Tomorrow’s my birthday, and I will be 31..
I wanted to write a post in my last day being 30.. that summarize some of the stuff I achieved/learned during this year.
This year wasn’t easy for me, and I faced many challenges, setbacks, and problems, and as I am growing older, I feel there are more pressure on me, which can be really annoying sometimes, and in many occasions I was feeling really down..
Though I have a clear vision of what I am doing, in addition to persistence and working hard, it is still a bit annoying when you don’t see immediate results or when things doesn’t move as fast as you want, and there’s always the uncertainty that what you are aiming for doesn’t happen as expected or it may not work at all (which is something I am fully aware of.. but unless you try you will never know, and when that happens you will have to adjust), especially that the way I approach life and work is different than many of my peers.. so it is a bit of an uncharted area, but for me it is the lifestyle I want, it matches my personality, and I wasn’t forced to choose this path.. it is just something I like to do!
when we feel down we sometimes underestimate (or doubt) the importance of the things we achieved/learned in our journey, especially the stuff related to ours goals, so I am writing this list for myself, as a reminder of all the positive things that happened, and how far I moved forward even if it isn’t always obvious, and if you are reading this, I am not sure if you will find my post useful to you since it is a personal list, but at least, it may be helpful to encourage you to write your own list to keep track of your progress, especially when you have a relatively long term goal.
so for me I am aware that I am moving forward, but still it is a good idea to collect the positive stuff I’ve done/learned to concretely measure that progress (instead of having the “illusion of progress”) and it is also a good motivation when I am not feeling so well, and that’s what I am doing here.
Of course this isn’t a complete list, and some of the items that may seem unrelated are actually extremely connected and helps me getting closer towards one of my main goals: to manufacture custom electronic products (from design, to programming,..), and under each point I will mention why it was helpful and/or what I learned.
Finished my 2nd marathon
At 2015, I finished my 1st marathon, and in 2017, at the age of 30, I finished my 2nd one, after training for months with the amazing “Team Walid”
how this was helpful: The obvious results are losing weight and becoming more fit, in addition to training my mind to handle fatigue while running for hours, but also another extremely important consequence for me is that I met some amazing people who were strangers at first then become friends, and during the training I really enjoyed how we were acting as one team
Started “coder voice hackerspace”
It was a hackerspace for hardware, we used to meet each Saturday to work on projects or discuss hardware related topics, I met some really cool people and I learned more about electronics and it was also beneficial for the hackerspace members, currently we aren’t holding any meetups, but we still have a WhatsApp group, which is helpful in case anyone has any question or wants to discuss a certain topic.
how this was helpful: I had the chance to meet people that really helped answering my electronics questions, I made new friends, and learned more how to organize meetups
Interviewed some really cool developers in my coder voice podcast
I had the pleasure to interview some well known developers at coder voice podcast, such as the Freelance Front-End UI/UX Developer Sara Soueidan (@SaraSoueidan), The 1st employee at Laravel Mohamed Said (@themsaid), in addition to other talented developers.
how this was helpful: I met new people, learned from their experiences and improved my interviewing skills
Worked part-time (remotely) on a startup
I used to work remotely but as a freelancer, not a part-timer, it was a different experience for me, since it was about working specific hours per day (or a certain total per week) rather than working to finish a project (of course within a deadline but still I am not obliged in specific hours).
I worked for few months then I quit, but it was totally an important experience for me.
how this was helpful: in this specific startup, many of the tasks were challenging and it wasn’t a normal basic CRUD app, so I learned many things and I implemented some interesting solutions.. in addition to learning and working with TypeScript, a language that I didn’t use before, and the income provided me with some cash for the startup I am working on.
built my 1st RFID door system
I implemented my 1st RFID system to unlock the door at my place, so instead of using a key, I can just swipe a RFID tag and the door is unlocked!
The cool part, is that I built it myself with my own specifications, instead of buying something out of the shelf..
I may start selling the system in the future, but I think it still needs some modifications first.
how this was helpful: I learned so much about the design process of a product, and now I can “swipe to unlock” my door !
Moved from using arduino ide to learning how to program microcontrollers using c language
I started working with hardware with the Arduino board and its IDE, but later I started learning more about microcontrollers, their registers, and how to program them in C, and I think it is crucial to know that if you want to produce and sell products with embedded systems.
I started with an ATMega chip, then I move to a PIC chip.
how this was helpful: It provided me with a more in-depth look to how microcontrollers work, more options, and more flexibility.
Bought and assembled my 1st 3D printers
If I want to sell products, it was essential for me to have an enclosure that looks professional, and that can be manufacture in-house (at least as a start), and it was really time-consuming and sometimes inaccurate to drill holes in project boxes to make them suitable for a certain project, and needless to say, this isn’t a reliable process to produce products..
so I did some research and I bought my 1st 3D printer, and it was a DIY kit! that means you have to assemble it yourself, it took me a while, but I managed to make it work.. I printed the enclosures for my RFID project, and it was more awesome than I expected.
how this was helpful: well, 1st of all, the idea of assembling my own 3D printer was an amazing exercise by itself, it was a bit challenging, but it feels great when you finish then turn it on! you learn so much from doing that, and you become more familiar with the machine in case you need to fix something, or in case you want to modify it.
and from a business point of view, this is essential in the startup I am working on, and to build enclosure for my future products.
Bought and assembled my 1st CNC machine
Another machine that I wanted to have is a CNC machine (of course a small one for now.. since a big one is really expensive, and I don’t need it for now anyway..), it was also a DIY kit, so I had to assemble it myself, but it took less time that the 3D printer, unfortunately there were a problem with the board, so I contacted the seller and they sent me another one for free.
how this was helpful: I still didn’t fully try the machine, but it should be beneficial in manufacturing the PCB (printed circuit boards) for my products and also with engraving..
Organized my workshop
To build products you should have a workshop (in my case it is a room at my place), and I think it is more than a year now since I started buying tools to work on hardware products, and building my workshop was a cumulative process, but I knew it is extremely essential for building stuff, so now I have a range of tools, and a place to tinker and build stuff!
how this was helpful: Having a place with the tools is essential to build products and to experiment.
Started 3d modeling using fusion 360
Fusion360 is one of the most amazing apps I tried, and it is amazing to design and model 3D parts in order to print them, I started learning on it, and I have already designed different parts that I 3D printed
how this was helpful: in order to build products, you need to learn how to 3D model (of course unless you want to hire someone for that), but I personally enjoy designing the product myself, it is an essential tool for me.
For more than a year now, I was working to learn more about electronics and how to build embedded systems, so I spent good amount of time learning about all the different aspects, from design to PCB manufacturing, to using a 3D printer, and all these different disciplines, and all that needed time and effort, in addition to money, so it took me some time to be able to afford the tools needed, and I didn’t buy everything at once, but it was a gradual process, and the process can be a bit frustrating sometime because there are so many stuff you need to learn in order to design a fully functional product.. but I believe I have accomplished a good part in the past year and looking forward for the next one.