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My Year of 2023 - 2 steps forward, one step back

January 03, 2024 . 5 min read -


2023 started off well for me. I forced myself to go to our office meetup (1st to 7th Jan 2023) in Bangalore (social anxiety , yay!) and gave an internal talk on “Backend Development” to 30+ devs in my org division(My manager pushed me). I loved meeting my collegues. I also presented and talked about the projects I worked on in the last 2 years at the company. It was a big deal for me, because I have intense stage fright and anxiety about speaking in front of people and I avoid it if I can. I realized that, to get over it, I just need to do it more of it. Simple.


  1. Led a project end to end for the first time with a team of 4 devs. I led the backend and other than creating the technical architecture and high-level/low-level backend designs, was also responsible for managing the project (roadmap, timelines, sprints, ownership of deadlines, quality of builds, deliverables, improvements to the product etc). Made many many mistakes, specially when it came to communication across cross-functional teams (Data Science and Data Engineering) and learnt from them. Learnt to get over my intense dislike of following up on people or asking for status updates or pushing people to deliver things. Or even taking the lead or being more assertive. It was extremely exhausting and I hated it most of the time, I wanted to go back into my shell and hide in the safety of invisibility, but looking back I realize how important it was for me, and I should do it more.
  2. I have also been working on two more projects in the last few months ( For a major Beverages Company and a well known Management Consulting Company(ongoing)) and did a little bit of Product along with my technical responsibilities, I was more client facing, creating BRDs (Business Requirement Document) and doing client calls, doing product research etc. I got a lot of critical feedback from my manager on this, sort of failed spectacularly at time management and communication and got burned out in the end.
  3. Attended PyCon on behalf of my company and it inspired me to want to improve my speaking skills, have formed a small group of folks and we are going to work on our speaking skills together this year and help each other improve by providing feedback, critical analysis and sharing resources among ourselves that could help us.
  4. Other than the projects I was leading, I have also participated in the interview process at my company for the first time in my career this year, I have taken 5 Design and Architecture interviews and 3 Coding round interviews till now, for TL (Team Lead) and EM(Engineering Manager) roles. Also onboarded one Team Lead ( who I helped hire) for one of my projects recently. I was scared to take the first interview, but after that I have been thoroughly enjoying learning about what the candidates had worked on in their companies, their stories, understanding and evaluating their thought process and how they solve problems. It’s fascinating and insightful and extremely fun. Having been an interviewer now I no longer see interviews as scary but a fun process of learning things I didn’t know before.
  5. I have also participated in freshers training at my company for the first time, reviewing and rating their work, mentoring and helping create roadmaps for upskilling engineers on backend technologies.

Side projects

  1. I worked on a small todo app at the start of the year - https://github.com/debamitra/todo-app/tree/brainydo-dev
  2. I started working on a platform for helping folks learn AI. Didn’t continue after a few weeks. Hope to pick it back up sometime in future. https://github.com/debamitra/ailearninglinks
  3. Started an AI Study group with a few folks with similar goals. We met up online for a few weeks and made some progress with learning math (Linear algebra basics). Didn’t progress beyond that as we got busy with other things but would love to get back to studying AI fundamentals again sometime, I specially wanted to work through this course by David Malan on AI - https://cs50.harvard.edu/ai/2024/
  4. Worked on the codebase for three months from August to October on a project called Plexbox ( https://plexbox.app/) with a small team of devs. This project is the brainchild of and led by Kapil Dutta. Plexbox currently allows a user to build web pages quickly and easily using a simple click action and a dropdown to create in-position html components like headers, images, buttons etc. This was my first experience with a proper collaborative side-project that had long term clarity and vision and was super exciting to work on, from scratch. Had various kinds of learnings from it. Really struggled with mental models related to web development specially UI, programming in general and identified a lot of areas I would do well to focus on to improve.


I generally do not retrospect on the past and have this idea that I am still stuck(in a rut), but I realized, I may be slow but I am moving. Every action I take, adds to my experience of life and every action I run away from, subtracts from it.

This year, I will objectively evaluate every opportunity for growth and change that presents itself to me and execute it to the best of my ability regardless of how scared I am or how much I may fail at it or how tedious it feels. I want to be a better speaker and better leader at work. Personally, I want to improve my tech skills and share my learnings in a simple way in the form of blog posts(with cute like doodles sprinkled around because I like to draw) etc to create value for others.

Okay, here are some specific things I started in December and are ongoing -

I wanted to do the TeachYourselfCS (https://teachyourselfcs.com/) course ever since I came to know about it. I never studied properly in college and what I knew, I have forgotten since it was more than 15 years ago. I want to use the current tools available like GPT and all the online resources to learn and work on things in a way that wasn’t possible before. So that I can do deep dives in things and understand how they work or don’t work at the lowest levels. Build better mental models.

Operating Systems and the NAND to Tetris course/ Computer System Architecture -

  • Going through my old college textbook on OS - Operating System Concepts, by Abraham Silberschatz
  • Going through Ben Eaters 8-bit computer series - https://eater.net/8bit/. I wish I could build it as well, but the kit is very costly.
  • Reading about microprocessors, instruction sets etc from my college textbook - Morris Mano’s Computer System Architecture
  • Went through this resource to learn about the python interpreter and few YouTube tutorials on python internals - https://aosabook.org/en/500L/a-python-interpreter-written-in-python.html
  • I started the adventofcode but didn’t do more than 3-4 problems sadly. I would like to finish it. https://github.com/debamitra/adventofcode

Thanks to Ramana for his encouragement and his blog post on the same topic which pushed me into writing and posting this. Here is his year in review post:

Some more year in reviews you may like to read :

I can be reached at debamitra.mukherjee@gmail.com , or connect with me on twitter

Thanks for reading

Written by Debamitra Mukherjee (Hyderabad,India) who likes to learn and build things. |