2021: A Reflection

December 31, 2021

I wrote a little bit about my year in my last blog post but now that the year is officially ending I wanted to pause for deeper reflection.

So far this year has gone completely differently than I had originally planned but I am very grateful for it. I started this past year writing about 2020 and what I learned, so I thought I would do the same as it closed.

The end of 2019 and 2020 was a very big year for my family, as my wife and I moved to South Dakota, changed jobs, and bought a home. So quite a lot happend in the latest trip around the sun.


I learned a lot this year, as I always try to do. Most of my focus was on software engineering, in part because of my job, and also because of my interests. So here's the list of things I've learned:

  • More Django, JavaScript, and React in general
  • More of the ever-evolving AWS ecosystem (it is both the same and very different than it was back in 2014)
  • React Native, mobile development, and deploying to the App Store (this is an exercise on its own)
  • The programming language Go
  • gRPC (Google Remote Procedure Call)

Learning all of these things was mostly painful but also extremely fun. It takes a lot of patience and tinkering to learn to be effective with programming and I really do enjoy it. I find that I'm happiest most often when tinkering to solve new (at least new to me) computer-related puzzles, so it's been a very enjoyable year for me. In fact, we can see the data in the graph below showing all of the times I committed code:

That's a lot of commits!

A visualization of my daily computering

A fun fact here is that if you compare this to 2020, you'll notice the massive jump in Pull Requests (PRs), which is a fun aside.


I joined Fast last March and it's been an absolutely wild ride, which has been both intellectually fulfilling and exciting, which is a challenging combination to sustain in my experience.

I have to say that of all of the organizations that I have worked for, Fast has been the most fun, which is unexpected since I work from home in South Dakota. By which I mean that I thought that not being in a physical office would have had a bigger influence on my perception of my enjoyment of my job but as it turns out, while I do miss working in an office, the work that I actually do is more important to me than being physically next to people that I'm doing the work with (it's not lost on me that this should be obvious but I'm often surprised how irrational or illogical my brain is about things of this nature). More than anything else, I think it's the people that really do make it great. The people that build the software and services, who are the same people that are kind and fun to work with.

I've learned so much working at an extremely fast (pun intended) growing startup over the last 10 months and I really think it's unlikely I'll ever return to banking after working at an organization that values engineering as much as we do.

I've gotten to the place where I feel confident in saying that I am a full stack engineer, which means I need to figure out what new things I'd like to learn next.

Next Year

In 2022, I hope to tackle a few big areas professionally:

  1. I still have much to learn as a software engineer, so I hope to continue learning from my amazing colleagues
  2. I think we built some really awesome products during my time @ Fast, but there's still so much left so I hope to continue to build and ship impactful products
  3. I want to continue iterating on things I've alreaddy built, specifically on my web and mobile app for Unidos
  4. I hope to start learning more hardware as it's an area I have somewhat limited knowledge but lots of curiousity

Let's hope I make some progress on those in 2022 and don't abandon (4). Overall I'm very grateful for this past year and I feel lucky to have spent it with the best person a guy could ask for.

Wishing you and your loved ones a Happy New Year.