Last Newsletter of 2021!

Looking back and looking ahead! Let's do it!

Last Newsletter of 2021!
Photo by Greg Rakozy / Unsplash

My Successes

I was PROMOTED a lot sooner than I’d planned. In January, my then-manager Vaidehi and I discussed my professional goals, and I expressed my desire to move from Junior Developer to Intermediate by the end of 2021. We went over the company’s Leveling Document (which defines expected competencies at each job-title level), noting the skills I needed at my target level. But, unknown to me, Vaidehi advocated for my earlier promotion in the same month of January, arguing that I already showed the abilities of an Intermediate developer. This was the first time in my working life that I felt so advocated for, and I’m grateful to Vaidehi for championing my cause the way she did.

I MENTORED 4 early-career developers in improving their technical collaboration skills. From March to May, I ran a project under OurTimeForTech called “Code Collab”. My goal was to help the participants improve their Git and GitHub skills while engineering a web application from scratch. The 12-week experience was exciting, challenging and empowering! Two of my 4 mentees landed tech jobs shortly after the project wrapped (1 mentee already had a position lined up, and the other decided to focus on her family for the moment).

AltSchoolAfrica is one of several ventures in Africa that is educating the next generation of Tech professionals. After researching their programs and liking what I saw, I decided to sponsor the application fee for 5 mothers in Nigeria who wanted to break into Tech. Well, that number grew to 28, as several generous donors reached out to me, desiring to also donate! The 28 people we sponsored are currently studying hard for AltSchool’s entrance exam, and are hoping to enroll in bootcamp in February 2022!

My Failures

I FAILED to complete an extensive work project. I have written at length (here and here) about a work project that challenged me significantly this year. I gleaned several lessons from that experience:

  • I learned to judge my performance based on my capacity/potential, and not merely on the task I attempted. The project I left uncompleted was originally assigned to a senior engineer; I was to assist them and benefit from pairing sessions with them. However, that engineer got pulled to lead another project, so I was left to continue our original project alone. In hindsight, I probably wouldn’t have been assigned that project from the start.
  • I learned how to recognize & respect my limits. By the time I stopped the project, it wasn’t because I made a decision to - I simply had nothing left. Nothing. I realize that I should not have allowed myself to get to that point. I should have recognized my present inability to complete the project, and then make an EMPOWERED decision to stop.

I FAILED to lose the weight I planned to this year. Sigh! The seemingly never-ending battle of the bulge eh? Like many of us, I started the year with #FitFam goals - lose weight, get snatched, workout everyday… 😅 I now realize that my biggest obstacles to getting and staying fit are CONSISTENCY & SIMPLICITY. I tend to be attracted to all the shiny fitness plans, products, protocols and methods. I’m excited at the beginning, I jump all in, I’m going 1000 miles/hour. Then, invariably, I either get exhausted keeping up with the regimen along with my hundred other responsibilities, or the newness fades away (of course) and I get bored and itchy for the next “cutting-edge” thing. There is truly no new thing in fitness - a truth has the power to topple the billion-dollar fitness industry (at least here in America). I’m learning that staying consistent with a simple routine will yield good results and, more importantly, create the permanent habits that sustain those results. One thing I am proud of is, as I’ve gotten older, fitness is less about how I look and much more about how healthy I am, how I feel, and how easier I move through my life.

My Goals for 2022

I AIM to significantly level up technically as an engineer. This year, I have sat under four, yes FOUR, managers! 😅 This was the result of company departures and team reshuffling. However, I am so thrilled to have my current manager Jeremy, who has been there since the start of my developer journey, as he was my coding bootcamp mentor. Jeremy and I have developed (pun intended!) a solid plan to advance my technical skills, especially around documentation, interpreting/fulfilling business requirements, and containing implementations (avoiding scope creep). Now, this next part is a stretch, but I would like to be promoted to Senior Engineer between Q4 of 2022 and Q1 of 2023. I say “stretch” because, anecdotally, I have observed least 3-4 years pass between intermediate and senior levels for most people; I have been at intermediate for just over a year.

I AIM to focus on building my kettlebell practice. My fitness simplicity for 2022 is “kettlebell workouts and sensible, whole-food nutrition”. My fitness consistency is “3 kettlebell workouts a week, with liberal walks for enjoyment”. When I consider all the fitness programs I have taken through the years, I enjoyed kettlebell workouts the most. I have 3 heavy-enough kettlebells at home, so I shall lean into this protocol and stay consistent. No gyms (cos driving there always becomes an excuse), no diets (because I never keep them). For accountability, I will report on my progress through this newsletter in March, June, September and December. And yes, expect a few sizzling before-and-after pictures! 🥰

I AIM to ease way back on Tech community engagement. I LOVE engaging with the Tech community, whether on TechTwitter or at conferences and workshops. However, in light of my other 2022 goals, I have decided to limit my engagement to the Arit Developer Newsletter (with issues published around once a month) and leisurely Twitter posting. I will thus create the mental and emotional space to devote myself to my professional and fitness goals, avoid doing too much and thus achieving only mediocre outcomes.