Derek Stegelman

2012: In Reflection

As 2012 comes to a close, I wanted to reflect on what has happened this year and what I want to improve on going into 2013. This year in particular has been rewarding and challenging and one of the most exciting years of my whole 26 years of life.

######Family Addition

Over the course of this year so many things have happened. As I’m looking back I can remember so many different accomplishments personally, professionally, and by my team at work. The number one thing this year was of course the birth of my daughter Ada, who came into our lives in early May of this year. Being our first, everything was wild and crazy and we had a great time getting little sleep and getting to know our new family member. I am constantly reminded of what is important in life with her being around. Of course, this bundle joy couldn’t be without hardship as our family dog ran away only a week after Ada was born. With the help of some local media and great friends, we were able to track her down and get her back.

#####Personal Development


Partly due to having a small child around the house, I took more responsibilities from Lindy, one of which, includes cooking. I’ve always wanted to be sorta good at cooking, and I got the opportunity to learn on my own this year. There have been many many failures, to which I’m lucky that Lindy tolerated, but also a few good successes that I’m really proud of.


After I acquired a mash tun last year for Christmas I was able to start brewing my first All Grain batches. For the most part they have turned out great! I did have to dump one beer I made this past weekend, but that was due to a keg failing and it getting infected. The quality of the all grain brews have been far superior to anything I have done in the past and I’m really glad that I decided to make the jump into all grain brewing.


We didn’t get to do as much traveling as I would have liked this year, partly of course, to the exciting events around Ada’s birth, but 2013 will prove to be an exciting year with my first trip to Mexico. As a family, we’ve never taken a “Relax and don’t worry” trip. Instead of hitting the beach for our honeymoon, we escaped to Europe for a month in 2009. I have always wanted to least experience the beach bum vacation and with stress mounting, I am really looking forward to it.

######Professional Development

In 2011 I would have described my Python experience and skill level as a 2 or 3 on a 1 - 10 scale, and this year I have done a lot to improve on that. I attended my first PyCon with a group of co workers and worked really hard to expand my knowledge. I worked my entire way through Dive Into Python. I could now rate myself as competent in Python with still much to learn.

My knowledge of the Django framework was even worse for me in 2011. In 2012 I picked it up really fast by emersing myself in several projects at work to get as much exposure as I could. My learning style is to challenge myself with problems, and try as hard as I can to solve them by myself. I also wrote and released a few small Django applications that are Open Sourced from my work account Kansas State University. In September I attended DjangoCon US with co workers and learned a lot about what’s next for Django and validated many of the techniques we are using already.

  • Attended my first Django Con
  • Attended my first PyCon
  • Wrote and released several Django applications
  • 2013 and Beyond


In 2013 I want to focus on my technical skills.

  • Focus more on improving my Python skills
  • Open Source “All the Things”
  • Ship more code