.

We all have so much to share no matter if you’re just starting out in your career or you’re a veteran. If you’ve never thought of writing down your experiences or talking at a community event at I would highly recommend it.

GMTK Game Jam

Image of GMTK Entry Roll, Lock and Drop

One of the things that I did not find time to write up this year was my entry into the GMTK Game Jam. I always enjoy trying something new and pushing the boundaries of my knowledge, so this year I thought that I would give learning Unity game development a go.

The plan was to use my C# knowledge combined with learning Unity the build the game. This game jam happens over a weekend, so it was a nice time boxed activity. This year the theme was announced as Roll of the Dice then we had a weekend to build a game based on this theme (either as a team or on your own). I created a block dropping game named Roll, Lock and Drop. Once the results were in, my entry was ranked 2,023 out of 6,112 entries, which for my first attempt I was pleased with.

I would definitely recommend checking out the game jam if you’re looking for a new challenge and a way to learn new things.

2023 and Beyond…

I am not sure what 2023 will bring however, something I never finished this year was my Raspberry PI hovercraft project, so that will be on the list. I also have plans to expand the URL shortener project as a mechanism of exploring new Azure services.

After a break from new Microsoft Exams, in 2023 I hope to tackle the Azure DevOps exam. I often use the Microsoft exams as a way to learn new areas and go beyond the narrower set of technologies I use on a daily basis.

I love learning and sharing so once again I hope to create new talks to share with the community this year.


Though I have found I am still struggling to find my niche, and at times hampered by low motivation, lack of ideas and imposter syndrome, overall on reflection I have done a lot and it’s really been a great 2022. I have learnt many new things, been inspired and met many new people with some great conversations as a result.

I look forward to sharing more in 2023 and seeing where the path takes me.

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