I wanted to write this article back in November, in time for my birthday. However, I got so much sucked into work and other stuff – I couldn’t make time for this. But here we go. I will try to wrap all the major things that have happened to me in 2019. By adult, I meant after 18.
I started 2019 with a silly video
2019 is the year I wanted to get out of my comfort zone. So I jokingly shared one facebook image that said: “If this post gets 5K comments – I will do an ice bucket challenge.”
My average facebook posts get around 20-25 comments at best, I was so sure it’s never gonna happen. But to my sheer surprise – I had my facebook friends waiting to make it happen.
Within one day, the post got more than 5K+. Well, I had to take a crucial decision – do I say “Yes” to the promise I made or do I skip it? I said “F*** it! I am doing it! It doesn’t matter how silly it is!”
I got out of my comfort zone and ended up making the ice bucket challenge video.
I learned HCI from the very best mentor
During my last semester at American International University-Bangladesh – I took a course named “Human-Computer Interaction.”
Frankly, I did not know anything about HCI before enrolling in the course. However, as soon as the course started – I noticed this course is vastly different from any other courses I had done in AIUB.
Little did I know that this course was going to change my entire perspective of computers, user experience, and human psychology. By the end of the course, I learned many different things about how humans perceive computers/other physical objects.
I always had good skills in building a good UX. That doesn’t mean I am a Graphics Designer and I can make pixel perfect good looking UIs.
But, I am a problem solver when it comes to building a seamless user experience. I believe design is not something that just looks nice. Design is more impactful.
By taking the HCI course, I solidified my understanding and it gave me more confidence going forward. By the end of the semester, we made a small project on tangible user interface. Here’s a little video.
My course teacher at AIUB was Khandaker Tabin Hasan. I am really glad that I got his course. He is a great man, and he teaches more than just the syllabus. By the end of the course, I started to take life from a different angle. He completed his Ph.D. on Human-Computer Interaction from the University of Trento.
I finished my Undergrad in 2019
I finished my undergrad at AIUB on Software Engineering. I met some great teachers and made some great friends over the last 4 years at AIUB.
However, I will admit it outright. The academic pressure was very high in AIUB. I barely had time to do anything other than academic study. However, I still managed to contribute my free time to AIUB Computer Club and spent quality time with friends. I also got a pretty good grade point average. Not that it matters, but to inspire others that you can do extracurricular activities and even maintain your grades if you are serious enough.
4 years later, I am more mature than a high school kid. When I was joining the university as a fresher, I had only 1 thing in my mind.
After 4 years, I can proudly say,
I joined at weDevs as a full-time employee
I started doing a part-time job at weDevs from November 2018. I was enrolled full time at my university – I couldn’t give my full time to the company.
Doing a part-time office and being a full-time student – was one of the toughest things I had to manage. Balancing work life and studying at the same time was difficult. Anyone who studies in AIUB already knows about the academic pressure of the institute.
However, I managed it somehow and completed 3 semesters while working at weDevs. I finally completed all my courses in May 2019 and started full time in June 2019.
Fortunately, I met some of the nicest people at weDevs. For example, our CEO Nizam Uddin and CTO Tareq Hasan are some of the nicest and kindest people I have come across. They are actually good human beings. There is enough negativity in the society. At this time, the number of good human beings are very scarce. I feel proud to say that I am in touch with such good human beings.
This article would lose its purpose if I do not mention 3 other key people who have helped me and supported me from the very first day at weDevs. Nazir Ahmed (Head of HR @ weDevs), Mainul Kabir Aion (Head of Content & Marketing @ weDevs), & Rajuan Islam (HR Manager @ weDevs)
I will share a story. During my last semester at AIUB, I was simultaneously working with 4 different projects.
It was very tough for me to find time to go to the office. I remember, I only showed up 3/4 times in a whole month. But they were very supportive at that time. If they hadn’t given me support at that time, I would have had to quit.
When you have that belief that you are in the right hands – things get easier for you. You can focus better, and work seems not only *work*. You get inspiration daily to do better.
New things that I learned in 2019
I learned a few new things this year.
- Adobe XD & Sketch
- Basic working knowledge with Arduino Uno
- Basic working knowledge with Raspberry Pi
- Basic Software Project Management (SCRUM Management)
I always wanted to learn Laravel. Since I was a full-time undergrad student and AIUB has its own curriculum – I couldn’t focus on these topics. However, during the last semester – I took the course “Advanced Topics in Programming” which taught me Laravel and NodeJS. I was very glad to finally learn Laravel and NodeJS. I am not saying, I am a PRO on these two. Nevertheless, I have a full understanding of how the MVC architecture works and how to develop basic CRUD applications using both Laravel and NodeJS. I am thankful to my course teacher Md. Al Amin who taught beautifully.
I did a few projects in 2019.
- I was working with Laravel to make a full-fledged inventory management system, We did!
Here’s the Github URL
- We made a travel booking website using NodeJS.
Here’s the Github URL
- I made an Online Medicine Booking Shop using NodeJS.
Here’s the Github URL
- I was working with Raspberry Pi 3 to make a full-fledged home automation system.
Here’s the Github URL)
- We made a project on Tangible User Interface using Arduino Uno, OpenGL, Python
Here’s the YouTube video
I learnt some new things that I wanted to learn since 2016.
New Skills that I Acquired & Improved Upon
Other than learning new things, I also acquired some new skills. For example, I did not know how a company functions until joining full time. Since I joined full-time, I regularly had to attend the SCRUM meeting (in our case, Standup Meeting).
I was never an early riser. However, finally in this year – I started to sleep early, so I can wake up early in the morning.
