A year in review 2017
Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year everyone! We are nearing the year 2018 and it is time to look back at what happened this year. I will go through my accomplishements, failures and plans, and make a summary on what has happened.
Goals for year 2017
Each year I make my own “new year resolutions”, that are actual plans for the upcomming 365 days. I always try to finish them, although they don’t always end with a positive result. Here you can see, what I told myself I will do one year ago:
- Study robotics and IoT to a professional degree,
- Switch to Python as my primary programming language,
- Create a robotics based startup.
I will tell you how some of the things changed in the following sections. Don’t want to go straight ahead and spoil everything! The whole post will cover 3 sections: career, education and life.
This year I made some pretty serious decisions regarding my future and how I plan to work in the next few years. I decided after lots of thought to limit to a minimum my main source of income - mobile programming of iOS and Android apps. This isn’t how I see my professional career, since I feel like this is inadequate to my ambitions. I decided to go deep into Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, which resulted in a couple of things that happened over the last couple of months.
First of all, the year started with a major event being the International Joint Conference on Rough Sets 2017 in Olsztyn. I was the member of the organizing committee and together with my colleagues, we nailed the event pretty good. Overall we had some fantastic keynote speakers and lots of scientists from all around the globe, that brought in their scientific articles to this week-long event.
In summer, we started working on a project called ARIA, which is basically a robotics platform for education. Sadly, for now the project is hanging, waiting for a better time, because of the amount of things that need to be done first. I plan on going back to the project as soon as possible, probably in the first months of the year 2018. This is my personal failure, that I managed my time not good enough, to get this working faster.
I went to a IOTA hackathon in Gdańsk in November. Together with my team PlugInBaby, we took first place for creating a working solution for (autonomous) electric car charging using the Internet of Things and the IOTA tangle (for cryptocurrency micro-transactions).
One of my goals was to use Python as my primary programming language and I think it went quite well. I’m still not as good at it as Java, but I’m working hard. All my projects (well apart from Arduino) were done in Python: scientific work, hackathon applications and personal mini-projects. This is a good starting point to learn more about the language in the following year.
I was quite busy with educating myself this year. The only moment in my professional career when I was learning so much in such a short time, was when I joined the Microsoft Student Partner program, and then I had much more help.
Let’s start from the beginning. I told myself, that this year I will do a deep dive into Robotics and Internet of Things. I have spent half my earnings on Arduino, Raspberry Pi and various electronics: sensors, switches, chips etc. I have also spent a vast amount of time reading books on general electronics and how various parts work.
This helped me achieve a couple of things:
- I understand how various robots in our laboratory work,
- I can do concious workarounds when a feature isn’t available,
- I learned how to bring my project ideas to life.
On a different note, I had the possibility to post a scientific article at the IJCRS conference mentioned earlier. At that time I did not know, that the paper will give me enough points and allow me to become a PhD candidate at the Polish-Japanese Academy of Information Technology. I am currently working on a thesis called “Steering methods for intelligent agents and their teams” (Polish: Sposoby sterowania agentami inteligentnymi i ich zespołami) , under prof. Lech Polkowski.
And finally, I got accepted to the Udacity Robotics Software Engineer Nanodegree. The course was designed with top companies in the robotics industry (companies like KUKA, Lockheed Martin, Electric Movement, Uber and more) and teaches the core industry tech: Robot Operating System, Deep Learning for robotics, path planning, decision making and many more. I just finished my first project, and will make a blog post about it soon.
I experienced some major changes in my life as well. The biggest one being, that I got engaged to Ania on our trip to Dubai. After 6 years of friendship that had its highs and lows, we finally got to a point, where we know what we want from life. And we have some great plans ahead of us, which makes this even better!
When it comes to my gaming life… it still exists… and yes I’m still playing World of Warcraft (“After all these years? Always.”). We joined a great horde guild called Dark Fantasy two months ago and planning to stay there for quite some time: the people are great and actually you can feel a sense of community. This time around, we are still progressing Argus heroic, but I believe that soon we will start mythic progression.
But the year wasn’t filled only with joy. November brought us the death of Luna - our most loved guinea pig. While she was constantly diseased and ill over the years, she was the type of a fighter - never surrendered and kept on living. But everything has an end and sadly she passed away at the age of 6.
All in all, this was a really good year. Hard working, but good. It is really inspiring, when you can actually see the profit of what you have done and achieved. I finished most of my “resolutions”, and it gave me a big boost in my “I can do anything” mode. Hope it will transfer to the upcomming year!
And here are my goals for the next year:
- Finish my PhD thesis
(I really want to get my research going),
- Take care of my health and weight
(Maybe it’s finally time to look after myself and stop being bigger than I want),
- Embrace the non-materialistic way of life
(Minimalism is so much better, need to eliminate the clutter).