Year review 2020

Wow! 2020 has been quite a year, and since it is almost over, it is time to look back on the year.

In this blog post, I will be breaking out the year in professional and personal experiences.

Let us see what happened this year.

Professional Life

I started at CERN on 6 January 2020. I have written a different blog about how I ended up at CERN. My first day was exciting and full of information. I got the introduction to the CERN hierarchy and departments. I met lots of interesting people at work. We had after-work parties that are places to meet people from other departments at CERN. The good thing about being new is that you can start a conversation with a stranger and make friends with them. I applied the same strategy and started having lunch with different individuals at CERN. I met many people and got to know interesting stories and made some good friends.

In March 2020, The pandemic started, and everyone started working from home. Thanks to my previous experience of working from home, I was able to overcome this challenge. I used to make daily to-do notes for the next day before sleeping. The key to overcoming this challenge was consistent communication with the team and following the notes. I used to work with Python and JavaScript during my internship. I used to have frequent standups with my colleagues. I was never out of tasks that would keep me engaged with work and be productive in challenging times.

I had spare time since I saved time in commute and having lunches at the cafeteria. I actively started contributing to open-source and looked for some part-time opportunities. I applied to some positions and finally got selected in the Open Mainframe internship wherein I contributed in the Rocket Software Zowe project. The internship involved writing code in Typescript and using the Express framework. It was a great learning curve with the support of great mentors. Apart from this, I also started making an online presence on Twitter by sharing snippets of Python, JavaScript, and computer fundamentals. I got to interact with people around the world and share views with them.

My CERN internship was about to end in June. I started looking for long term opportunities at CERN and companies based in Europe. I gave interviews and had a couple of offers. June 2020 was a tense month since I had 2-time commitments, and I was looking for the next adventure.

Finally, I accepted the CERN offer and took one month break in July to regroup my thoughts and start fresh with the new project and new team.

I finished my CERN internship in June and the Rocket software internship in July. I had two weeks before the start of my new adventure. I finally started my blog and updated all my portfolios with the latest information.

In August 2020, The pandemic situation improved, and I was back in the office. I had a farewell lunch with my previous team. I got to know my new team, and it was nice to meet people after five months. The onboarding process was well designed, and It helped me understand the project ecosystem. I had a buddy assigned who helped me with my doubts.

The pandemic situation kept changing, and I started working partially from home. I kept consistent communication with my team and made to-do notes as before. This time the project team was large and more like family. We used to have different after-work activities, and It was fun to participate in them. I organized the Laser tag game with my buddy and a dinner for my team (A tradition that every newcomer has to do). I presented my work product in all team meetings that boosted my confidence to progress even faster. I used to have feedback sessions with my supervisor. The feedbacks were overall on the positive side with some improvement suggestions. I contributed in a couple of cross-team sprints that helped me understand the decision process and development process. I participated in Kanban-board practices and sprint planning discussions in my core team. It helped to understand the time estimation and calculating the technical steps to release the desired features. My project got released on PyPi for the first time, and I kept improving and adding the features.

By the mid of October 2020, the pandemic situation got worse. I started only working from home. Again, I had spare time. I started reading about computer fundamentals and looking for opportunities to contribute in open source projects.

I found a couple of cool projects: Spotify backstage and React number format. I had a pair programming session with an engineer at Spotify that was very insightful.

I updated all the python packages that I am maintaining and issued a release for all of them. I am helping fellow developers on Stackoverflow for around three years. This year I answered more than 100 questions and crossed the 2k reputation mark that is big for me.

I met many great engineers in-person or online and got a lot of inspiration from them.

Personal Life

I moved to Geneva on 29 December 2019 for my Internship at CERN. I stayed in an apartment for my whole internship period of 6 months with a french family. When I arrived in Geneva, I had a friend who was interning at INRIA, and we made plans for the new year celebrations. I celebrated my new year at the famous Brandenburg Gate in Berlin and traveled to Munich and Venice after the new year. It was a good start for the year 2020.

It was my first time living independently. I learned to cook and do the groceries and other necessary chores. Since I was living with a French family, I got to know the French culture and tradition. I was the in-charge of cooking my food, and to tackle this challenge, I started preparing weekly menus for food and groceries that made my life a lot easier. I used to wake up early (around 6-6:30 AM). I used to get ready, have breakfast, and prepare lunch to take to the office. My office was 3.5 km away from my apartment. Instead of taking the bus, I preferred walking, and I think It was the right decision.

Everything was going perfectly, and then the pandemic happened. It was quite challenging since my physical activity reduced to zero. I was sitting, eating, and sleeping. I had a strong urge to change this. I started doing home-based exercises and meditation. I changed my diet. I was spending a lot of time on Netflix initially. Thanks to one of my close friend who suggested to start reading books and reduce the screen time. I was lazy in the starting, but I started liking it. I started reading books that helped to reduce screen time and mental stress.

After my CERN internship, I moved to a different apartment with a Spanish and a Scottish flatmate. It was a different experience for me living in an international environment. I got to taste the Spanish and Scottish cuisines. My cooking stress also got reduced after moving in. We had a lot of fun nights together.

I started going out and made a lot of friends. I started traveling and covered nearby places from Geneva. I also went mountain hiking for the first time. I took sunbath at Geneva beach. I got to know people from the UN, WHO, Redcross, and many other international organizations in different events in Geneva. I used every weekend to go out and visit some places in Geneva.

I started traveling to different cities and covered Nyon, Lausanne, Gruyere, Interlaken, Bern, Zurich, Vevey, Montreaux, Lucerne, Engelberg, Sion, and Arbaz. I traveled to these cities by train or by car. I took the cable car and saw beautiful views from Harder Kulm, Mt. Saleve, Mt. Titlis, Mt. Pilatus. I hiked to the cable car in Gruyere(because we missed the bus). I attended the famous Jazz Music festival in Montreaux.

The situation with the pandemic kept changing. I maintained my workout schedule and started going running. I completed reading eight books from March 2020. I kept a check on my diet and maintained healthy eating habits. I reminded myself every day to keep following healthy eating habits though I failed sometimes.

CERN had annual closure from 18 December 2020 to 3 January 2021. I planned a week trip to visit South France wherein I covered cities like Marseille, Cassis, St. Tropez, Cannes, and Nice. I visited Monaco, and it was a whole different experience seeing the world-famous Monte Carlo Casino. I saw breathtaking views from Route de Cretes Cassis and Verdon Gorge. I went by car with my friend, and it was a great on-road experience traveling via countrysides, rivers, and old towns. I got to experience mother nature in many forms.

I spent the last week of the year cleaning and wrapping up the pending tasks. I decided to write this blog after the self-retrospection.

Take away points

Professional Life

  • Keep looking for opportunities.
  • You are never busy. You have some other priority.
  • Communicate with the people around you.
  • Make a good online presence in your niche.
  • Appreciate work done by your peers and make their day.
  • Maintain a notebook to keep track of your tasks.
  • Keep exploring new ideas and finding new people in your niche.

Personal Life

  • Keep reading books.
  • Maintain a healthy diet.
  • Regular workout.
  • Make a routine and follow it every day.
  • First, listen to the story before judging any person.

What is next?

I will keep exploring and sharing different technologies and reading books. I will focus on improving my process systems.

I want to thank my family and friends for consistently supporting me.

I wish everyone a happy new year and stay healthy. Have a productive and successful year ahead.

That’s all for me, and thanks for reading.