Categories
Life

Why I think 2019 was the best year of my adult life

Summing up everything (major incidents) that happened with me in 2019.

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.

Good design is not picking colors and making it pretty. Good design is removing steps, understanding motivations, making it clearer, more navigable, faster, easier.

It is how it works not how it looks.

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.

Fun fact: Did you know some of my UX suggestions were directly incorporated into Microsoft Windows 10?

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.

Sixteen One AIUB Rag
I do not know how I spend my undergrad life so quickly. Here’s a photo of our Rag Day.

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.

I should be able to say ‘I tried my best’ when I am leaving university.

Me, 4 years earlier

After 4 years, I can proudly say,

I tried my best.


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.

  1. Laravel
  2. NodeJS
  3. OpenGL
  4. Adobe XD & Sketch
  5. Basic working knowledge with Arduino Uno
  6. Basic working knowledge with Raspberry Pi
  7. 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
  • HCI
  • Personal Growth (Mindset)
  • Communication
  • Reporting
  • Writing Detailed Documentation
  • Completing On-Demand Responsibilities
  • Content Distribution (via social media, email)
  • Copywriting
  • Public Speaking
  • Basic Project Management
  • Leadership

I want to elaborate a couple of them to signify their importance on me in 2019.

Communication

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,

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

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.

For me, life related skills like better communication and leadership are more important than learning a new language.


Joining WordCamp Pokhara 2019 as a speaker

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.

Cutting down smartphone usage has helped me a lot to regain my focus & improved my attention span.

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 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?

Like always, I love living life to the fullest. You can only live once.

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.

👋

By Saif Hassan

Saif Hassan is widely known as saiftheboss7 in online communities. He loves to brainstorm on topics including PHP, theme customization & WordPress. A pro PC guy. working in Web Design, SEO & Google Adsense. Passionate about Blogging, WordPress, Google, SEO, Gadgets, Macs, Smart Phone, Android and helping others. Other interests and post topics include Photography, Psychology, Literacy, Science, Bengali and Life. :-) Loves to write about Microsoft, Apple & Google.

Loved the article? Why not let me know too?