We all know how 2020 has been like, so I won’t spend much time talking about it. I am grateful I am healthy and so is everybody around me. Instead, I am going to write about the things I have learned, discovered, and enjoyed this year.

Professionally, this was a good year for me. During the first half of the year, I contributed to interesting projects. I then got a promotion and moved teams. I am now part of the Database Connection Management team, and our responsibility is to ensure that the DB connections are reliable and can scale. Joining the team was a great opportunity to learn more about distributed systems, MySQL, and tons of other interesting concepts. The book Release It! is a good introduction to some of those concepts, such as load shedding, dealing with flakiness, etc.

Talking about books, I started the year reading a comic that became one of my favourites ever: The Incal. I also (finally!) read Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid, and I discovered this MIT course about the book that I highly recommend doing while reading it. I also discovered the beautiful books from Stripe Press, and it has been difficult to not get them all. I did get “The Art of Doing Science and Engineering”, and what a great acquisition.

I also became fascinated by the intersection between Science, Mathematics, and Computing. Quanta Magazine has been a wonderful resource to learn more about all the ways these three fields are connected. I also tried to refresh some of my math background with the videos of 3Blue1Brown, which became my favourite YouTube channel by far. I watched the entire “Essence of Calculus” series, and I wish I had had these videos available when I was at High School and University. Thanks to following this videos, I discovered the “Introduction to Computational Thinking” course, and this is one of the best resources to understand computation I’ve ever seen.

More in the Software Engineering side, I discovered Hillel Wayne’s blog and newsletter, and it inspired me to learn more about verification and formal methods.

I hope 2021 will be full of possibilities and new experiences.

Please, wear a mask.

Alejandro 👾.