2018 in Review

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Once again I’m writing a “Year in Review” post, mostly focused on professional life & tech stuff. Check 2017 here.

Demonware (Activision) –> Activision

I really enjoyed my time at Demonware, but at the beginning of the year I had an opportunity to move to another team at Activision, Data Services.

My previous team at Demonware, Data Pipeline, is responsible for telemetry ingestion (as well as metrics and logs), but the data is mostly flowing through the pipes untouched.

My current team, Data Services, which is a part of Activision Central Tech, consumes that data and does quite a few things with it: parsing, enrichment, transformations, etc. We maintain Data Lake and Data Warehouse, build various APIs and services on top of the data we have. I still work with Kafka a lot, but also leverage Hadoop, Hive, Presto, Spark, Cassandra and other tools. All this tech handles billions of events per day / petabytes of files in S3 and powers data-driven decisions for the last 7 years of Call of Duty games.

It’s being a very hard, but rewarding year. I enjoyed it a lot!

Consulting / Training

I started to seriously consider doing consulting & training part time. I explained what I can offer here. I have some training experience, but not so much consulting one. It’s going to be challenging, but I’m looking forward to it.


Unfortunately I wasn’t able to contribute to my blog as much as I wanted this year. I was very busy at work, as well as working on my talks (more about this below). It just balanced out ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Some annual stats about the blog:

  • Pageviews: 21680
  • Average session duration: 38 seconds
  • Top 5 countries: USA, India, France, UK, Germany
  • New / Returning visitor ratio: 87 / 13

Conferences / Talks / Workshops

Events visited in 2018 (I highlighted all where I presented):

  • Apache Kafka Meetup (Vancouver) x2
  • QCon (London)
  • DevOps Days (Vancouver)
  • dotScale (Paris)
  • Open Source Summit North America (Vancouver)
  • Strata Data Conference (New York)
  • AWS re:Invent (Las Vegas)
  • Microservices Meetup (Vancouver)
  • AWS User Group (Vancouver)
  • Hashicorp User Group (Vancouver)

It seems to be the most successful year in terms of public speaking for me!

Things I Learned

  • Test Pyramid is not going anywhere
  • Investing in tooling for developers can’t be done adhoc, it’s an ongoing process
  • Self-serve UIs provided by Platform-level teams become the way for internal development teams to use Platforms
  • Kubernetes is great, but not everybody needs it
  • Big Data space is as diverse as Javascript frameworks (or even more)
  • Cassandra is amazing if you partition your data right and absolutely terrifying if you don’t
  • A good way to tackle technical debt is two interns and a passionate senior engineer 😉