That’s a wrap for 2020

Wow. 2020 has been a journey. My first thought, strangely, is that I don’t truly understand. Let me explain. If you turn on the news, you’ll hear about doom, misery and tragedy. But, for me, I’ve had an awesome, albeit unusual year. In 2020 I survived a global pandemic while my entire family stayed healthy, I graduated University with the highest distinction, I helped people that I care about, I landed one of the best jobs in my city, and I met my amazing girlfriend. Maybe I’ve just used up my luck for the next decade. The amount of suffering in the world has truly reached new levels. 2020 will be remembered for the rest of my life.


My mother isn’t easily excited. She isn’t materialistic. She doesn’t care for a big house, a fancy car, or designed clothes. But one thing that she has been anticipating for decades is for me and my brother to graduate and get “real jobs.” Indeed, my brother and I both graduated this year. My brother now has a degree in mechanical engineering and is working towards his P. Eng, while I can now call myself a computer scientist.

The sheer extent of what she’s had to endure over the past ten years is incomprehensible.

It’s a shame that neither of us had a formal graduation ceremony. Our graduation ceremonies would have been more meaningful than any celebration we’ve ever had. We were going to celebrate our graduation and then have an extended vacation in Korea. We had our plane tickets and everything. Fuck Covid. I’ve got vacation days in the bank, and we’re still hoping to make that trip happen. 🤞

Growing up

Being the sole engineer at a start-up with a multi-million-dollar valuation forces you to grow up a bit. When investors are booked for a demo a week from today, and nobody can make it happen except for you, you have no choice but excellence. Putting that much pressure on an individual is a sure-fire way to sharpen them up. And I’ve learned so many lessons from this experience. Some are obvious, but a lot aren’t. One obvious lesson is that you should wake up and stay healthy to maintain peak performance. But a less obvious lesson that I learned was not to hire your friends. When the project is enormous enough that you need to hire help, you should hire to actually help–not just the top people on your LinkedIn that took one programming course. I hired 7 engineers and fired 6.

New Tech

This is a tech blog, after all. I’ve learned a fair bit of new tech this year. I’ll write about two.


I almost didn’t talk about React because of how long this year has felt. February feels like five years ago, but that’s when I dove deep into react.js. I’ve worked on react projects prior to this year, but this is the year that I was forced to hone my react knowledge. Indeed, when I took on the responsibilities that I did at VendorPM, I was absolutely required to know everything. I had nobody to rely on. If something needed to be built, there was nobody but me. This forced me, once again, to be an extremely quick learner, and I’m grateful for that. Even today, my react knowledge serves me well.


Starting my first job at a large company has taught me the importance of testing. Both unit tests and functional tests are absolutely necessary when you’re working on a project with hundreds of contributors. With a large codebase and many engineers, there’s simply too much room for human error to not have testing tightly integrated in the pipeline. I’m thankful that I’ve become proficient with JavaScript unit tests and Cypress end-to-end functional tests. Their value cannot be overstated.

Working at Home

Working from home is good and bad. It’s great because your commute is reduced to zero and your expenses are drastically reduced. It’s awful because I’ve never met any of my amazing coworkers in person. It’s terrible because communication is far more difficult in a remote environment and it breaks down easily. But it’s incredible because it completely erases restrictions on who you’re able to collaborate with. I would advise one to pick their poison, except that in 2020, it’s been decided for you.

Happy New Year

Thanks for reading my blog. 2020 was rough, yet great. Here’s to a very, very different 2021.