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My Year-End Review for 2023

  • Career
  • Mentoring
  • Personal Development
  • Year-End-Review

📅 November 16, 2023

⏱️9 min read



  • Adjunct Lecturer for ITE in a semester to teach Go and Web Apps. Realised that it might not be the type of work I wanted to do.
  • Trainer under Tribe to teach in mid-career conversion programme in Ngee Ann Poly. The students were to become QA Testers in various financial institutions in Singapore. I was honestly both scared & worried that i didn't do a good job. I was kind of sleep-deprived since I was sleeping 4 hours to prepare for my first day and had a persistent cough for the whole duration.
  • Applied for multiple goverment jobs as part of my Rolodex of places I have wanted to be part of since the start of the pandemic. Plus my dad had also heard that being in tech in goverment jobs is quite cushy following both my brother's paths. I was pretty grateful that I got afew referrals and a job offer if i choose to proceed. But overall, a few of the interview pipeline was awful. I actively discouraged people from joining them, since it felt immature or downright a waste of my time. Due to a lack of context or explaining the expectations during the interview pipeline. Despite i roughly know what I am getting into for that type of organisation overall, it's a FUBAR experience.
  • I have to force myself to grind leetcode after multiple technical test failures. Alot of tech positions require the initial phase to be online technical assessments without any search capabilities or in a closed booked setting with leet code type of questions. So to practice with interviewcake, I also pulled the trigger to get a 1-year plan from Leetcode to practice on.
  • Earlier this year in my job search journey. I was at the crossroads on where I should take my career as either I could stay as an IC (Individual Contributor) or Manager path in Singapore. I assume that in Singapore not alot of organisations or companies allows you to jump from one path to another or operate as a hybrid (jack of all trade is hard to justify your KPIs). So I started to seek guidance from some of my friends who were senior/principal level engineers and read a book called Staff Engineer to see if my being on the IC path was worth it for me to jump in. I found that the IC path might not be the type of place i want to be in for my career. I found that I should move towards the path as a technical/engineering manager path but build up my technical management & scaling up or large-scale experience as a senior-level engineer in a large or corporate organisation for the past few years. Therefore my current search has been towards this type of companies or organisations. Yes I know I'm picky but hey I know what I want to do in my life. I tend to rush towards it with 110% effort while working smart and accepting the instability as part of my journey in my life to make it work.


  • Volunteered as a co-organiser in JuniorDevSG Mentoring Programme for Batch 3 and 4.
  • Volunteered as a Mentor for SIT's Batch 5 to mentor 2 x Year 2 Info Sec Uni students
  • Became a Guest Speaker for a Panel Discussion in SIT Alumni Mentoring Forum to talk about career
  • Ran a Job Support Group called PyJobRaft to help the community members from the Python User Group Singapore - PUGS. Despite my best efforts to promote with support from Red Hat along with local tech communities, the turnout wasn't great. But it was a good experiment to know there wasn't a need for it so PUGS could better focus on our efforts in other areas like doing a handbook for PyCon.
  • Became a Mentor in a large hackathon for the first time at HackSingapore

Keynote Speaker for PyCon Malaysia

  • I was both afraid i would screw up in my keynote speech. This was also my first-time solo traveling to Kuala Lumpur (KL). I was pretty worried that there were delays or incidents when I was travelling from Singapore to KL.

Personal Finances


  • I am debt-free as I had to pay off my university loans in September this year. Since i graduated about 7 - 8 years ago due to a teaching job that I took that paid me well enough that I can pay it off.

Emergency Funds

  • Relying on my emergency funds while I search for my job. I'm pretty grateful I had enough from my teaching job to last me this long. Moving on, I'm seeking to rebuild this and get 100k in the bank for my journey.

Health/Personal Fitness

Medical Test with C-Reactive Protein

  • For the first time in my life, I paid for a medical test that includes C-reactive protein to check for my inflammation. This can also be an indicator of cardiovascular or chronic illness that runs in my family. The results show I had to lose weight and adopt other healthy habits.

Meal Prep

  • Getting more kitchen equipment or playing around with meal preping recipes or systems to make it easier. So far, the longest I could go with homecooked meal prep is for 2 days straight.

