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Atif Aiman
Atif Aiman

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A Note On The 10K Days

Salam and hello folks! A long journey indeed for all of us. A different us, different obstacles, with a similar goal - a seek for happiness and things we enjoy most.

This article is for my personal record, but you are more than welcome to scroll and read it, but this won't be a short one. And no, it's not about PowerLevel10K!

If you want to share your journey, you can just put the link down below in the comment section, and I will take the time to read it.

Let's begin, shall we?


The First Day

Born 3 days after Christmas festivities at Negeri Sembilan, blessed with a pair of doctors as parents. Not so much to tell, but I am grateful for the humble starting. The almanac of my story starts here -

A Thing About ADHD

Well, during childhood, I was having difficulty having sleep and becoming "overly" active. However, despite my parents observing my symptoms of mild ADHD, they didn't bring me to meet paediatrics but instead decided to grow me up normally like other kids. Well, wild imaginations, us siblings cheering up during thunders, and lots of crazy things my siblings and I did.

But you know what? I only discover that I had mild ADHD in my 20s, so looking back at what happened before is something I always think of, not even bothering about my shortcoming but instead going through everything. I am also glad people see pass through it and just be a history and part of my life.

The First Milestone of Education

Sekolah Rendah Islam Seremban (SRI Seremban) is my first primary education institution, where I was first nurtured. 5 years at SRI Seremban mostly taught me basic education things like counting, reading, and things children mostly need. But here I first discovered my interest in Mathematics. Like hey, give me a complex addition question, and I can calculate with my fingertips, though it's not like the Asian kids that calculate with those finger movements 🤣. But it all begins with my Mathematics teacher, who is strict since he was in Territorial Army Regiment.

But in the 6th year, I had to move to SK Taman Tasik Jaya Seremban, so I could look over my younger sister who has a learning disorder since the school has a special class for her. Different environments. I managed to get 4 out of 5 As in UPSR.

The Learning Continues

For secondary education, I moved to SMKA Sheikh Hj Mohd Said for 5 years, where I was mostly shaped into who I am now. The way of thoughts, philosophy, the attitudes. I was famous in school for "bad" nerd things - I've never completed most of my homework throughout 5 years there. Of course, I am not proud of it, but thinking that again, I found it funny, because my teachers just decide to not bother me that much, for I will score on the exam either way.

I learn a lot of things during my secondary years. I learn to document mostly here because I involved myself in a lot of events. Being the committee member of events, secretary of librarian, and president of the Karate club. I was so active, that I managed to discipline myself and reduce 15kg in 3 weeks. What a crazy thing!

Well, I am still looked up to as a high achiever, expected to score in exams. With struggles and sweats, I managed to score a straight one for both PMR and SPM. What a nerd guy.

My ambition at that time got a wild ride. Initially, I aimed to be a doctor (specifically orthopaedics, thanks to my parents' exposure), and later be a Karate instructor, then an actuarist, and finally a computer scientist. Even my parents even asked me once to be a pilot (and I considered it as well). But having these ambitions, I did learn a little bit to be what I wish for, but the situation changes my mind about things I want to focus on. Yet, I was naive at that time.

It's Varsity Time

In Malaysia, we have things like A-Level studies we called foundational studies. And so, right after secondary school, I enrol the Foundation of Islamic Studies and Science at the University of Malaya (UM) for 2 years. At the same time, I was also a Karate athlete representing the University of Malaya. My favourite course is computer science, and having a sporting lecturer.

And later straight away enrolled on Bachelor of Islamic Studies and Information Technology, a double major degree. During that phase of my life, a lot of things happened. Facing mild depression, being a graphic and motion designer for events around UM, getting silver for Karate competition for 2 years streak, the passing of my beloved grandmother, and my parents' separation.

