2022 Year in a Review

Work

I continue working @ MOIA where I’ve the opportunity to continue working as part of the Platform Engineering team. Earlier this year, we underwent a team split and formed both an Infrastructure and Developer Experience team. As someone who has done a lot of infrastructure work in the past, I’ve really enjoyed the chance to switch my focus more towards Software Development and Engineering while not loosing focus on infrastructure-related technologies. I’m now part of the Developer Experience team, and it’s been a great learning experience so far.

One of the biggest things I’ve taken away from this role is the importance of engaging with other developer teams to identify their pain points. It’s not always easy to understand what other teams are going through, but by actively seeking out for feedback and engaging in discussions, we’ve been able to make real progress in improving the developer experience at MOIA. One specific initiative that I’m particularly proud of is the introduction of a new interview process which we conduct with development teams @ MOIA. DevEx is still a young team within MOIA, and we’re always looking for ways to improve and grow. The interview process has been a great success so far, and I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to continue refining and expanding upon it in the coming year.

In addition to my work on the Developer Experience team, I’ve also had the opportunity to learn a lot about tooling and automation. We recently implemented a Github webhook receiver and dispatcher server in Go, which has been a great way to automate tasks and streamline processes for our developer teams. It’s been a learning curve, but I’ve enjoyed diving into the details of Github’s webhook API and understanding what developers care about when starting new projects from scratch. Our team also increased developers’ trust by adding fault tolerance and observability to our shared infrastructure services, which has helped improve the reliability and performance of our systems. Overall, it’s been a really rewarding experience to work on these projects and contribute to the development of our team’s tools and processes.

Finally, I’ve also had the chance to take on more responsibility lately as our product owner switched jobs. It’s been an interesting experience to share that responsibility across the whole team, and I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to keep a project moving forward without a dedicated product owner role. Overall, it’s been a challenging but rewarding months, and I’m excited to see what the future holds for the Developer Experience team at MOIA.

Public speaking

I started getting back into public speaking after the pandemic and I’ve had a few great opportunities to share my knowledge and experience with others.

One of the highlights was being invited to talk about “Code Generation” in Go (Slides) at the Google Developer Group Meetup in Hamburg. It was my first time doing public speaking in person again after the pandemic months, and it was a great opportunity to share what I’ve learned about how to integrate code generation into my developer workflow and use it for future projects.

Another highlight was giving a workshop (Slides) at DevFest 2022 in Hamburg about Go. As someone who loves programming in Go, it was so much fun to talk about my favorite language with others, from experienced software developers to students. It was also great to finally see so many people working in tech in Hamburg in person again, after so many months of virtual meetings.

Finally, I was also invited by Prof Dr. Stefan Sarstedt to join my former Software Engineering masters course at the University of Hamburg again and talk about Architecture Decision Records and how we use them at MOIA. It was a great opportunity to share my experiences from my company with the students and have some awesome discussions about how to make design changes in software visible to contributors. Overall, it’s been a really rewarding experience getting back into public speaking, and I’m looking forward to more opportunities in the future.

I really want to continue visiting conferences and meetups in person next year.

Learnings & Books

I’m excited to share that I’ve finally made the switch to all-in Vim! It’s something that I’ve been wanting to do for a while, but I never quite had the courage to take the plunge. A coworker recommended the book “Practical Vim” to me when I first joined my current company, and I’ve been slowly incorporating Vim techniques into my workflow ever since.

But it wasn’t until recently that I finally decided to make the full switch. And I have to say, I’m really feeling the benefits. My productivity has increased significantly, and I’m loving the freedom that Vim’s shortcuts give me. It’s such a great feeling to be able to use the same commands and techniques throughout all my daily workflows, and I’m really happy that I made the switch.

I’ve also been doing a lot of reading this year, and I wanted to share a list of work-related books that I’ve finished and can recommend. These include “Software Engineering at Google” curated by Titus Winters, Tom Manshreck and Hyrum Wright; “The Unicorn Project” and the “The DevOps Handbook” by Gene Kim; and “The Staff Engineer’s Path” by Tanya Reilly. All of these have been really valuable resources for me, and I highly recommend them to anyone looking to improve their skills and knowledge in the tech industry. I have not finished “Crafting Interpreters” by Robert Nystrom yet.

books 02

Life

Life outside of work hasn’t changed much for me lately. While the coronavirus pandemic is still very much a reality, it feels like fewer and fewer people are taking it seriously. I’m trying to be careful and follow guidelines to protect myself and others, but it can be frustrating to see so many people ignoring the risks.

One thing that’s been particularly worrying me lately is the ongoing war in Ukraine. It’s sad to think that we’re living in a century where conflicts like this are still happening, and it’s hard not to feel a sense of despair everyday when I see the news.

Valencia

In May I had the chance to visit Valencia for the first time in my life, and it was an amazing experience. I’ve been to Barcelona before, so I was really curious to see what Valencia would be like in comparison.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have too much time for sightseeing, but I really enjoyed exploring the city centre and trying the delicious local food. I love cities by the ocean, especially since I’m from Hamburg and I’m used to less-than-ideal weather. Valencia in the summer was a treat, and I really appreciated the chance to soak up some sunshine.

There are so many things to do in Valencia as a tourist. One must-see attraction is the City of Arts and Sciences, which is a futuristic complex that houses a planetarium, an IMAX cinema, an oceanographic park, and more. Another great option is to visit the historic center of Valencia, where you can see the Gothic Valencia Cathedral, the Central Market, and the Colón Market. And of course, no trip to Valencia would be complete without trying some of the city’s famous paella!

