An year in review, my 2019

One of the hardest, longest, most tiring years I’ve had in my 30 years or so. Not even 2018 and our marriage could be compared to 2019. First of all, our son grew to 2+ years, becoming a toddler. With that, a whole heap of attention that we need to dedicate to him. It’s also the year I’ve changed two jobs, seeking something that keep me thinking. Passing through jobs I came to realize that happiness doesn’t stand in having challenge at work but in resolving small challenges at home, in your free time, on your own projects (technical) but also spending some time with your toddler now and then (I will admit I’m the geek-ish kind of father with not so much interest for goofing around).

On the bright side of things and financially, we were able to keep above sea water and pay-off some debts, including closing some credits. While the mortgage is an impossible one to pay up-front, small personal debts were shutdown this year. For me, that’s a good start for 2020 and I hope it gives me the piece of mind to wind-down and chill.

I’ve started reading more. Not writing so much, as you can see from the frequency of these blog posts (close to one every 3 or so months). That’s because I’ve discovered a passion for the process and methodologies of software architecture. I started a few years back with “Software Architecture In Practice, 3rd edition” by Lenn Bass, Paul Clements and Rick Kazman. From there, I followed these authors through other books or references and I’m building myself a reading list to tackle in the months or years to come. As such, my reading to writing ratio clearly favors spending the long nights learning from the experiences of others.

Sadly though, I’m exercising this craft in a country known for its abundance of developers (and I’m not saying India) and no matter which big company name you take here, the middle managers have the “outsourcing” mindset. Meaning there’s by default a lack of trust in the engineer they’ve hired and they don’t care about a process, methodology or plan that could give them back a huge saving in time and costs that they can show their boss. No, they care for the “line of code per hour” metric to keep constant or grow. That is how “success” is measured in outsourcing. And of course, design patterns, integration and other best-practices, you know, have a tendency to lower the “line of code per hour metric” thus making the managers unhappy.

Since I kind of realized mid-year that no challenge in the job market will ever bring me some joy or happiness, I decided ask you already know to invest in some bare-metal machines from Hetzner. Nothing fancy, but something to make a cluster out of, have some backups and redundancy so as not to loose everything. On top of this, I’d install or prepare any service I would like to work with (Elasticsearch, Spark, Storm, Kubernetes, whatever’s new and fresh). It costs me, of course, but the advantage of working in a “small-scale production” setting and getting that experience ahead of the market (which usually lags 2 to 5 versions behind) is gold, pure gold and something not so easily matched by your fellow peers in experience.

2019 was an year of change for me. I changed. While I know I was a selfish ego-centric bastard before my toddler and probably our marriage, seeing a small human grow besides us changed me a bit. I’m more inclined to give him priority of my time before he falls asleep so that he remembers some happy moments with his father when he grows old.

And I’m more inclined to use the small amount of free time between the toddler falling asleep and the usual 11PM when I go to sleep to read an extra chapter of some (usually highly-recommended technical) book. If I were to summarize, I’ve changed in the sense that I’m more aware now of my time on this earth and how it matters to use it well, with a priority for family first and a priority for your own development second. Anything else comes last or can wait.