Year 2016 retrospective

It’s always good to stop for a moment and look back at last sprint, month, quarter or, like this time, last year. It’s December, holiday season upon us, so let’s sit with a glass of good whisky and look what was going on in the last twelve months.

In 2016 I wrote astonishing number of five posts. Including this one. Obviously, my writing goals hasn’t been met at all. Not even close. Too bad for me and us all. But maybe it’s better not to write at all than write a shitty post every day.

So I’ve been busy. Up until March I had a lot of job interviews, in Berlin and in Poland. But I was aiming to get back to my home town and live full time with my family. I got tired of living in two different cities. Because of that I couldn’t get heads or tails of my life. I felt sick of constant commute, to be missing my close family and friends, and my private life which was basically nonexistent.

So I had a lot of different experiences in job interviews, some were nice, some were really bad. Sometimes I had hope to work at some project, but they turned me down. Other times they offered me salary like 800€ per month and I turned them down. I like to have some spare change for food after I pay all the bills.

I have been hired by a company in Poland. Prospects were nice, they promissed things and we signed the contract. Unfortunately we had to wait for another three months until my contract expired. By June I’ve been working in Poland and was yet again happy for a change.

This didn’t last for too long. Promises were broken, terms we agreed on were changed. Work quality and climate at the company didn’t work for me, which become obvious after two months. So I’ve started looking for a change. Yet again in a saddle and looking for a better life.

It was September when I had a couple of interesting interviews… in Berlin. And I accepted offer in a smaller team of people I work with right now. Yet again, I’m commuting and feel trapped a bit. At the moment I don’t see any good alternatives in my home town… although there are some promising leads. I don’t want to pursue those for now. Maybe on the end of the next year. We will see how it all will play out.

So again, let’s rewind to beginning of the year and see projects I was involved in.

I’ve been working on migrating big monolith to AWS, which is still on-going as I’ve been told. Most of systems are already online and functioning and I like to see people I used to work with are doing amazing job. Cheers!

Another project I was involved in is heavy Puppet manifests refactoring. Since we had established very good CI with multiple tests, it was quite nice experience. That was possibly dangerous if done without any testing.

In the mid year, when I got back to Poland, I joined team working on multiple different projects:

  • a legacy project built for Android and JBoss + Spring Boot service as a backend
  • a project involving more modern solutions I’m not in liberty to discuss at the moment; I can say that technologies involved were customized Android devices, monolith backend written in Spring Boot, Angular as frontend and, later down the road, other 3rd party services; there was no testing involved although I’ve pressed for TDD and wrote some tests myself
  • project involving some Oracle technologies and ESB with a huge technical debts; it was a challenging and big project and its main goal was to reduce debt and enable each connected services to work correctly

Right now, after moving to another job, I’m working mainly on AWS services. Some details include:

  • maintaining infrastructure and services with Cloud Formation – planning to migrate most of CF YAML to Terraform
  • working on microservices architecture driven by Amazon ECS
  • services built mostly to run in JVM
  • frontend services are running on NodeJS
  • main data store is PostgreSQL with legacy data in MS SQL Server

Main challenges for me right now is to understand how services interact with each other, how to monitor each service in order to effectively set up autoscaling. We have problems with current Continuous Integration setup and way of Docker containers are being managed. And it’s only a start. So, as you see, my plate is full and I love the challenge. The only thing I hate is commuting, but can’t do anything about that at the moment.

All and all I think it was a good year. It’s bad I didn’t write almost at all. I hope I’ll make more time for that in the future.

As for a new year, my main goal would be again getting back home or moving away with my family. This compromise lasted for a long time and I won’t stand it for long.

I see only two possibilities for my career in IT: I’ll find some company that have project that I will love to participate in, or I’ll create my own project. First is unlikely, although I don’t know all the companies in my home town. Second one is possible, but will be difficult without any help from outside (like a venture capital).

Secondary goal will be bigger involvement in writing. And I’m not thinking about writing technical articles.

Back to you. How was your year?

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