2022 in review

TLDR: a ton of good things happened this year that I’m grateful for, although I have so many things to improve

Changed my job#

Early this year, I was working in a local Fintech company. But then, in April 2022, I changed to work in a multi-national online employment company.

It was a life-changing experience for me. I wrote at length about this in my previous post . ~8 months in now, and although there’s no perfect company, I’m happy working in this new company. I’ve met many new friends, and the people here are very talented and genuinely friendly.

Almost burn out#

In the middle of this year, I was almost burnt out a few months after I started at the new company. Several factors led to this situation:

  • I feel a bit of imposter syndrome as this is my first senior role
  • Learning Typescript and Javascript on the job
  • Learning SRE and DevOps by watching fantastic conferences on Youtube
  • Occasionally taking several meetings in a day
  • I did not rest well because I did a lot of mundane house chores

Fortunately, I recognized the symptoms and stepped back to calm myself down. I spent less time learning, writing blog posts, and building hobby projects and more time chilling with my family, walking in the park, and petting cats. On most weekends, I switch off my laptop. In other words, I’m no longer a hustler.

This is Opok

I’m glad I somehow found my limit and then pulled back to avoid burning out. I’m forever thankful to my manager for being understanding with me. Anyway, I wanted to play guitar again next year to soothe myself. I’ll likely buy an acoustic guitar as it’s troublesome to set up the electric guitar, plugging in multi-effect and headphones before I can start strumming my guitar. I want a guitar that I can grab and play.

Poor time management#

This year, I only spent a lot less time producing but instead more on consuming informative content like podcasts and conference talks on Youtube. However, I also spent a significant amount of time on Twitter & Instagram, and I’m not particularly happy with that. I sometimes feel tired after reading people arguing on Twitter on different topics every day, and it can occasionally ruin my day.

Sometimes, I feel like there are so many things I need to do in my head, and I will never have enough time to complete all of them. I struggle to make time (and passion) to work out and consistently keep my body fit.

Having said that, I think I need to figure out how to leverage my time effectively. That includes prioritizing my schedules and filtering out noises around me to focus on what aligned with my goals. It’s impossible to learn and do everything. For some reason, I’ll be super busy next year so I really need to be careful with this.

Tech#

So many new and exciting techs came out in the recent year. These are some of the techs that I wanted to play with but did not have much time & chance to:

  • Database: Planetscale Boost, CockroachDB, ScyllaDB, SQLite Marmot, LiteFS, Litestream, libsql, KeyDB, DragonflyDB, CacheGrand, Neon Serverless DB, DuckDB/MotherDuck, SpeedDB, ReadySet, RisingWave, Materialize
  • Programming Languages: Go, Rust
  • Web: Deno & Bun, Remix, Astro, HTMX, Apollo GraphQL Router, Serverless & SST framework
  • Message Queue: Redpanda, NATS.io
  • Platform: Fly.io Machines, AWS Graviton, eBPF, HTTP3/QUIC over CDN

I can’t wrap my head around some of these new techs yet: CRDT, WASM and Module Federation.

The technologies I’m still not too convinced about: Edge computing and FaaS serverless computing.

Of course, I’m probably not going to use most of these cool technologies at work at the moment.

As far as I can remember, this year alone, I haven’t spun any Kubernetes cluster yet, not even a Minikube cluster. I wish to work with Kubernetes again someday, though.

Asthma Journey#

I did give much attention to my SaaS Asthma Journey after launching it early this year for two reasons: I’ve been busy with my day job & I don’t have much idea on how to grow it in terms of product and marketing.

My focus in 2023#

I want to be better at software engineering in general, solving real problems and not focusing much on the tech itself. I don’t want to be a programmer that works alone in my bedroom.

I learned that I must be able to communicate well as I progress toward a more senior position in most organizations. I might be leading a project in the team, delegating tasks, recruiting, mentoring junior team members, convincing a solution to colleagues, etc. All those duties require excellent communication and people skills.

In the next few years, I want to grow as an Individual Contributor at the company. Apart from hard skills, I want to emphasize soft skills like communication, effective collaboration & art of selling solutions.

In addition to technical materials, these are some of the books I wish to read in 2023:

  • The Staff Engineer’s Path by Tanya Reilly
  • Software Engineering at Google by Titus Winters, Tom Manshreck, Hyrum Wright
  • Staff Engineer: Leadership beyond the management track by Will Larson

Technologies come and go, but this knowledge will stay relevant for longer.

Despite this, I wish to start an online side business deep inside someday. However, I need more time to be ready and have what it takes to build and operate a successful online business.

Conclusion#

I’m grateful for everything I have today, my family, my job, and friends. Alhamdulillah for all the blessings. I pray for better year in 2023 for everyone :)

© Fadhil Yaacob 2023