We are about to wrap up a year that will be known for it’s numerous expected and unexpected events. I started my blog this year, so this is my first ‘Year in Review’ post! To me, this year has been the year of many “firsts”. Here’s a recount of some key things in my life in and the learnings I drew out of it:
Embracing the unexpected
Like everyone else, when I wrote my 2020 goals and plans, little did I know about the pandemic’s havoc on our lives. COVID forced a change in the “normal” life. The new normal forced adaptating to new routines.
Modeling my home aka work environment
Oh hey! Now my home is also my workplace huh!
Investing in a good ergonomic work setup (sit-stand desk, widescreen monitor, etc.) was the first thing I did. In the hindsight, I thank myself immensely for it. Creating a routine to logically separate work and life outside work was another aspect that took quite a toll in the beginning.
One positive thing to come out of the year was I focused my time towards creativity and built my blog. I spent some time around March ‘20- April ‘20 to evaluate if I wanted to use an online publishing platform or self-host my blog. I eventually decided to own my words. Since then, I have managed to write 9 articles. My personal favorites are the Tech Tribe of Mentors and Owning your Onboarding.
I joined the Techwriters community and have learned so much from the amazing folks there. I look forward to writing more in 2021.
I had the opportunity to speak at Women at Intel Network’s Santa Clara conference. The theme this year was ‘Rise with Resilience’. I was happy to know my proposal was accepted and enjoyed sharing my thoughts about Resilience during this unprecedented time. It was nice to see how the virtual conferences have managed to adapt their best during these challenging times.
It was my first year formally mentoring in tech. At the start of the year, I mentored two high school students at Oakland Tech High School (an effort championed by Intel). It offered me a glimpse of how the next-gen is eager to make an impactful career in STEM and how crucial it is to provide them the resources early on to make it happen.
What further affirmed my belief was the opportunity to judge global app submissions (from Egypt, USA, Nigeria, Mexico, Kazakhstan) in Technovation Girls ‘20. Support for Alzheimer’s patients, domestic violence, climate change, the impact of COVID-19 – these are just a few problems 1,500 Technovation Girls teams around the world tackled in 2020. Isn’t that exciting?
I also mentored two female graduate mentees at San Jose State University- my Alma mater. This experience helped me reflect on my learnings, failures, successes as I shared some actionable advice with them in our 1:1 meetings. One of my mentees secured a tech internship for the upcoming summer. What a win!!
I’ve added writing a blog post on questions that apply to almost every new grad to my blogging backlog.
Careerwise 2020 has been a year of immense learnings and growth. For the first half of the year, I did some solid backend engineering work at Intel Sports where I worked on building backend and platform microservices for Immersive media experiences. In September ‘20, I accepted a new role in the Architecture, Graphics, and Software organization at Intel. My new role allowed me to dip my hands in Infrastructure Engineering and DevOps which has been quite a crazy ride given the evolution of this space. All these experiences made me realize the value of a strong support network, mentorship, and most importantly, the difference between a job and a career.
This year, I frequently took respite in reading and found it to be a very relaxing activity. My reading material comprised of fiction, non-fiction and technical stuff. Moreover, I read quite a lot of blog posts this year and I am always looking forward to more folks in tech take up writing and share their learnings. Currently, I am halfway through the ‘Designing Data-Intensive Applications’ book and find it very detailed for someone looking to understand the intricate details of distributed systems at scale.
Wellness (physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental) has been front and center this year for me. Prioritizing it all and making time for exercising, nutrition and meditation has allowed me to maintain my sanity. I scaled back when needed and kept my streaks going for the most part.
That’s almost about it.
I take a deep breath and smile knowing that in 2020, I along with countless others fought their very worst rising to be their very best!!!