Year in review 2018

Another year is over. Life moves fast, so it’s very important to stop for a moment and look at the past. For my wife and me, it’s already the tradition to sit together ☕, during one of the last days of the year, to sum it up.

Here, I’m sharing some of the key things that appeared on my list.

Professional

My professional career is split into three main areas: mobile-first software engineering, leadership, and AI. Admittedly, I haven’t done as much as in previous years in software engineering, and my AI-like projects are far from professional implementations of really intelligent solutions. But I’m still glad of making constant, step-by-step progress in those fields.

Software engineering

  • Contributed actively to Android codebase of the Azimo app,
  • Came back to iOS software development, learned some basics of Swift (I am an old fashion Objective-C coder), Dependency Incjection (check Cleanse, esp. when you have experience with Dagger 2), RxSwift and a little bit of Machine Learning (utilization of pretrained models). I hope to share some lessons from these in 2019. 🙂
  • Built some Python and JavaScript code (automations, CI/CD, cloud functions and basic Machine Learning models). Most of them are working on a production.
  • Contributed to open source projects and took part in Hacktoberfest (got my active-contributor swag! 👕😎)
  • Came back to the stage. I had the privilege to talk about our way of building mobile apps at Azimo, during this year’s Mobiconf and Google DevFest in Coimbra, 🇵🇹 Portugal. I have to admit, it is a big challenge for introvert me to stand in front of such a big audience. But this is also a great way of self-development, grounding the knowledge, meeting amazing people and a lot of fun!

AI

  • Did some basic implementations of NLP/Sentiment Analysis and Voice Interfaces. Recently, I’ve also started working on Computer Vision and ML solutions for mobile, which results and learnings I’m going to share in next months.
  • For me, AI isn’t only about recent implementations of Machine Learning or Deep Learning algorithms. It’s the far broader area I try to understand. What the future holds and how will the humanity look like in next decades, ethical aspects, what people are afraid of and what can be done to make sure that more of us know benefits but also real threats of AI-first world. I’m glad about how much time I spent thinking, discussing and grounding my knowledge and opinions in this field.
  • Thanks to the understanding of ML/DL basics, probabilistic nature of solutions, and technology limitations, I can name myself a conscious user of AI-like implementations. I’m still far from being an expert in creating complex models, but I can validate basic concepts, build working prototypes, explain potential and limitations, and iterate over the code behind it. It’s a great starter for me which I’m going to develop in next years.

Leadership

This one is the hardest to measure, especially when you are self-taught. But I am delighted of how much we have achieved this year as one of the engineering teams at Azimo. We spent a lot of time doing 1:1s and talking about the future, self-development, going out of comfort zone, reaching the unreached. My biggest achievement here? I think I finally started understanding what leadership is about — it is us, not me.

See more: Who is (not) a Tech Leader

Self

  • Despite being busy with self-development and professional career, my wife and I traveled, talked, spent quality time, and laughed a lot. I am sooo lucky having someone to share my life with 💑.
  • Made some progress in my new passion for photoing and video creation on mobile devices. Some of my shots can be found on Instagram (photos and videos) and 500px (photos). 
    Also! Despite mastery in photo/video shooting, I think, I can see beauties of the world around me more often 😍!
  • It is more than two years now I haven’t been drinking alcohol! 🍾 I enjoy my life without any additional boosters, and this is great! I love being the master of my time and my body.
  • Stayed healthy— 10k steps on average in 5/7 days per each week, gym training, running (at least once a week), mountain walking and more.
  • Did genome tests to assess the risk of developing cancer. Supported Warsaw Genomics and their BadamyGeny.pl initiative to make tests cheap and available to everyone.

Did I do good?

  • I supported 5+ charities during entire year, with some percent of my earnings. This isn’t as much as I would like to give from myself, and I hope to invest much more (finances but also something else — skills, experiences) into making good. But still, I am happy that it is significant enough to share it publicly.
  • Despite the money, I shared my knowledge and experience freely, as articles, open source projects, and personal advices. Sometimes it takes me a while to reply, but I do my best to answer all questions coming to my mailbox and any social media platform. I’m more than happy to help so don’t hesitate to reach me with any question you have.
  • It’s four years now when I’ve been working for Azimo, and It’s not a coincidence. Despite having great fun as a tech leader and software engineer, I am very pleased that my knowledge and experience can make a good. It is always very touching to read stories of our users like those.

What a great year it was! Can’t wait to see what 2019 holds! Happy new year!

Author: Mirek Stanek

Head of Mobile Development at Azimo. Artificial Intelligence adept 🤖. I dream big and do the code ✨.

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