2020 Year in Review

28 December, 2020

I think it's safe to say that 2020 will be a year remembered by most people around the globe. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed how much of the world lives and works, and it's likely some permanent shifts in lifestyle have been caused by this disruption. I can feel the impact of these events on my own life, although I consider myself very fortunate to have not lost friends or family to the virus.

The pandemic and related social distancing will be an overarching theme that flavors my reflections on the past year, however despite these challenges I feel very accomplished. Looking back, if feels crazy that all of the following happened in the past year:

  • Like many software engineers, I've been working remotely since the end of March. Overall, I'm lucky that this working arrangement has been a net positive for me. This past year showed me that I both enjoy remote working and that I can feasibly continue this going forward.
  • For the first half of the year, I spent most of my time working on mobile application development using Flutter. Throughout my entire career, I've been primarily a web application developer, and other than a handful of small bug fixes I had never worked on a mobile app before. It was a bit of a trial by fire; I went from knowing nothing about Flutter to shipping to the app store in just a few months. While I still prefer web development overall, it was a great learning experience and I'm happy that I was able to broaden my overall software engineering experience.
  • Towards the end of summer, I got a bit of shocking news that my employer was going to permanently close their Chicago office. This was the first time in my career that I had personally experienced a layoff. Not going to lie, this was challenging to come to terms with even though many have lost their jobs during the pandemic. After this, I was determined to turn this experience into an opportunity to find another great place to work.
  • I spent much of the early fall going through the interviewing process at many different companies. I had applied and interviewed more during this period than the rest of my career combined. All of this effort resulted in me getting multiple respectable offers to choose from. While deciding which offer to accept was difficult, it was a good problem to have.
  • I ultimately chose to join a fintech startup as a fully remote software engineer out of their New York office. I started at the beginning of November, and so far it's been fantastic.
  • Because 2020 is pure chaos, there was one other career impacting event. Right before I was set to start at my new job, the company was acquired. I was really looking forward to working at a pre-exit startup, however I'm still very excited about the opportunities ahead for the company as it continues to scale to support more customers and clients.
  • It's been a busy year outside of my career as well. My wife and I became homeowners after purchasing a condo, and at the end of the year we welcomed a little Corgi puppy named Biscuit into our family.

With all of this uncertainty and change, it's safe to say 2020 has been a year unlike any other for me. Despite the challenges, this has been a year of progress and growth, and like many I hope to come out stronger at the end of it. That said, I'm really looking forward to hopefully more stability and tranquility in 2021.

~ MAD

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