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Life Programming

Goals for 2020

It’s nice to have a list ready about what I would want to achieve this year. One is really ambitious of course, but this is something to refer back to later during the year, something to get inspired from in times of difficulty.

So here we go.

Get married. The elephant in the room. πŸ˜„ As I said to my fiancΓ©e, I have no problems with being married, but I panic from getting married i.e. having a wedding. A huge event, lots of people, lots of money spent on something that’s supposed to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Anyway, no reason to be afraid, it should be held in August.

IT & programming

Learn touch typing. This is an invaluable skill as a programmer and I’m fed up with the hunt-and-pick typing style, plus the sore fingers after a longer day of coding. I have tried learning touch typing multiple times and in November I restarted once more. This time I’m really making progress, slowly touch-typing these words as well, at the price of concentration overhead. Way to go!

Get React experience. I already started developing in React, and can now proudly state that I have experience in the three most popular SPA frameworks – Vue, React and Angular, in this order of preference. React and JSX is nice, getting used to Redux was harder but has its own merits. Let’s develop a few more fine apps this year to see where this is going!

Finish Data Structures and Algorithms specialization on Coursera.
Ugly. I’m halfway, with 3 more courses (including a capstone project) and some left-behind pathfinding assignments to do. These courses are quite challenging… and rewarding in a way, but basic CS stuff doesn’t often come up during everyday development.

Do the Cybersecurity specialization. Hopefully my company will pay for this ~5 months of training, if not, I’ll have to manage it on my own. It’s something very relevant today where wars are waged in the digital world and companies go nearly out of business due to a single custom ransomware attack.

If one is developing for the web, it’s foolish to at least not know about the OWASP top 10 and other basics – but as an aspiring security ‘champion’ I’d like to properly review code and assess vulnerabilities.

Investigate a full-stack framework. These are important tools of web developers. As a fairly new software engineer, I don’t need to learn PHP, but Node in itself is pretty low level, plus on the frontend side, SPAs are not enough for some tasks and overkill for others.

Enterprises may prefer custom Java backends or whatever, but for small-to-mid sized projects these opinionated frameworks are just right.

Some ideas: AdonisJS or SailsJS if I want to stay in the Javascript world, or Django or even Ruby on Rails if I’m looking for established, robust frameworks in other languages.

Give me some ideas of what to implement as a test project, though, otherwise it’ll be Minesweeper πŸ™ƒ

Learn more about Spring. Another fuzzier and less defined goal. I still need more motivation and inspiration for this – maybe some real use case at my company. Basically I should decide how much I’d like to specialize on the backend, while keeping a full-stack mid-term focus.

In my opinion, learning basic CS stuff is generally valuable (algorithms, systems analysis etc. don’t change so much). On the other hand, learning new frameworks, languages and technologies should be done only if there is some tangible (career or project) value in it, because they change, deprecate, transform pretty often. Also, it’s tough to get to a level where you can produce code that’s actually useful from a business perspective.

Career

Learn management 101 and apply for a team leader position. This is a big one, a huge challenge but could be a career-changing opportunity. It depends a lot on actual circumstances at my company, how and when they plan to expand their operations, plus how they see my contributions so far. I would need some mentoring, and would need to bear with the fact that from senior engineer I’d become a junior manager with little prior experience.

But despite all this, I think I have the social, communication, organizing, leading skills… and the guts to manage the work of a small team of individuals and contribute to doing some great teamwork. Then why not try it?

Keep doing this blog. It’s a way to structure my thoughts, to find my style and voice, to share information, to communicate with others. A post per week is fine.

Sports & leisure

Keep doing unicycling. Well, a sport that literally nobody else is doing. It’s physically exhausting, looks strange and takes a lot of practice to do properly. Skateboarding or even trick scooters are cooler these days. Nevertheless, I find this sport very relaxing for my mind and rewarding for my body.

I’d like to start working on proper jumps, backwards movement control and of course learning some new mounts. Buying a 24″ mountain unicycle (or muni for short) would keep me doing more and more riding in the nature.

Ride more on that motorbike. Because just commuting to work is boring. Upgrade old gear and bring that Kawasaki out for some riding on weekends as often as possible. Buy side bags and go for a wedding trip (actually before the wedding 😏) to Slovenia.

Keep teaching martial arts. It’s getting harder, to be honest. After 13 years, my knowledge plateaued a bit – since I didn’t become a professional fighter or whatnot. My contribution at the moment is mostly teaching a enthusiastic group of young folks.

It’s a lot of effort to commit to three trainings per week at set times, but pays dividends as I see them growing up to be healthy and balanced adults, partially thanks to what they learned at the dojo.

Play more board games. Prefer them to video games. No need to explain why.


Okay, so that’s it for now. Quite a lot as I look back but they don’t seem to be impossible to follow or whatever. Let’s see in a year where all this went. πŸ˜‰

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