2020: The year in review

Hi, I’m Son (ソン), a software engineer @ Money Forward.

Photo by Braden Collum on Unsplash

In my note for Money Forward Advent Calendar 2020, I want to look back at what I have done in 2020.

1. Microservice Team

To continue the journey from last year, I spent my first haft of the year in Microservice Team to develop and operate the internal microservices. My service that I responsible for was finally released on production and used by many MoneyForward Cloud Services.

Working with my team provided me a chance to use a wide range of modern tools namely K8S, ArgoCD, Grafana, Prometheus for metrics/alerting, Loki for logging. Even though I still didn't fully understand all of the technologies that I have used but the practice of operating K8S cluster and using the monitoring tool has broadened my horizon about the system in the overview.

Around this time, Tokyo was locked down and I started working from home which saves a lot of commute time. Therefore, this is also a good opportunity to review my Cloud Computing knowledge by taking the AWS Solution Architect and AWS Developer exams and luckily I passed both. This fundamental understanding of Cloud System, in my opinion, would be of paramount importance for a career as a software engineer.

For 2021, I have my aim for AWS Professional SA and AWS Database Specialist. (If I have time)

2. An engineering visualization tool

Aside from developing internal microservices, I also developed an internal tool to visualize engineering metrics. The detail about this project has been shared here

To be told, I love engineering/technologies in general and when our CTO wants to develop that tool, I have volunteered to join the project. Many people think creating internal tools is simple and costly because it is possible to buy external tools. But sometimes the external tool does not meet our needs. Also, deploying and testing new technologies in production is difficult and risky. So internal tools can be considered as a tech playground, especially for young engineers to test new technologies. This is the spirit of Technology Driven.

In addition, this project is the first time that I had a chance to be a mentor for two interns. I was quite worried when I took this job and honestly I think I didn’t do it very well as a mentor. I would do code reviewing, pair programming with them as a form of training. However, due to my poor Japanese ability, I couldn’t explain thoroughly to the interns. Instead, I sent them tech articles and hoped they can read and understand by themselves so most of their learning is through their self-studying. In the end, we successfully built the product from scratch with new technologies and I hope my mentees have grown from this project.

3. Establish a new service

Same as many other engineers, I always want to directly deliver value to end-user by the lines of code I wrote. Fortunately, I got an offer to join Startup Studio in CEO Office to establish a new B2B service.

As the first engineer on board, I spent the last three months of 2020 to build the prototype, pick the tech stacks, and design the first version of production-ready architecture.

3 years ago, when I was a student, I created some online programming courses on Udemy to teach people how to make an Android application, API server. I still remember the first person who paid $10 for my course come from Canada. This made me realize that people are willing to pay if they can see the potential value they receive. I will bring that spirit to this project: Delivering value!

For now, PoC (proof of concept) was already done. We are working hard on the Beta version and try to ship it as soon as possible.

Another reason that I joined this project that there is a primary difference between working on 0-1 product and 1–100 product. Working on 0–1 product will give you a chance to use a wide range of technologies while 1–100 helps you dive deep into a specific technique or technology. I believe for young engineers like me, we should go wide before going deep. In addition, besides improving technical skills, through this project, I can develop other business-related skills such as marketing, sale..etc

4. 2020

2020 has been a tough year for everyone, and so am I. Because of the Corona virus, I couldn’t meet family for a whole year, my job and career were getting stuck . There were some moments when I wanted to give up everything to come back to Vietnam or change my current environment. However, by the end of the year, things are getting better. My wife finally came to Japan and I’m building a new product with my friends. A good run-up for 2021!

アドベントカレンダー23日目は、Yuki Hayakawaさんです!お楽しみに!

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