This will be the first year in review I have ever written. And what a year I picked to begin 😅. It was a year of a lot of change and simultaneously I didn’t get the change I was most looking forward to. I’m not willing to go into the dumpster fire this year was overall, but just going to write about my achievements and reflections.

Finally landed a new job after months of searching

Is the job good/satisfactory? Am I enjoying working there? Yes, and a resounding YES to both the questions. I joined Obvious right from the beginning of April 2020 and I can say without a doubt that I am working with some of the nicest people on earth. Also each one of them individually is pretty far above the average of what their field has to offer. My job offer was negotiated before this pandemic dropped on humanity and they never went back on the job offer even once the pandemic was acknoledged neither there were any talks of renegotiation.

This was uncommon (😉) to hear when so many of my friends were facing pay-cuts or some were even on the brink of losing their jobs while simultaneously learning to work from home. I was pretty set for WFH since I worked remotely in my last job too. In case you are looking for any design or engineering related work do check out Obvious, we are great at what we do.

Also made a bunch of new professional friends since I joined Obvious.

Wrote 21 posts

It has always been important to me to articulate and share my thoughts, and I mostly use this website to do that. Slowly I have been getting into the habit of doing that more and more frequently. In 2019, I wrote 12 posts on here and 2020 saw it getting almost doubled to 21 posts over the whole year.

Some of them were just archived versions of the newsletters I sent. I am also very proud of some others as they were fairly technical and needed research and consolidation on my part.

Completed my first fitness challenge

In the month of November I took up a challenge of doing 1500 push-ups over the whole month. This was finally the first fitness challenge I took up which did not end up in the Graveyard of Incomplete. There were a few days where I missed that day’s exercise but I was preparing for it by doing more than the minimum required every day since the start. So I was finally able to finish this in the last week of the month.

There was a happy side-effect of this that I never expected. I was posting my daily update to our work slack and it turned out that my updates and seeing me keep going at my aim was the motivation that helped push a few others also to keep at their targets. Even if for nothing else than this, I would consider the energy well spent.

Reading challenge

The last time I set a reading challenge for me and was able to see it through was when I decided to read atleast 12 books in the year 2017. This year I happened to visit a Crossword bookstore near the month of October and bought a fresh stack of 8 books. This turned gears in my head that I just had the time to take on a crazy challenge and finish all of them 8 before end of the year (basically 8 books in 8 weeks).

By the time I finished first one it was clear to me that I won’t be able to read all 8 of them so I changed my goalposts and finally settled on completing 4 out of those 8 books before January starts. Finally managed that in the nick of time with only an hour or two to spare.

Android/Flutter/Backend/Slack take your pick

Before this year I only knew, from how I could understand different systems, that I was a good general engineer and not someone who would be completely out of their depth if dropped in something different from their core skill. This year I have switched so many platforms and hats (all professionally) that I now have proof (projects I can point to) which assures me that I am a good engineer and can adapt to fields where I lack previous experience.

Participated in a hackathon

This was also the year where I ended up in a hackathon for the first time. And what a way to begin the hackathon experience, I entered as a mentor. My favorite moment during the hackathon was when I was helping a student with something and just happened to ask them since when they had been learning Flutter. They answered, “Oh I’ve only started this since April.” That moment was dear to me because April was the month I myself started taking Flutter seriously 😅.

Got more in touch with friends

Most of my friends live in different cities and we didn’t used to talk much but when the lockdown started a couple of us took the initiative and started having weekly group video calls to keep in touch with everyone. Glad to say that it is still ongoing.

That’s all folks

And that is what I remember happening in the past year in my life. Have I forgotten something, do you think this could have been written better. All suggestions are welcome via email or Twitter @varun_barad