January 1, 2020

A Year in Review - 2019

I never felt confident writing my ‘year in review’ until this year. I felt that I haven’t much to share, and even if I had I thought it wasn’t interesting. After reading a few similar posts from other bloggers, and having quite an interesting year, I thought that this year would be good to start with.

A lot has happened to me over the last twelve months. Apart from personal life, which I prefer keeping for myself as much as possible, I quit my previous job, moved to a full-time remote position, learned many new technologies and launched a few side projects.

Working from home

Ever since I started working, I dreamed of working asynchronously and remotely. Working asynchronously is far superior for people that can deliver quality work without being micromanaged. Most often I’m way more productive in early hours (6 AM to 12 AM), and I do the majority of my work by noon. I catch up on emails and chat in the afternoon and if needed, work an hour or two in the evening to finish things up. There are days that I’m not feeling productive and I just catch up on weekends. Personally, this is far superior to a 9-5 cubicle job and I deliver much more than I previously did.

Remote work has other advantages. I rented an office 15 minutes walking distances from my home, which is an ideal distance. Having a mandatory 30 minutes walk per-day, while listening to podcasts makes me way more productive than having to drive 15-20 minutes along with finding the parking. I can’t imagine having to commute for more than that. Besides, I have the freedom not to be in the office and instead work from my parent’s home during visits, late evenings at home, etc.


I enjoy blogging. I’ve been doing it steadily for nearly 10 years and I plan to continue doing so. It gives me the feeling of helping others - giving back to the community. Besides, as an independent freelancer/contractor it helps me promote myself, and improve my writing skills. My current client for which I work nearly full time found me through this blog.

Last year around the same time I’ve written an article on Why You Should Start Blogging. But having a full-time job, side projects, family and many other things leads little to no time for blogging. I’ve posted 7 articles this year, with this one being eighth. On average it’s every month and a half. Ideally, I’d like to have the blog posts monthly.

Side projects

This year happened to be the first one where I launched a side project. Confello - a tech conference aggregator. It’s still active and running, and we plan to release its second iteration in the first quarter of the next year, including some very needed features and a major redesign. A short article on Confello is available HERE.

Most of my side projects reside in some early - mid-phase on git. Mostly I become demotivated to continue working on it, or after having a period with no free time to work on side projects I start a new one and keep the old ones ‘for a possible revisit in the future’.

Last few months I’ve started working on two side-projects - startups, that I plan to launch in the following year. One of them is mostly-done from a software perspective - cleaning and maintenance service. My local market has zero such services, and few of them that do exist have static websites with phone numbers on it. Having no know-how in this market is what prevents me from further diving into it, but I like being challenged so I’ll take this one as a challenge for next year. The other project is a (car) transfer service for my local market.

Besides these products, which I work on with a plan to monetize in the future, I’ve also published a few open-source projects on GitHub last year:

dt: Go’s missing DateTime package html2pdf_cloud_function: Generate PDFs from Websites using Puppeteer and Google Cloud Functions goch: Self-hosted live chat server written in Go msv: Minimal HTTP server in Go with various middleware


I’m very eager about reading and learning new things. I do my best to spend at least an hour a day reading and learning. Not necessarily tech-related, but anything that pushes me forward. From a technology perspective I learned a few new technologies this year:

  • In the first half of the year, I spent about two months learning JavaScript and React.JS.
  • As I switched jobs in the second half, I had to learn to work around AWS, Terraform and Vue.js

I can’t say I’m too happy with the amount of learning this year, but switching jobs made it much better than it would’ve been otherwise.

Plans for 2020

Better time management

Having a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly plans, and sticking to them makes a major difference if you want to achieve something (big).

In the morning I write all the things I have to finish that day, prioritize it and try to be as less distracted as possible.

A few years back I cut my entertainment time to zero, except for YouTube which I consume about 20-30 minutes daily. I’m truly unhappy about this and one of the things I’d like to improve this year is to cut YouTube and all other forms of distractions, most namely Reddit and news portals.

Looking back at my life 5-6 years ago, I noticed that once my free time was drastically reduced by having kids, I started to value it way more than before.


There are plenty of ways of giving back to my local community, and one of them I lately started is mentoring others. In recent months more than a few persons asked me about getting into programming, would they be able to do it, what are the first steps, etc. I tell most of them that it requires hard work and dedication, especially during the first six months. I give them links to various texts that may keep them interesting, give them books, tutorials and exercises to go trough and follow with them weekly.

The majority of them stopped learning after a month. They either say it became too hard, or they have no free time and have moved onto something else. One of them, a young student, spent his whole summer holiday learning programming. After 7-8 months of learning, he’s working with me nearly full time.


This year, the major things I’d like to learn or getter better in are frontend development, AWS, gRPC and possibly Kubernetes.

Unless I’m forced to learn new technologies by my clients and/or work environment I hardly do so, but luckily I’ll have to keep working with AWS and Vue.js which makes the task 50% easier.

Besides the technologies that come and go, I plan to read a technical book per month. Being persistent throughout the whole year is a very challenging task, but even more rewarding.

Recently I started reading Designing Data-Intensive Applications: The Big Ideas Behind Reliable, Scalable, and Maintainable Systems by Martin Kleppmann, and it the first three chapters I learned many new things.

Time will pass, one way or the other. It’s upon us to use it as well as we can, and good plans are half the work.

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