Controlling My Sugar Addiction

  • Slowly weaning myself off sugary drinks to lose weight and control my sugary addiction. I started to drink more water with my Klean Kanteen thermal water bottle. This was so good that I just brought another after bottle realising that I had to be drinking more water during and after my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu sessions.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ)

  • I had a friend who I hired last year to help me as my health coach. I decided to pull the trigger to go for BJJ since I wanted to train for three reasons:
    • In a community of people who are enduring hardship. This was heavily encouraged by the health coach to pick either the gym or CrossFit.
    • Button press for when shit hits the fan. I can rely on myself based upon what i had learned in BJJ to navigate myself out of situations regardless of obstacle that comes my way.
    • Part of my childhood dream was to learn martial arts/self-defence but I didn't have the time or chance to do it till now.
  • So far, it's been great. There are times I am still afraid of going to class by myself due to the intensity and my habit of wanting to take the easy way out.

Round Island Walk

  • I wanted to complete this walk by this year. But I found myself injured with Brusitis at my heel. So I stopped doing it and started incorporating exercises like pistol and Hindu squats from Bioneer to strengthen myself and improve my recovery from the injury.
  • I also brought Vibram V-Trek barefoot shoes and toe socks for my exercise and hiking session. I found that my current Vibram barefoot shoe is inadequate due to my extensive use for hiking in Singapore and walking.



Technical Skills/Knowledge Upskilling Journey.

  • I started learning DevOps and Domain Driven Design to learn to build software systems in a resilient way. This is also to help me in preparing myself as a technical manager.
  • Re-learning the latest version of Django by watching Django Con US and Europe. Along with reading Django's official documentation and joining their discord channel.


  • I also started to learn about Storytelling to prepare for my keynote speech, my career conversion students as well to get shit done using stories or my speech.

Taking a Master

  • I decided to take on an online Master's degree at either Georgia Tech or the University of Texas. I talked to afew of my friends who were taking their Master in Singapore. I heard the price for a master's education in Singapore is quite expensive. Therefore i am taking an Online Master's route to hopefully allow me to either immigrate or work overseas ideally in the US, Canada or the UK. I am starting to prepare my application next year as i missed the application date for Georgia Tech.


  • I started to learn about roleplaying through my Dungeon and Dragons (DnD) sessions with my friends. Initially, I wanted to learn about it because I wanted to build a story-based mentoring platform for Upskillcycle. I even started watching Running the Game Series By Matt Colville to draw inspiration for me to build that mentoring platform to apply for certain jobs in tech.
  • In the end, I recently started to play a DnD campaign to train roleplaying muscle and maybe one day be a dungeon master. But so far, I'm just playing around with roleplaying for now.

Thinking About What I Wana Do for My Life in the Next 10 - 20 Years?

Short Term

  • Getting a job
  • Rebuilding my emergency fund
  • Get 100k in the bank in the next 3 years through work or my side hustles.
  • Getting my master
  • Donating to my university and causes that I strongly support like rewilding projects, center for farthering or kids/families who are living in poverty.

Long Term

Being Part of a Close Group of Friends or Family

  • Despite whatever crazy ass or shit I do in my life decisions. I would want to make the effort and spend time to be part of family and friends. Being there or part of their family to form memories when they need me.

Functional Fitness

  • I am healthy and rely on my body in the event shit hits the fan.
  • I do not have a chronic illness or has been well taken care of due to my meal prep and exercises to keep it under control.
  • Staying in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu


Living Overseas or Immigration to Another Country

  • I am increasingly thinking of being overseas either through remote work, taking a work visa to work in the country or getting a travel-focused type of tech job.
  • Help people to grow their careers or start their own business in tech.

Building the Foundation for Self-reliant/Self-Sufficiency

  • I am also looking to learn and to do some form of self-reliance/homestead for the future. Like buying/renting a piece of land if i don't plan to continue to stay in Singapore. I might want to start a homestead to raise animals and grow my food for self-sufficiency and self-reliance for my family.
  • It's kind of beyond, oh i want to invest by building up a lucrative nest egg so my family is well taken care of as part of estate planning by working with my financial advisors.

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