2020 - The good. The bad. The ugly.

It's been a tough year filled with lots of emotions. Here's how the year has been for me - special thanks to all those who helped me through it.

Dan Spratling

December 27, 2020

6 min read

2020 has been a wild year.

It's not uncommon to think of those in the technical industry being kept inside the whole time, but this year has taken that to a whole other level, where many of us switching to a forced work from home environment with very little reason or ability to go outside.

Not quite how I imagined the remote working revolution to go down.


My career has had a lot of ups and downs this year. I started off the year working for a company I hated, which was stuck in the past with no confidence in any of its employees while expecting them to work themselves to the bone.

I left there in february and moved to a new company working in app development (a new concept for me) which I enjoyed as a new learning experience but the consultancy aspect of the company was strange and it was a very fend-for-yourself kind of environment.

So in summer time, after the start of the pandemic and talks of the company potentially being forced into making me redundant I decided to go freelance. It was something I'd been thinking about for a long time. It might not have been the perfect opportunity, but it was the one I took. I began hyping up the change on social media and finally took the leap in July.

That's 3 different roles in a single year, if you weren't counting

Since then, I've been working on defining my niche and expressing my User Experience focused skillset, but it's been more successful than I'd have ever hoped with loads of freelance enquiries and a lot of work coming through too. A rocky start to the year changed my career path for the better - I don't think I'd ever go back.

And on top of that all, I released my new portfolio in the beginning of December to help boost my freelancing career even more. I'll be continuing to work on this for the foreseeable future. If you haven't seen it yet, take a look.


I started posting on my social media accounts back in March, and since then I've grown to nearly 10,000 followers. I don't post much motivational content, or even memes. I just post what I'm thinking when I think it and still thousands of people enjoy what I have to say, and I'm honestly so grateful.

I never imagined having any kind of social media presence before and I'm still getting used to it. I started off trying really hard, but that's now toned down and I'm being more true to myself on twitter, posting more about things I'm doing and what I've learned than posting things for likes. It's slower growth, but I prefer it. It's more me.

You can find me on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, and I've recently started posting regularly on Dev.to and Medium. Be sure to follow me on each if you like my content.


With being in on-and-off lockdowns throughout most of the year, my personal life has mostly been put on hold, so not much has changed, but I'm currently looking for a larger apartment to rent - hopefully being able to find something in the beginning of the new year.

Friends, Family, & the outstanding developer community

I would be remiss to not mention a ton of people who helped me get through this year. I wouldn't have made it this far without any of these people.

My girlfriend has given me constant support and that has been extremely helpful, especially in the periods of time where I was unsure about my working situation.

My friends and family have also been extremely supportive and even though I haven't been able to see them much (or for some of my friends, at all) it's been really good knowing that they're there for me.

Chris has been my mentor since my second job. He built up my confidence to where it is today and that's the most valuable asset I retain to this day, and even though we no longer work together we remain great friends and he still gives me support when I need it!

Tom is a more recent connection but has taught me a ton of stuff about the freelancing world. His advice is outstanding, but even in private conversations he's always happy to help out with specific questions I might have. His book, pricing freelance projects, helped me understand the value I could bring as a freelancer and while I'm still figuring out the more specific aspects of that, I would not have gotten off to such a good start without his help.

Annie is one of the kindest people on twitter and has helped me in numerous ways, from using her designers eye to help me make hard decisions on my portfolio, to cheering me up and being an amazing friend.

And there are so many more people who I've become friends with and have made this year much more bearable.

Ro, Devin, Luc, Stefan, Danny, Lors, Eddy, Vadim, Francesco, Simon, Kass, Chris, Tadas, Laura, Sarah, Anna, Mads, Jack, Marc, Catalin, Nehemiah, Florin, Adrian, and the elusive "Frontend Dude" and there are so many more I interact with regularly who I'm so grateful to talk with. Give everyone in the list a follow - I promise you won't regret it.


This year was a tough year, and I know that I had it better than many. What with the Black Lives Matter movement, #ENDSARS, and of course the pandemic there are a lot of emotions going around. Whether you're struggling with being kept inside, furious at the world or have even lost a loved one you haven't been able to see, my heart goes out to you. This year was tough. Hopefully next year will be better.