Amit Kumar : Life Is Learning!

Year 2018 Review!

It’s been a while since I wrote my last blog post, more than an year now. This post is basically a summary of what I have been upto personally and professionally in last one year.

Professional Developments

At the start of the year I was working at Powervault, the green tech startup in the Central London. I worked with some very interesting people there, there were only a couple of software guys. I left that by the end of January. The reason for that was, there wasn’t much work for me, it was more of a hardware focused company and there wasn’t much room for me to grow and learn and I wasn’t in particular happy with the direction of company.

In February, I joined The Telegraph, a popular news tech company in Central London. I joined as a Platform Engineer in the Data Platform Team. I was quite excited about my new role as I had never done any sort of Data Engineering. My team at The Telegraph was about 8 people strong and was quite multi cultural. This is where I learnt for the first time, what is a scrum master and what is agile. I left The Telegraph in May 2018, It was a tough decision. I had an amazing time working there. The people were very social and helpful. The reason I left it was due to the fact that work was a bit slow paced as you would expect in any big company. Have been worked in a fast paced environment like Zomato, it was difficult for me to adapt to it as things move very slowly and the learning curve wasn’t anything close to steep. Although I do sometimes think, that I should have given more time there, as I worked there only for 4 months.

I had only two basic expectations for my next job, i.e. interesting and challenging. A friend of mine suggested to start contracting, i.e. to work as a Contract Developer, where you work with various companies on contract basis, primarily because you get to work on a variety of things in multiple domains. The contract is basically between your company (aktech labs) and the company you will be contracting for. This is when a recruiter contacted me for a 7 months contract with a Robotics company in Cambridge. This sounded like an exciting opportunity. I accepted the offer and moved to Cambridge. I worked with Cambridge Medical Robotics for little over 6 months before my contract ended in December. It was probably the most interesting stuff I have ever worked on with some of the smartest people. It was quite a challenging job as the system was extremely complex and huge. I learnt a lot in the last six months.

I wrote some takeaways from my first job at Zomato in my earlier post, Here are a few more of those, which are quite specific to the roles I was in this year.

  • Try to avoid complexity. If it is not trivial, take a step back to what is the bare minimum required by the user rather than nice-to-have or anticipating need, and enumerate simpler solutions with trade-offs before going too deep in implementation. Then a more informed implementation decision can be made (maybe someone else has extra information about what the user needs/doesn’t need)

  • Code comments: I have always been of the opinion that code should be self commenting, but I realised in my last job that sometimes the system is too complex to be self explanatory, in such cases comments are invaluable.

  • If the number of iterations in the code review are increasing over time or you’re getting similar comments, then you’re not learning. Challenge yourself to have minimum required changes when sending for code review, this can be achieved by doing a code review yourself first, and doing it seriously!

What’s Next?

This month (December) I went home (India) for a month to spend time with my family and friends. I will be back after third week in January to start the next contract in London and will be moving back to London in a couple of months.

Personal Life

  • Played lot of cricket for a few clubs last summer. (Practice video)
  • Explored some of England, lived in a different City (Cambridge).
  • Attended University of Cambridge’s formals (Dinner basically).
  • Tried Volunteering for Red Cross (couldn’t got into it though, as the role was in London and I was in Cambridge.)
  • Finally started working on improving my health and posture via Gym and good food.
  • Selected to Volunteer for ICC Cricket World Cup 2019
  • Spoke at Swiss Python Summit
  • Travelled to a few places: Berlin, Munich, Venice, Rome, Zurich, Geneva, Brussels, Bruges, Iceland, Slovenia
  • Drove on the “right hand side” around the south coast of Iceland.
  • Watched English Premier League, Bundesliga and an International football match
  • Watched a lot of Cricket around England
  • Watched Horse Racing! British Champions Day
  • Watched Tennis (ATP Finals), including Roger Federer :wink:
  • Attended and helped organise a few conferences such as PyLondinium and PyData London.