2018 Year Review

2018 is almost gone and it is time to review some of the good and some improvable events from the past year. I’ll also list down some TODOs in the end, derived from the list of things that I could’ve improved upon.

In a brief

The year started on a remote village’s railway station in Odissa, during the 2017 Jagriti Yatra. On returning from the Yatra, I was headed for some adventures in LaughGuru, work related and otherwise. I enjoyed staying at my new house in Mumbai a lot. Life was very chill until I had to depart from LaughGuru around mid of this year. After that, I spent some time learning full stack development with Python, then started applying to companies. Around mid-October, I had found a new full time job. The next two months were spent preparing for it, learning some non-tech things and just spending some good time with friends and family.


Some things went right; planned or otherwise, and I learned a lot from them. Here are some of them from the past year.

  • Visited various places in the Jagriti Yatra, spoke with many unique individuals and made friends.
  • Took over bigger responsibilities of the codebase (and the tech team) of LaughGuru. Learned how major features are planned and implemented.
  • Learned quite a lot of advanced CSS and some SASS, implemented designs that were way out of my league.
  • Learned functional programming. Concepts were learned from Haskell, but most of the actual implementation was in Javascript.
  • Made small contributions to Freedom of the Press (and some other) repositories. Got the DigitalOcean Hacktober tee.
  • Learned backed development with Python and Flask. Learned how ORMs are used, schemas designed, app structured and tested.
  • Landed a new job, interviewed with many companies and spoke with many interesting and smart people.
  • My algorithms, data structures and computer science game in general was leveled up, thanks to the interviews.
  • Learned how overflows and overflow exploits, function calls actually work under the hood among other interesting low level stuff (thanks, Hacking – The Art of Exploitation).
  • Read some 15-20 (hard, soft and audio) books, most non-tech. Many were classics like 1984, Sapiens, The Mythical Man Month, The Selfish Gene and Pragmatic Programmer.
  • Read Applied cryptography and Serious cryptography, got a hands on with Coursera’s Cryptography 1 course by Dan Boneh, wrote ELi5s on cryptography primitives.

Mistakes and Areas To Improve

There is always room for improvement (a lot of it in my case), and in the following points, I’ll list down my own observations and some by my friends on ways to self-improvement.

  • Didn’t keep in touch well with friends and relatives.
  • Wrote very little actual code, especially in the second half of the year. Didn’t learn a new language or technology either.
  • Didn’t contribute to the open source as much as I’d have liked.
  • Didn’t implement the cryptographic primitives that I had spent a lot of time learning.
  • Spent too much time browsing reddit/youtube that could’ve been used to read books/learn something worthwhile.
  • Had a private room but didn’t set up the ideal work station that I had always wished for.
  • Didn’t workout regularly and got marginally overweight.
  • Didn’t plan the post-LaughGuru time properly, and didn’t follow whatever little plan I had religiously.
  • Got a chance to speak at a tech conference, missed it.
  • Didn’t dressed up decently, or looked like a professional.

# TODO in 2019

  • Web engineering, security engineering and open source needs to take front seats again.
  • Make active efforts to keep in touch and maintain healthy relationships with friends and relatives, be a nice-r person to be around in general.
  • Participate in opensource communities and build real, useful projects.
  • Walk, exercise and meditate daily. Wake up early.
  • Practice and get good at public speaking.
  • Save money and travel during holidays.
  • Read 24 books.
  • Put into practice the software engineering best practices that I have learned in the past year.
  • Remind myself that consistency and regular practice to become better at something beats one time wonders and luck on any day, and it is fun to be disciplined and process, systems oriented.

See you next year!

I hope you had a great year as well. I also hope you have a wonderful new year, filled with interesting problems, learnings and experiences.

Thank you for reading!