Year review 2021

Well, 2021, it's been like a snap. Last year, I wrote the year review, a post summarizing what I felt I accomplished throughout the year, personally and professionally, and some of the year's takeaway points. I've been pretty AWOL lately on all things internet, and I can't decide if I have a lot to say or if I'd rather say nothing at all. Still, I've been actively posting for a while since I started this blog, so I'll keep up the tradition and write a year review for 2021.

A year is a long time, and sometimes it doesn't feel like you've learned or accomplished that much. I find these posts helpful to reflect on and realize how much I learned or have done over a year.

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

Let us see what happened last year.

Professional Life

For context, I was working for REANA and OpenData projects at CERN. In early 2021, We did a CERN OpenData client tool release. I completed migrating the Opendata platform elastic search instance to version 7. It involved learning ES fundamentals and understanding the process from query parsing to indexing the data.

In March 2021, I started improving validation handling on the reana client tool. Then I participated in another cross-project sprint which was more challenging since I had to figure out everything on my own after getting the task and then meeting the project managers to decide on the next steps. I fixed the nested facets implementation with the search that involved learning about ES terms filters and query parsing in React and learned about designing processes and communicating effectively across teams.

In April 2021, I implemented a feature in REANA that helps users specify resources for their workflows running with the Kubernetes backend. It pushed me to read the documentation of Kubernetes and understand the fundamentals. I grew my interest in Kubernetes and golang and started to look for some interesting open-source projects. My search stopped on a cool project named OpenEBS, one of the most widely deployed and easy-to-use open-source storage solutions for Kubernetes. I worked on improving the usability of OpenEBS and focused on implementing a user-friendly OpenEBS CLI (similar to kubectl) to perform various operations to get information from cStor volumes. It involved pair programming sessions with engineers working on OpenEBS, and they helped me get the gasp of golang and use it for implementing the features.

In June 2021, I worked with RabbitMQ and implemented the feature of persistence storage of RabbitMQ data in REANA. I learned about task queues and the fundamentals of RabbitMQ. OTOH, I had three months left on that contract, and I started to look for other longer-term opportunities at CERN and companies in Europe. The preparation methods differed from last year since I had one year of working experience. I divided the preparation into three parts: Leetcode, DSA theory, and reading system design blogs. I allotted 3 hours to these parts per day and managed to achieve it most of the time initially, and it was challenging to maintain consistency since I had my day job and I was contributing to OpenEBS at the same time. I did a System design course on Educative, and It was constructive in my preparation. I started applying for jobs by mid-April and scheduled interviews from the end of June to have enough time for preparation.

In July and August 2021, I added more features to the REANA client tool, and in the last month of my contract, I finished tuning the query parsing and terms filter on the OpenData platform. I had meetings with section project managers and my managers before leaving the team, and It involved reflecting one year in the team and two-way feedback. I learned about my strong points and things I can improve on my next adventure. I noted all the things and will keep working on them in 2022.

On the other hand, After prepping for interviews and submitting assignments, sitting in multiple rounds for various companies, including Datadog and Google. I had three offers in the end. I decided to stay at CERN after thinking through all the options. That was a very intense period of the year since I was working full time, contributing to OpenEBS, and finding a job. I kept two months gap in my contracts to have a break and start fresh with the new project.

I started my new Fellow contract in November 2021 as a Research and Computing Engineer in Scientific Information Service section at CERN. I am developing and operating the CERN analysis preservation platform. I worked on implementing e2e testing for the CAP client tool after reading the API docs and setting the project on the new machine.

In December 2021, I got the task of automating the building and pushing of server and front-end images on the GitLab registry and using them for CI purposes on Github actions. This task helped me learn about the DevOps side of the project and deep dive into docker fundamentals. I am looking forward to working on other projects in the section and learning new skills.

In 2021, I was working for ten months in total. Most of my working time was from home, and I missed the office vibes and in-person interactions.

I wrote 17 articles in 2021, which is good, but I couldn't take the time to write any blog in the second half of 2021, and I am hopeful that I will be consistent this year and write more specific blogs. I have been helping fellow developers on Stackoverflow for around four years now.

According to Google Analytics, from January 1, 2021, to December 31, 2021, this website had 2k sessions with 1.6k users from around the world. I don't market this site anywhere, so getting so many hits is pretty cool.

Personal Life

Continuing from 2020, I kept on doing different adventures outside work, and It's been a roller coaster ride in that respect.

