December 31, 2019 · ~5 minutes
Hey friends! This is the time of the year where I look back at these last 12 months. It’s a bit long and is more of an introspection, so feel free to skip to what you want to read.
- Things I’ve done
- Things I’ve learnt
- Things I’d like to do
Things I’ve done
✨ February 10th. After long overdue, I took some time to redesign this website, with a softer palette and design. I went with large typography, white and pastel rose and a rather minimalistic approach. 10 months in, I still like it very much so I guess it was a success.
🔏 February 18th. After 1.5 year of working relentlessly with the security engineers at N26, I got to publish one of the company’s most comprehensive technical articles about web security at N26. A lot of work went into it, and I’m still very proud of this write-up.
🇳🇱 March 21st. In an attempt at understanding my partner’s culture and family better, I started learning Dutch on Duolingo on a daily basis. I can now read menus, signs and simple texts, and get to ask small things without struggling too much. Learning a new language is difficult, but I’m slowly getting there.
🏃♀️ August. I tried my hand (or rather, foot?) at running. I managed to run a few kilometers every weekend for a couple of months, until I stopped late October. I kind of liked it and might get back to it next year.
🇦🇹 August 9th. I have been to Vienna for the very first time for a get-away weekend. I got the great opportunity to attend a live and intimate piano performance, making for a lovely memory. All in all, I haven’t been disappointed and am looking forward to going back.
👩💻 September 1st. This day marked 3 years of me working for N26, the longest I have been in a company so far. I’ve achieved a lot, and am looking forward to keep making digital banking good and accessible to y’all.
🐟 November 15th. After a year to the day without eating meat, I stopped eating fish as well. That’s it, I am now vegetarian!
📦 December 11th. I moved into a bigger and nicer flat with my partner and our 3 cats and although it has been a stressful few weeks, it’s very nice to get to start fresh somewhere new.
🎄 December 25th. I was in Delft (Netherlands) with my partner to celebrate their birthday and Christmas alongside their family — now marking my 3rd visit to this city, which I like very much for all the food and drinks I get to have there.
On the work side
We expanded our team from 9 to 25 web engineers, now in 4 different countries, still all working on a unique code base. We have yet to solve all communication challenges that arise with a cross-office working environment, but I am confident we are on a good track for that.
I kept pushing for more accessibility and diversity in the work place, organising the Accessibility Championship Program with my incredible coworker Mariia Punda. We are raising awareness about accessibility issues across teams in order to hopefully make N26 a front-runner for accessible banking.
I also invested quite some time into our deployment pipeline, namely Jenkins, in order to improve our efficiency and reliability. It’s an area I have been notoriously bad at, yet it was very interesting and enjoyable having to navigate the complexity of the matter.
Another ongoing personal achievement of my work at N26 is the documentation we have for our web platform — about which I’ve tweeted a few times. It is about 60,000 words (or the equivalent of a ~200 pages book) divided in 50+ chapters, published with Gitbook on internal servers for the entire company to have access to it.
On the personal side
Following 2018, I spent 2019 feeling less and less guilty about not hustling all the time. I spent less time writing, less time coding, less time on side projects, less time on open-source software. It took me years to get to a point where I feel like time spent doing something else than banking on my career is time well spent as well. I have the feeling 2020 is going to be similar.
Things I’ve learnt
🌱 Over the last two years, I decided to try being more healthy in general, especially when it comes to food. I stopped eating meat and fish (although reasons are mostly environmental), as well as candy and soda, and reduced my consumption of refined sugars, caffein and, to a lesser extent, alcohol. As a result, I have been feeling more healthy and less self-conscious.
🤯 Early in the year, it occurred to me that the less comfortable I am with a technical topic, the more I tend to use overly complicated words when explaining it in order to convince myself I’m familiar with it. It took some conscious effort, but I feel like I got way better at admitting I don’t know things, or that I don’t know enough to explain them.
Things I’d like to do
I know it’s a bit out of scope for a yearly retrospective, but I think it’s worth mentioning what I would like to focus on for next year. If only for me.
👩🍳 In 2020, I would like to brew my own beer and make my own cheese, at least once, to know how it works and whether I like it or not. Along the same line, I hope I will keep cooking more and more as I have been doing this year.
💧 I need to drink more water. I’m not drinking enough water, and I still haven’t found a reminder that works for me. I tried a few apps, but they all got in the way somehow.
I think that’s it for this year, folks. I hope you had it good yourself, and are ready for the new year!