One thing that really impressed me about Valencia was the public transport system. The tram was especially convenient and efficient, and I found myself wishing that we had something similar in Hamburg. It’s definitely something to consider as we look for ways to improve transportation in the city.

Finally, I also realized while I was in Valencia that I wish I had taken a Spanish course in school. It’s never too late to learn, of course, and I’m already thinking about ways to pick up a few basic phrases in the future. All in all, it was a fantastic trip and I can’t wait to visit Valencia again someday.

Valencia 02

Valencia 01

Tallinn & Helsinki

In September I had the chance to visit Tallinn for the first time, and I absolutely loved it. I’ve been wanting to go there for more than four years, but for various reasons (personal, health, financial, and pandemic-related) it just never seemed to be possible. So I was thrilled when I finally had the opportunity to visit this amazing city.

The historic city centre is a must-see. It’s such a unique blend of medieval history and modern infrastructure, and it’s really unlike anything I’ve seen before. I was also really impressed by the number of startups and great cafes that I saw while I was there. The city has a very young, vibrant energy, and it definitely has some Berlin vibes. The food is also amazing, and there are some really nice pubs where you can grab a beer.

One thing that really stood out to me about Tallinn was the public transport system. It’s a dream come true, with live updates in Google Maps, digital ticketing, and easy navigation. I really wish we had something like this in Germany and the rest of Europe. It would make travel so much easier and more convenient.

For two days, I also took the ferry from Tallinn to Helsinki and visited Finland’s capital city. It was a great opportunity to see another part of the region, and I really enjoyed exploring Helsinki as well. Overall, it was an amazing trip, and I’m already looking forward to the next time I can visit Tallinn.

Valencia 01

Valencia 01

Munich

I visited my cousin in Munich this year again and it was a great trip. One of the highlights of the trip was going to the Octoberfest for the first time in my life, even though I’m from Germany. It was a really unique experience, and now I can say that I’ve been there once. However, I don’t think I’d recommend going if you’re not into drinking beer – it’s definitely a big part of the festival.

Despite that, I really love Munich. It’s such a beautiful city, with so much history and culture to discover. There’s always something new to see and do, and I always have a great time when I visit. It’s one of my favorite cities in Germany, and I’m looking forward to the next time I have the chance to go back.

Gaming

Here are a few games I played this year on PS5. All in all, it was an amazing year for gamers with so many great must-play titles. I’m especially looking forward to the release of the PSVR2 headset next year, as it will be my first ever Virtual Reality experience.

Resident Evil Village - The seventh title in the Resident Evil game series, Village was my first horror game in a long time. I really enjoyed it, as the story and atmosphere were both on point. Playing it with the lights off in my room added an extra kick.

Elden Ring - As someone who also played the Dark Souls games on PC, I was looking forward to Elden Ring for a long time, and it did not disappoint. The open world adds a new flavor to the Souls-like series from From Software while retaining the game’s difficulty. It’s definitely my game of the year.

Horizon: Forbidden West - A graphic wonder, Forbidden West was a great experience for me even though I didn’t play the first title and was unfamiliar with Aloy’s previous adventures. The world is vastand there are more things to do than I have free time for, and I still haven’t finished the final quest yet. But it’s definitely one of the most beautiful titles I’ve played this year.

God of War: Ragnarok - The final part of the story of Kratos and Atreus, Ragnarok retains the gameplay of the first title but has so many improvements in all aspects. It also has one of the best video game storylines I’ve seen so far (although nothing beats Final Fantasy 8, in my humble opinion).

HeroQuest (Boardgame) - I played HeroQuest over a few months with some good friends and we had a lot of fun all the way through. It’s a great game to play with a group, and I’m looking forward to playing it again in the future.

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Books

I’m happy to say that I’ve started reading books again after many years of not doing so. It’s been a great experience to get back into the habit of reading, and I’ve already discovered some amazing books that I’ve loved reading this year.

Tomie, Gyo, Uzumaki by Junji Ito - I read Tomie, Gyo, and Uzumaki, three horror manga written by Junji Ito. It was my first time reading Ito’s work, and I was really impressed by the creativity and atmosphere he brings to his stories.

Tomie tells the story of a young woman who has the power to seduce and manipulate those around her, leading to a series of gruesome and unsettling events. Gyo is a horror story about a mysterious, fish-like smell that spreads across Japan, accompanied by strange, insect-like creatures. Uzumaki is a horror story about a small town that is plagued by a curse that takes the form of spiral patterns.

If you’re a fan of horror, I highly recommend giving these books a read. Ito’s storytelling is captivating and his artwork is truly disturbing, and I think anyone who enjoys horror will find something to love in these books. They’re definitely not for the faint of heart, but if you’re up for a creepy and unsettling reading experience, you won’t be disappointed.

1984 by George Orwell - I finally read 1984 by George Orwell. It’s a book that I’ve been wanting to read for a long time, and I’m glad that I finally had the opportunity to dive in. For those who haven’t read it, 1984 is a dystopian novel set in a society where the government has complete control over the lives of its citizens. Through the story of protagonist Winston Smith, Orwell explores themes of government surveillance, censorship, and propaganda, and how these can be used to control and manipulate the population.

As I was reading, I couldn’t help but think about the ways in which our own governments and institutions use similar tactics to control and manipulate the public. It’s a sobering reminder of the importance of staying vigilant and questioning the messages we’re fed by those in power.

Conclusion

I wish I can do more painting next year and travel outside of Europe.

Fuck war.