Alice Zhao

12 Products in 12 Months

If you asked me 12 months ago if I wanted to be a software engineer, I would have looked at you like you were crazy. The truth was, even though I was back in school getting a computer science degree, I never believed that I could be a builder.

Yet, this year, I'm on a mission to accomplish a big hairy audacious goal that I'm incredibly excited to get started. This year, I will aim to build 12 products in 12 months.

The voice of my parents is still etched in the back of my mind. When I revealed my decision to pursue software engineering, they told me that I wasn't smart enough, that it wasn't the 'right fit' for a girl. Their words hurt because part of me believed them.

I know I'm not alone in experiencing imposter syndrome in this field. The feeling of self doubt consistently creeps up as I stumble on complex technical problems and when I imagine what an engineer is 'suppose' to look like.

But, here is the thing. Although I didn't start coding when I was 12, math was never my favorite subject, and I don't drink coffee, there is one quality that makes me a great engineer. I love learning.

My insatiable curiosity, my desire to grow and challenge myself drives me to show up every day. Being a lifelong learner lets me know that I belong in the field of software. And boy oh boy, will I be learning a lot this year. 🤯

How it's going to work

Over the next 12 months, I'm going to aim to build 12 different products (web, mobile, and CLI) using different frameworks + technologies (React Native, Expo, Redwood JS, Twilio, AWS, Google APIs etc). This project will push my technical skills to the limits. Although I'm learning how to build large-scale client-side applications with micro-services & micro-frontends in my internship at Rivian, I'm excited to apply my new skills and build smaller products of my own, trying different frameworks and technologies.

Monthly milestones

Each month, my partner and I will pick a new idea from our backlog and set forth on defining an MVP of the product. Once we create user stories and a feature set that's doable in a month's time, we will create sprint tickets for the work to be done. Want to follow along? Check out our public Notion page!

How can you stay in touch with what we are working on?

We aim to live stream our coding sessions every Sunday at 12 pm PDT on Twitch! At the end of every month, we'll post our product on Product Hunt. I'll also write a post about the product, technologies used, challenges and lessons learned.

Sneak peak

If you've read up to this point, you get a sneak peak into what we've decided to build as our first product in January!

Introducing Poke, an accountability app where you can create and manage reminders that will be sent to you as text messages. Users can set which days and times reminders are sent, and respond to texts to disable reminders. Selfishly, this app is exactly what I need to stay consistent with my New Year goals of exercising and meditating every day!

What are you working on in the New Year?

Can't wait to start this journey together! 🎉