Of course, I love many things despite having challenges such as the success that I've gained and things that I regret at times. Dismissing headaches and stomach pain from not eating well, are things that I wish that I could've done better. These are things that taught me what life is:

  • Learn what matters most. Of course, we will repeatedly be making mistakes here and there, it is just a matter of life learning.
  • Learn about yourself. Sometimes we thought we know about ourselves, but we are not. These obstacles will highlight what you are and what you are capable of. We won't know until we try.
  • Trust yourself. I have low self-esteem and have always been hard on myself (even until this moment). I am glad that people around me believe in me, so I don't want to let them down. The success that I have right now is thanks to the people around me.
  • Stand on your ground. Be firm on your principles, and don't let others compromise those. It's okay to be different, for that is what we are - human. Variation is a blessing.
  • Learn from your mistake. Learning can also happen outside the education environment, so grab the most out of it.
  • Hunger for knowledge. As I said, life is the non-stop process of learning, find your path. Set the objective.
  • Be active in learning. Discover a lot of things, and you will discover what you want to be. Exposure is everything for you, good or bad.

Post-Graduation

I graduated from UM in 2018. Honestly, it was still unclear to me what I wanted to do in life, given that time I was into graphic and motion design. I question myself whether I want to pursue that path, or maybe another path that I think I am best at. That was the moment that I decide that I want to venture into the programming world since I scored on top in the programming course. However, I still don't have confidence in my skill or decided what language or framework I want to focus on. Luckily, one of my lecturers seeks a research assistant, specifically on app development. So, I took the opportunity and apply for it. What scares me the most at that time is that, I don't even know what I want to build an app with, so I "out of my mind" challenge myself to learn React for 2 weeks and nothing else, right before being appointed as a research assistant for 1 year. Little did I see myself that I managed to complete the development of the app (don't talk about the code quality, I was also cringed looking into the code now).

With this, I gained a lot of confidence in coding, but I found out that I love to develop the UI and designs, so I commit myself to being a front-end developer. So, after ending my contract as a research assistant, I seek a frontend developer position. I got 2 offers, but I decided to go to SPEZA, a cryptocurrency exchange company as a junior frontend developer.

My First Job

Given that I have low self-esteem, I always doubt myself whether I managed to do things right. Thankfully, I got one of the best mentors I had in SPEZA, who comfort me and keep me assured that I have what is needed. And so, I used their trust to make it through and learn a lot of things, enjoy most of the job, facing obstacles together.

But well, good things always last. After 5 months of working, suddenly the world is hit by an infamous pandemic, the COVID-19. The company had to close down their operation, and the country went on lockdown (MCO). It was tough for me and the team, and even cause a bit of distress for me. Honestly, I stopped coding for a while after closure, calming myself with games. 7 months into jobless life, and at the end of that, I desperately try to keep myself and my skills relevant. I tried to relearn full-stack development and seek a job after the MCO. So, I managed to get a job at an e-commerce platform company as a full stack developer. I still remember that the recruiter who recruited me asked me whether I wanted to go for full stack developer or focused on a specific stack such as front end stack. I was so desperate, that I said that I willingly accept any position as long I can pay the bill.

The Next Challenge: The Finance

As a full-stack developer, I had to develop frontend, back end and anything that revolved around them. However, the moment I entered the company, I was assigned to a project and expected to single-handedly manage it. With no guidance at that time (all other teams were occupied with different projects), I had to do it from end to end. And I mean, from project planning, requirement management, managing clients, designing, developing, testing, deploying and delivering it - all without any clear experience. I stressed out, and I even tried to voice out to the management for that, but in the end, I managed to hold out and finished what I started. This might be tough for me, but it was a challenge all along.

So, what happened is that, the company faced a financial shortage, and I didn't get full pay for 5 months. I did have my savings before, but all evaporates for those 5 months. So, I decided to find an exit plan.

In November 2020, I decided to join a local event, JomLaunch, where the developers gather to see the local digital product, the pitches and have some discussions. I met some awesome guys, which I didn't expect to get to know. A famous yoyo guy, who is also a famous nomad developer, Fajar, who eventually be a partner of the project that we worked on right now, Jombuat. I also met some other guys, who then become my colleague a year after.

The Next Challenge: The Principle

Later at the end of 2021, I joined a local payment gateway company, with a vision of me creating a new engine for the payment solution. It is not bad at all, but at some point, I thought a while back that I am strayed away from what I wanted to focus on - the front end development. Being appointed as team lead just a month after joining, I had to oversee the legacy system, brainstorm the new engine, and later on had to work on different projects. This kind of thing happens to me before in the previous company, where you have to be the whole department. Standing on my principle, I choose to just quit and continue to seek another opportunity, specifically in front end development.