I got better with the following skills that I had 1 year ago.
- Time management
- Working under pressure
- Meeting deadlines
- Search Engine Optimization
- UI/UX Design
- Personal Growth (Mindset)
- Writing Detailed Documentation
- Completing On-Demand Responsibilities
- Content Distribution (via social media, email)
- Public Speaking
- Basic Project Management
I want to elaborate a couple of them to signify their importance on me in 2019.
One of the best things I have learned in 2019 is to communicate better. I always thought I had communication skills, but after joining my company. I can proudly say I can communicate better than I did last year. Communication is one of the key factors that help to get work done from others.
A Growth in Leadership Skills
Leadership is something that one cannot learn without doing it in person. I have organized many workshops, national-level events, get-togethers, Iftar Partys & more. It will be a lie to say that I did not have a minimum level of leadership skills.
However, my leadership skills grew further. I got promoted to “Product Manager” at weDevs and had to step up and took more responsibility. Besides, regular product management and office works, I volunteer at AIUB Computer Club, and currently, I am one of the executives of the club.
AIUB Computer Club organized workshops regularly last year and pulled off 1 national event during the last quarter of 2019, “AIUB Cyber Gaming Fest 2019“. My tenure as an Executive at ACC will be expiring soon. However, I am proud that I have helped to build a great Media team over there. They have done a great job covering all the event-related tasks this year.
Here’s some coverage of the event,
- AIUB Cyber Gaming Fest Media Coverage
- Check the Publication category to learn more about the coverage.
I wasn’t even present in the country when the event happened. But I am proud that the team has taken the responsibility to do all Content & Marketing related tasks during the event. The Cyber Gaming Fest event created a lot of buzz in the local community and attracted more than 1000 gamers across the country.
To me, that is a success. Because I have helped to build a team during the last year who are capable enough to do all the things they are required.
To sum up, on leadership, I have learned to make action plans to lead better in 2019.
How I Got Out of Comfortzone by Making a Series of Cricket Videos
One of the best things happened in 2019 is that I got out of my comfort zone while shooting and uploading videos.
I love Cricket. I do think I have a great Cricket brain and I have what it takes to be a great Cricket Strategist. Finally, this year, I made a series of videos on the Cricket World Cup 2019.
I know my videos aren’t that great in quality (I do not have any video editor with me! If you are a video editor and reading this – let me know if you want to volunteer some of your time!) but the content is solid.
Here are a couple of my videos
- I made this video on Jun 1, before even the first match of the World Cup.
- Before the match against New Zealand, I made a separate video.
You can find more videos on Facebook. Just search with the hashtag #CricWithSaif.
More than 80% of my pre-match analysis became true. I am really glad that I got out of my comfort zone on video making this year. I had been planning to do it for years.
I joined 3 WordCamps this year, two of them in 2 different countries within 1 week.
I participated in all of the WordCamps as a speaker.
This is the year I joined my first WordCamp. However, it was also the year I joined 2 different WordCamps in 2 different countries within 1 week. Met a lot of people and made a lot of new friends.
I was very glad that I got the chance to visit Pokhara (Nepal) & Kochi (India) this year. I got an amazing experience while networking with new people beyond the borders. It helped me to think more globally.
I will write more in detail about my experience with WordCamp Kochi and WordCamp Pokhara – but in one word – it was an unforgettable experience.
If you don’t know already, I am a speaker at WordCamp Asia 2020 too. If you are coming to WordCamp Asia, I will be very glad to meet you.
How I Got More Productive by Cutting Down Smartphone Usage
I have been always a gadget freak. I like to stay in the bleeding edge. However, this is the year where I thought about cutting down my smartphone usage.
During Q2 of 2019, I figured out that I have been wasting too much time on a smartphone for no particular reason. Browsing Facebook and watching memes & videos took away a large portion of my time.
I thought about reacting to these. I switched to a basic phone (with no internet connection) and used it for more than 1.5 months. That really helped to increase my attention span and helped to be more focused.
Then, I switched to my iPhone 8 for a month. I sold my iPhone 8 again and lived with a 2013 Moto X (and used as a basic phone almost with no social network) for more than 1 month. Living with a dumb phone has its perks. I could finally read a lot more books that I wanted to read for the past few years. I finally had time to read books!
I read more than 20+ Books in 2019
When I cut down my smartphone usage – I instantly had more time. I started reading books. I have read more than 20+ books in 2019.
I will admit – not all of those books are super productive. I like to read for fun too. I read a lot of sci-fi, thriller books in this period. However, I read 5+ productive books too.
A few of the books are
- The Design of Everyday Things
- Don’t Make Me Think
- 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People
I contributed to nature by going carbon-free for transportation
One of the best investments I made last year was buying an eBike. Not only it’s very economical – it doesn’t leave any carbon footprint.
I have saved almost 0.62 tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2019 by opting for a bicycle.
Quick research told me that I have saved 0.62 toness of carbon dioxide in 2019. It always feels good to give back to mother nature.
The calculation goes like this.
- I travel around 30KM/day by bus/motorcycle. I am using a 125CC motorcycle to compare my carbon dioxide offset.
- If I assume I have worked 200 days during the last year – I have traveled 6000 KM.
- A quick calculation on Carbon Footprint Calculator says that I have saved around 0.62 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
- Here’s the calculation
Also, I have saved a lot of time by using a bicycle. In Dhaka, the average speed of any transportation is around 7KM/hour. By opting for an eBike I have saved almost 300 hours in a year! Ain’t that awesome?
If you want to connect with me, feel free to connect with me on Facebook or Twitter.
I guess this is a nice recap. Thanks for reading.