When I look back on 2019, I'll always remember it as a wild year with unforgettable highs and some challenging lows that made it starkly different from any other in my life thus far. Overall, I think I've come out stronger both as a software engineer and as a person from these experiences. Some of my major accomplishments in the past calendar year include the following:
- On November 10th, I married the love of my life, Michelle, in an absolutely beautiful and unforgettable ceremony in Chicago. I can't overstate how much her companionship has supported me and fostered my growth personally and professionally, and our wedding was far and away my absolute pinnacle of the year.
- I've expanded my skills as a software engineer in the past year, perhaps more so than any other year in my career. While at times it was a little bit like being thrown in the deep end, I definitely learned a wide breadth of technologies, which was one of my 2019 goals. In particular, I gained more professional experience with cloud providers like AWS and Azure, as well as DevOps tooling including Terraform, Docker, and Jenkins.
- I began to take my data privacy seriously, and I have made a concerted effort to only use tools and platforms that meet my ethical standards regarding user data. I've been using elementaryOS as my primary operating system, and it's been phenomenal so far. In addition, ProtonMail has been great for email and DuckDuckGo seems to keep getting better as well. I still have a few active accounts with other less-transparent platforms, but hopefully I'll be able to continue to transition my usage away from them.
- Outside of my tech life, I've been trying to become a better citizen to my community and my planet. This includes primarily a multitude of small efforts, like volunteering in my free time or reducing meat and plastic consumption, but I've found these little things have greatly improved my own well-being, and hopefully the well-being of others too.
My career goal for 2019 was to become a true senior software engineer, and with my broadened skill set and additional life experience I believe I am now on that level. I've made a ton of progress in the past year, and I'm hoping to keep that momentum going for 2020.