2021 in Review

2021 in Review


2021 has truly been an astonishing year. I changed my perspective about life and people in general while achieving most of my wishes.

This post wouldn't have been possible without the awesome people from Twitter: @jsngr, @julianlehr, @peduarte, @brian_lovin, @pacocoursey, @emilkowalski_, @raunofreiberg, @leerob, @ancashoria - from which I learned a fair ammount of programming and took a lot of inspiration.

Year summary

Knowing nothing about web development, I have started learning the basic steps. I liked the fact that I could combine my design skills with programming. For about three months, I made mostly basic websites for various purposes. Until March I focused a lot on olympiads: competitive programming and mathematics - in which I qualified at the national stage and progressed a lot.

Following that period, I tried ReactJs for the first time and was fascinated by its powers. Tutorial after tutorial, documentation after documentation, I liked the dynamic approach and the development experience. In April I accomplished one of my old dreams: getting a MacBook. Saving money for some time and Apple releasing the M1 Chip couldn't have been timed better. I'm grateful for it - it surely made my life a lot easier.

Changing the focus once again, I worked for about two months on our robot for the First Tech Challenge Competition. A lot of research, prototyping, CAD designing and engineering were made alongside my team. Unfortunately, we didn't qualify for the next stage due to a robot component breaking a few days before the start of the contest. Contrary to that, I won the Dean's List Award, selected from over 300 students from Romania - in recognition of leadership and dedication for leading the team to increase awareness for First and for achieving personal technical expertise and accomplishment.

Thinking that I need to level up the programming skills I took Harvard's CS50. I still believe that this is the best course ever made, as it helped me a lot to reach my desired level. Made my first internet money. Started prototyping in SwiftUI for some time, then came back to React, as it had a flatter learning curve. Multiple side projects later, I transitioned to the back-end using Ben Awad's dream stack. Created some prototypes and planning to release a product next year.

Later that autumn I got hired by a good friend of mine to work on multiple projects. That marked exactly 11 months after I started to learn web development. Towards the end of the year, I have experimented with interfaces, design systems, and flexible components.

Media consumption

Sleep8:09 on average [2.987 hours in total]
Mac Screen Time6:11 on average [2.257 hours in total]
School5 hours on average [840 hours in total]
Music573 hours / 866 artists
iPhone Screen Time1:34 on average [571 hours in total]
Youtube307 hours
Reading221 hours (37 books, publications)
Steam46 hours
Cycling36 hours [512 km]
Chess21 hours

For anyone wondering, this statistic was made using some spreadsheets combined with Apple's buggy Screen Time and Strava.


I always thought that by helping others, you help yourself, so here are some of my takeaways from this year, including personal experience, books, and more:

  • Always work in Pomodoro sessions. Long studying sessions mean that you'll only remember the first 20 minutes and the last 20, and in between that you'll lose all the information.
  • To cut the learning curve, teach.
  • Ask questions. Ask the right questions.
  • Knowledge is not power. Knowledge times action is power.
  • Transform the FOMO into JOMO (Joy of missing out).
  • A clean environment is the best place to study.
  • Nothing is original.
  • You're only going to be as good as the stuff you surround yourself with.
  • It's always your job to get yourself an education.
  • Be sincere. Do not promise anything that you cannot deliver.
  • Sharpen the saw before you do anything else.
  • Talk about your own mistakes before criticising the other person.
  • Begin with the end in mind.
  • Don't break the chain. We work because it's a chain reaction, each subject leads to the next. Use the end of one project to light up the next one.
  • Creativity is not a talent. It's a way of operating.
  • Work is never finished, only abandoned.
  • Be kind.
  • Go make that stuff.

Thanks for reading. I hope 2022 is going to be a great year for everyone. WGMI.