In January 2021, I started Nordic skiing, and it is a challenging sport that requires mental determination and physical strength. I was scared of the slopes in the initial visits, but it went away slowly. I saw the first snowstorm in my area, and I felt like a kid playing with the snow. One of the most challenging things I did at the start of 2021 was taking a swim in Lac Leman when it was -1°C outside and 3°C inside the lake. Since the pandemic, we started to do small house gatherings to interact with friends over dinner and on weekends. In February 2021, I started to bike around with my friend to nearby hills. I made a weekend trip to Zurich, Grindelwald, and Interlaken with friends. We went to do sledging, and it was a crazy experience coming down the snow-covered mountains without the brakes on bumpy slopes. In March 2021, I went to the Oyonnax commune in France, located in a valley of the Jura Mountains in the far north of Ain. I celebrated Clean Monday(Καθαρά Δευτέρα) with my Greek friends. This day is celebrated to clean and purify the body, and one can eat only seafood and vegetables. I made a weekend trip to Yvoire, Evian les Bains and Mt. Saleve. On the last weekend trip, I went to BERN, and I did BBQ on top of the hill with my friends. I have a strong memory of randomly going to a group of people playing cricket, and I joined them for a while, and It was pure fun. They were a group of English and Australian people hanging out together.

In April 2021, I had a long weekend because of the Easter holidays. I went to Zurich, Koblenz, Basel, Rhein Falls, covered the Swiss-German countryside and swam in the Zurich lake at 8°C. We organized an Indo-Greek dinner at my friend's place to exchange different cultural cuisines. I did a biking tour of Lac Leman in 8 hours, biking 174 Kms with three other friends. I was amazed by my performance and endurance during the trip. In May 2021, Temperatures went up again, and I started hiking around Geneva and went hiking Creux du Van, located in the Swiss canton of Neuchâtel. In June 2021, I planned a Greece trip for the summer holidays. I had a Vietnamese-Kenyan-Indian dinner with my friends.

In July 2021, I decided to color my hair before the Greece trip. I went to Annecy for a day trip and saw the sunset from the Jura mountains, enjoying Raclette-Swiss cuisine. I went to Greece, my most anticipated trip of summer. I went to Athens, Mykonos, Ios, and Milos islands, and every Island had different vibes. This trip taught me many lessons apart from traveling and experiencing Greek culture and cuisines. In August 2021, Since I just came from Greece, there were not many things planned for August, and I just relaxed after the trip and didn't go outside Geneva. I visited the ATLAS experiment at CERN. I was about to leave for India, so I had an Indian lunch with my Indian friends.

As I mentioned earlier, I took a break of two months before starting on the new project. I flew back to India for two months after almost one year. I surprised my family and friends by going to India without informing them. I went around my home city Jaipur with my family. I traveled to Delhi, Mumbai, and Goa during my two months in India. I didn't realize how time passed away so quickly, and I had the flight back to Geneva at the end of October 2021.

In November 2021, Since I started the new contract, I had to celebrate Diwali away from home. This time I planned celebrations with my friend, and we decorated the house with small lamps and lights. We did a small ritual, and I put tilaka on everyone's forehead before doing the ritual. I saw a fantastic performance from CERN musical club.

In December 2021, I moved into a new apartment, sharing it with another Indian friend. We organized a farewell for my best friend since he finished his contract and I made almost every trip with him. After this, everything that happened was spontaneous plans. I went to the Lyon light festival on the second weekend. CERN had annual closure from December 22, 2021, to January 4, 2022. My Spanish friend and ex-flatmate invited me to Asturias to celebrate Christmas with his family. I had a fantastic time in Spain, and I got to experience the Spanish culture and traditions. I loved the food and hospitality of the family. My friend took me to different places in the Asturias region, and the views were breathtaking. It was a different experience since I had nothing planned, but everything happened perfectly. I gifted block printed bedsheets from Jaipur as a token of thanks for inviting me. I came back from the trip and spent time doing the self-reflection. After that, I spent new year's eve in a Chalet in Les Gets, France, with some incredible people. It was a pretty relaxing trip.

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

Take away points

Professional Life

  • Be curious and try to understand. There's no magic!
  • You are never busy. You have some other priorities.
  • Communicate with the people around you.
  • Move from reasons of not working to ways how it can work.

Personal Life

  • Keep reading books.
  • Maintain a healthy diet.
  • Regular workout.
  • Make a routine and follow it every day.
  • Care about people who care about you.
  • Take the stand when the situation comes up.

Other notes

I did a lot with code this year, but not with my other hobbies. I didn't click creative photographs, and I didn't read enough. I didn't start a passive income source, and I hope to do it this year.

What is next?

Having a full-time job is a full-time job, so I only wrote articles on the side and tried to have a life. If I have a goal this year, it's that I'd like to bring more art and music back into my life, something I've fiercely neglected. We'll see where next year takes me!

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 prosperous year ahead.

Thank you all for reading. I plan to keep going and learning and improving into the following year.

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