So, as usual, I went to different job postings (sorry I ignored most of the recruiters at this point) that match my preferences, and then there is one job posting that strikes me the most - Mid/Senior React Developer at Xsolla, a gaming commerce company. I am so curious, so I decided to apply and pray for the best. After 2 interview phases, I managed to join Xsolla, and at the time I am writing, I am already 1 week here, so not so much to talk about - except for the humongous documentation to read 😵‍💫. Well, I'm not bibliophilic.

Other Things

Well, a lot of things happened as well along the path. Planning for the personal brand growth, writing articles on React and Javascript, meeting cool guys that I looked up to since secondary school such as Afiq Sazlan (HAS Academy, his books) and others such as Fajar Siddiq and Anoush Siahkar, getting 2 years of free Adobe subscription thanks to Adobe Live events, joining different events and create new connections, managing communities, organizing classes on kinds of stuff like Github and React. I have already miscounted the blessing that I've gained after all those hardships that I faced. Even during the hard times, like my car was stolen - thankfully the issue was resolved quickly and get full insurance coverage, a really bad gastritis attack (I was shivering like hell), got haemorrhage dengue when I was 10 years old, and all those beloved people that passed away, including my friends and cousins who are at the same age as me.

All of these serve as a lesson for me and will continue to be until my ending days. Today is the 10,000th day of my life, and I am still strong, and still seeking the happiness in my story. A lot to learn and a lot to do. So here's what I will continue to seek at this point:

  • Teaching others. Teaching gives me satisfaction when I can see how I can contribute to society.
  • Career growth. At this point, I still want to do some coding and gather more experiences than I need, so I can pass on a lot of things to the next generation. At the same time, I want to find my way up.
  • Establishing my personal brand. I continue to offer some courses to the new students and coaching to developers to improve both them and myself. Wait till I have my own Youtube courses.
  • Improving current connections. I am an introvert, so I didn't really go around and make lots of new connections, but I try to reach out to those who make me who I am today.
  • Learn to lead. Honestly, I tried to avoid all those leadership roles since childhood, because I was afraid that I would let others down. Now, I need to learn all those things and cope with things so I can continue to grow.
  • Explore different domains. Right now, I can comfortably say that I am an expert in frontend development (yeah, CSS is just at my fingertips), and am able to do some backend things, but I will love to explore blockchain things and maybe some new things in the future.
  • Taking care of my health. Investing in wellness is not a waste. Previously, I have bad back pain, so I buy an ergonomic chair, and I worked comfortably after that. Same as taking care of the meal (I cannot eat spicy things anymore 😭).
  • Improve my finance management. Not getting a 5-month salary really left a dent in my saving, so now I want to improve my saving habit (though I was strict on saving before).
  • Taking care of my mental health. It matters the most that I need to take care of my mental health. Faced a lot of burnout in my previous company for the overwhelming pressure, I need to sort things out and the priorities.
  • And finally, be happy. Everyone deserves to be happy. I have been harsh towards myself for things happening around me. Seeking the meaning of happiness to me is my mission.

Conclusion

Everyone has a different set of origin, the story and the climax. To compare those differences is not the way to achieve things in life, but to retrospect what you have done and what you could have done better. The learning process should be forever, and the thing that you might need to pay attention to is the method of learning - to see what matters in learning, and what can be implemented in your life. Lessons can be gained either from others' stories or your own.

It's not wrong to have regrets, but it is wrong if you choose to stay in it. This is how He elevated you to the next level of you - a greater you.

Well, what a long one, huh? Initially, I wish to write a 10,000-word long, but I give up, and decided to stop here.

But - I am extremely glad that you read this far, for someone as insignificant as me. I wish your life will be full of blessing, and a lot of good things will happen to you in the future. So, here is a potato who codes.

Potato who codes

You are also welcomed to read my other articles as well, if you are into React, Javascript and stuff.

So, till the end of my article, happy 10,000th day to me on 15th May 2022, and peace be upon ya!

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