2018 Year In Review

The year is coming to an end. I want to take this opportunity to review what I accomplished this year. I also want to share ups and downs during this year.

January

December 15 2017 was my last day at MD Buyline. I worked there for 2 1/2 years. For a very long time, I tried to convince my wife that I needed to take a couple of months off from work. She never agree with me on taking a sabbatical. This was the perfect opportunity to take time off and spent time with the family. During this month, my wife became very sick with a cold/flu that refused to go away. I was her nurse. She got better one week and the next one she got sick again. Her immune system was very weak and that’s why she couldn’t recover sooner. I took my son to school everyday and had a great time doing it. After coming back from school, I would prepare breakfast and clean the house. Somedays I would go to the park to walk and relax. This month I wrote couple of posts on AWS CodeDeploy, a continuous deployment service.

February

Same story with my wife’s situation. Cold/flu refused to go away. She visited different doctors and nothing seem to cure her. She continued resting and taking her medications. I began to worry about my wife’s situation. She was not getting better. I believe she started getting sick from December 2017. It was a long time to be sick. I’m glad I didn’t have a full-time job during this time. I had the opportunity to take care of my wife and kids. My wife’s aunt lives with us and she was able to help as well. My aunt is an excellent cook so food was not a problem for us. With more time in my hands, I was able to write 2 blog posts and also continue gaining hands on experience with AWS. Last week of February, I updated my resume and was planning to look for a job next month. I also wrote some python code and created the following blog post:

March

My wife was feeling better now. Thank God. I started looking for a job using linkedin, dice, indeed, and my network. I contacted Shawn about any job opening he may know. No response for a couple of days. But I was contacted by Justin, owner of JBHWorks, a call center company based on Lewisville Texas. Justin explained me that Shawn gave him my contact information. After speaking with Justin over the phone, we spoke about technology and software for 30 minutes. The following day we had lunch and both parties agree to work together. I was excited because it was a part-time job working from home. Who likes to deal with traffic?

Before I applied to any jobs my wife told me to get a remote job. She was feeling better but was worried that she might get sick again. If I was a remote worker, I would be able to assist her if needed. Since I’m an obedient husband, I applied to remote only jobs thru linkedin. After securing a part time with Justin, Ryan, owner of TheWarehouseCo, replied to my application. I had a 15 minutes hangout with Ryan and the next week a 1 hour technical interview. We both agreed to work together and started work mid March.

This was my first time working remotely. In other jobs, I was only allowed to work from home 1 day per week. This time it was just me and my mac computer. It took me a couple of weeks to get used to working by myself without human interaction. I really missed those 5 minute coffee break.

How to deal with 2 part-time jobs?

During the mornings, I wrote web forms code for JBHWorks. After lunch, I wrote .net core code for TheWarehouseCo. March 6 was my birthday but didn’t celebrate it because my wife was not fully recovered. Sometimes we have to make sacrifices for the people we love.

I also wrote a blog post on using AWS Python SDK and Simple Queue Service.

April

April is one of my favorites months of the year. Weather is perfect. I took advantage of the weather and took my break from work to go to Kiest park. It was awesome experience to walk and listen to the birds. I continued working for both companies during this time. I learned more about .NET Core, React, Docker, and Twilio.

May

I continued working for both companies. My daughter’s birthday was coming up soon. On a Friday, we were playing outside and she had an accident. The rope broke from her swing and she felt hard on the concrete. She landed on her right cheek. She hugged me and didn’t wanted to let go. Next day we took Abby to see a doctor and the x-ray shows a broken collar bone. We were devastated with these news. Doctor suggested to see an specialist to see if surgery was needed. We went to Medical city and the doctor took new sets of x-rays and same thing, broken collar bone. The doctor explained that no surgery is needed since kids’ bone are growing.

I wrote about a very useful Jenkins plugin to integrate AWS CodeDeploy.

June

We went to see Abby’s doctor again. The new x-rays shows bones growing and coming together. Great news! As far as work is concerned, I was able to integrated 2 CRM providers: ConnectWise and AutoTask. I had a very difficult time with ConnectWise’s upload documents api and after many tries I was able to integrated with JBHWorks’ services. I wrote a post with sample code to help other developers.

July

During this month, both of my contracts ended. I spoke with my wife and decided to take another break from work. Working as a contractor has advantages and disadvantages. One of the advantage is that you can plan how much you want to work. For example, commit to a 3 month contract and then plan to take a month off after your contract ends. I take this time to spend time with the family. My son was on vacation so I take this opportunity to spend time with him. I continued learning more about AWS. In 2017, I took the AWS certified developer associate exam and failed at it. But this time, I have more time to study and prepare for a re-take exam. Created my Azure account and began using different services. I also wrote a blog post titled Azure Resource Group.

August

Purchased all supplies for my kids’ school. My daughter started pre-kinder 4. She cried a little at home for the first 2 weeks. It’s normal, right? Now she is having fun learning at school. My son, Samuel, helped her sister during this time. He encouraged her sister to go to school.

I have only used 2 recruiters in my career: Robert Half and Prestige Staffing. Robert Half assisted me when I move from PrintPlace to TailLight. Prestige helped with my transition from Verizon Cloud to MD Buyline. For this transition, I worked exclusively with Prestige and went to couple of interviews. I was offered a job but Plano was too far of a commute for me. I also didn’t perform well on other interviews.

Once you start writing, it’s difficult to stop. In this month, I wrote 3 blog posts:

September

In addition to working with Prestige, I decided to get more help with my job search. I contacted Robert Half and worked with Ashley. After our initial talk, we agreed on salary expectations and a comfortable commute. She gave me a list with 2 companies: Elevate, and Code America. With Code America, I went thru this process: non-technical phone interview, coding problem thru hackerank, and a final face to face interview. With Elevate, I went thru a similar process: technical phone inteview, and a final face to face interview. During the same week, I received job offers from both companies but at the end I decided to go with Elevate. To force me to learn more about AWS service, I wrote a blog post about Lambda using .NET Core.

In this month I also became AWS certified developer associate. This was my second attempt and I passed with 86 out off 100. In my first attempt, I received a 55 since I wasn’t prepare to take the exam.

October

Now with a full time job, things have changed. I’m no longer able to work wearing my pajamas. I have to get up early and dress up. At work, everyone has been very helpful so far. We use Git, Azure, Visual Studio 2017, Angular, C#. Elevate has chosen Azure for their cloud needs so I decided to learn more about it.

November

I wrote a blog post about failures. Even the cloud providers with their extensive teams, and infrastructure have failed to keep their services running. I think software developers don’t expect enough time designing for failures. What do you think?

 December

For the last few months, I have studied for the AWS certified architect associate exam. I’m using acloud guru, reading AWS white papers, and completing labs. I have my own AWS account so I go thru real life scenarios to gain hands on experience. I’m planning to take the exam next month.

Overall I think 2018 was a great year for me and my family. Happy holidays.