Ringing in the New Year by seeing out the old

Andrew Bolster

Senior R&D Manager (Data Science) at Synopsys Software Integrity Group and Treasurer @ Bsides Belfast and NI OpenGovernment Network

2011 has been a great year for me;

  • Graduated with a 1st MEng in Electronics & Software Engineering @QUB,

  • Got Job offer to a major financial house, which I turned down,

  • Got Job offer to a [C EH](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Certified_Ethical_Hacker) company in England, which I turned down,
  • Got DELNI Funded PhD offer (x4) from CSIT/ECIT, which I turned down,

  • Got selected to be one of the two UK projects within a Joint UK/FR Defence PhD Programme, which I accepted,

  • Saw fantastic growth in QUESTS and the Hacker^H^H^H^H^H^HMakerspace, including the beginning of a Major project, which we got EEECS Funding for and are also hoping to get QAF funding for QUESTS in general,

  • We are on track to get a actual space for the Makerspace circa Summer 2012,

  • Had the fantastic experience of living and working in Zurich for the summer with IAESTE / Pc Engines Gmbh, which gave me the opportunity to visit all over Europe, which was great for my confidence and self-belief, and also gave me a great many new friends all over the world,

  • Started (re-)learning French,

  • Came second in the UK Nationals of the IET’s Present Around the World Competition in Liverpool for my talk on Privacy in the Modern world (I keep meaning to screen-cast this but keep forgetting…)

  • Had a great time making an interesting site with Matt Campbell, Alastair McKinley, and the Sisk Brothers (was live for a few days over the summer, and we didn’t want to pay for it so let it die; may go back to it this year!)

  • Was asked to speak at the QUB EEECS RS Colloquium, representing Digital Communications within QUB/ECIT.

  • Travelled over 6,000 Miles, visiting at least 12 cities in 7 countries.

  • Lost a phone and a bike,

  • Went on 12 ‘dates’, 5 of which were worth while, 3 of which I’m still in touch with,

  • Taught at least 5 first years that C++ isn’t magic, it’s just poorly taught,

  • Sat on 5 committees, only one of which made me feel productive,

  • Had a pretty awesome time.

Going forward, I’m not going to make a load of promises I won’t keep. Thanks to all my friends, family, colleagues, competitors, enemies, bureaucrats, pencil-pushers, and random-folk who made my year what it was.

I plan on only two things;  KISS, and…

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