I appreciate and love the annual tradition of writing a year-in-review post primarily for two reasons-

  • Taking an inventory of how things went over the year
  • It serves as a handy guide throughout the coming year to anchor the decision-making and stay aligned on the areas of focus

If I had to sum up my 2022 in a few words, it is this- A hazy upward spiral of growth. :loop:

Key highlights from the year

  • Career Moves: I closed out a chapter at Intel and started a new role as a Security Engineer at Datadog. This opportunity has been one that presents an environment and culture of growth, support, and learning.

  • Time with family and friends: Throughout this year, I spent quality and quantity time with my family, my pupper and close friends. The warmth and love of these moments have boosted my well-being significantly.

  • Creative projects: I had several creative projects this year. I created three episodes on that covered ideas from the book Algorithms to Live By: ‘Learning from algorithms and distributed systems’, ‘Scheduling Algorithms’, ‘Let it Slide’. I started The Weekly Sync newsletter on substack. Working on this idea has been pure joy - from brainstorming the idea/concept, designing a logo, writing outlines, shipping the work, getting feedback from readers, maintaining a backlog of topics, and everything in between. :sparkles:

I’m happy with the outputs from the efforts so far and gaining more understanding of my behavior patterns towards creativity.

2022 Focus Area Recap

Health and wellness

This year my understanding of health and wellness evolved. A lot of action on this front initaties from a ‘because I do x I can’ mindset instead of a ‘if I don’t do x then’ one. My methods of gauging progress realistically and practically have improved. For example: Is a brisk walk, a flight of stairs, or an uphill climb leaving me out of breath?

Another realization has been that consistency is a primo factor and bouncing back matters because the longer you stay off the track, the harder it gets to restart. Also, the importance of rest, relaxation, and recovery for overall health and well-being is more evident.

Improve my communication skills- writing, speaking, listening, and reading

The overarching area of focus in this bucket was the art and craft of writing. I wrote 12 articles this year (4 on my blog and 8 on weekly sync) As for speaking, at work, I had fun opportunities to speak on:

  • Role of communication in Engineering culture (A presentation)
  • Security Design Reviews (Training Workshop)

I read a good amount this year. I reviewed ~ 75 articles for the LeadDev publication for ~ 6 months. My intention was to provide feedback as an individual contributor perspective to the outlines and ideas. I’m happy to help advance the industry along topical themes of the team, tech, process, and career.


My bi-weekly tech learning circle has been such a rewarding experience. There were some great times of excellent conversations with peers from the industry that I met via LinkedIn, Twitter or in-person during a conference.

I attended the LeadDev SF and the OWASP AppSec Global USA Conferences in person and wrote about this experience in my newsletter edition titled ‘Sharing growth stories’

Learn and Teach

It is my third year as a mentor to undergrad/ grad students at my alma mater San Jose State (2 mentees each season). I learn a lot from my mentees and gain a renewed perspective towards my past experiences of navigating similar situations and challenges. I’ll write more about this soon.

2023 Focus Areas

All of the focus areas I set for 2022 seem like the ones that are more multi-year apt. For 2023, I will keep these as the same objectives and define what key results would look like.

Put health and wellness first

Consistently stick to the realistic and efficient framework/ methods that work for me.

Measure progress regularly using the right indicators- mood, focus, energy levels, etc.

Improve my communication skills- writing, speaking, listening, and reading

I am absolutely in love with the security engineering domain and its challenges. In 2023, my focus is on Security Design expertise, writing deep-dive articles on topics, and looking for potential industry-level contributions. For the weekly sync, I want to continue writing about meta topics that interest me.

The most important one is sticking to a system of working on creative side projects with a well-defined definition of done to avoid my classic analysis paralysis status.


At some point during the year, I am thinking of an attempt to form learning circles and creating a self-serve toolkit around this concept for others to use.

Celebrate every win, no matter how small

Not just to celebrate my wins but to get better at celebrating the wins of others around me.

Learn and Teach

I will be sharing my learnings broadly and frequently.

Explore the idea to formally teach, maybe in a self-serve manner.

:heavy_check_mark: :heavy_check_mark: :heavy_check_mark:

2022 was one that I lived with the mantra of ‘We are the mapmakers and the travelers’. :sparkles:

I am confident entering 2023 with the quote by Lao Tzu as my mantra- ‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’ :star2: :star2: