Emily Shea


My blog on learning AWS cloud technology & building serverless apps 🌻

2022 in review

Personal Dec 17 2022

It's been a packed year! Things at AWS are never slow, but making up for lost time with work and personal travel as well as big new opportunities has made this year fly past. There's plenty to reflect on as 2022 comes to close.

Personal projects

This year in my personal coding project, a Chinese language learning app, I finished refactoring my DynamoDB database to a single-table design and added two new features: vocab word audio and a daily tweet bot.

I wrote about my single-table design in this blog post and my data migration scripts in this one. Particularly for my single-table design process, I am already benefitting from the time investment it was to write it down! I've clarified my own thought process and referred back to my own post as I plan out other projects.

I added the ability for users to play audio for daily words on my website. I used a Step Functions workflow to generate audio files with Polly, save them in S3, and update DynamoDB. This was a straightforward new addition with my new database structure, but the website feels much more complete with it. You can check out the audio feature here (press the orange speaker icon for any word), and this is the workflow:

State machine

I also added a Twitter bot that tweets out a daily word.

As part of the Twitter bot development, I decomposed one of the largest Lambda functions of my application (which previously handled selecting daily words, looping through subscribers, and sending emails) into smaller functions invoked by EventBridge events. I find these smaller functions easier to know exactly what their purpose is and make changes to them. I can also build new features on top of the events without making changes to the rest of the application.

Tweet bot architecture

For a couple items on my roadmap (adding daily practice sentences and storing quiz results), I've already completed the backend work. Just the frontend remains, which explains why I have procrastinated on it! 😅


I spoke at re:Invent, AWS Partner Summit in London, Serverless Summit, and the inaugural EDA Day this year. EDA Day was a blast and also a new experience in helping organize a conference.

AWS Partner Summit


re:Invent 2022


I read 25 books this year (up from 22 in 2021). A few of my favorites were:

  • Rebecca - This novel is exquisite - from the slow-build suspense to the lush depiction of Cornwall. I also enjoyed the Alfred Hitchcock movie adaptation.
  • Women Travellers - A compilation of women's travel writing spanning 300 years. It was fascinating to read about daring women traveling alone in the 1800s and reflect on how women experience the world differently.
  • Ringworld - This sci-fi novel was the inspiration for Halo. There were lots of unique concepts in this book, in particular the depiction of aliens.
  • Going Postal - This year I discovered Terry Pratchett and Discworld! These are such fun. I didn't take a photo of my first and favorite one so far, Going Postal, but the picture below is Equal Rites that I currently have checked out from the library.


I spent the first half of the year as GTM Specialist for EventBridge & Step Functions before a new challenge presented itself - the opportunity to lead the Application Integration GTM team! I have learned so much in my first 6 months as a manager (and recognized just how much more there is to learn!). Having an incredible team, great mentors, and an exciting area of technology to work on has made it possible.

I happened to read The Manager's Path earlier this year, which I'd highly recommend. Even reading it as an individual contributor was very insightful.


I got to do a lot of travel this year and was all the more appreciative after a few years of not being able to. Here are a few shots from different destinations.

Giants Causeway

Giant's Causeway



Tenerife, Chatsworth House, & Mt. Rainier



Happy holidays and new year! Looking forward to what 2023 brings.


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