Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The calm before the storm.

Roughly five weeks to go. Life continues to move at a breakneck speed. Over the past two weeks I have build two full-stack webapps, learned a ton about project automation, practiced using tools that improve collaboration on a project, and cut my teeth on testing techniques. I've traveled to Portland and back, visiting friends and family. I've made a new résumé for the programming world and customized my website's template to include extra links about me. And those are just the high points.

The second half of the course is far less structured; as seniors we're mostly left to our own devices while the attention of staff shifts to the new crop of juniors. We're not totally abandoned, of course -- access to guidance and technical mentors remains the same -- but we don't have the same relentless pace of learning some specific new technology every two days. Our learning is now largely guided by our own choosing. The world is our oyster. 

I've been thinking long and hard about ideas for the thesis project, the project that will occupy our attention and drive for the next four weeks. I want to do something innovative and useful, to solve a meaningful problem. (Then again, who doesn't?) I think it would be amazing to find a project at the interesting of building design and programming -- somehow incorporating Revit (the industry's de facto software for building modeling) perhaps. Or maybe take a more frivolous route and create an integration with my Myo armband, build an entirely new curated experience of interacting with the web. 

We learn about our project teams for the first time today, we'll meet and begin hashing out project ideas. The choices of this week will weigh significantly on the direction and -- possibly -- success of our team. It will chart the course by which we will sprint for the next four weeks.

Right in the middle of it, I'll skip off to Seattle for the weekend to teach at Rain City Blues. I'm excited for the event -- had a wonderful time last year. It'll be a lot of work, as I'm skipping an entire day of HR, working through the weekend, and taking a redeye flight to make it back in time for Monday. For all the work it'll be, I have high hopes it will prove grounding as well, since I will be back in my community. Through the course of Hack Reactor, though it has been a mere 1.5 months, I am already feeling degrees of disconnect from the world of dance. It's surprising how quickly it seems possible to fade out from the scene.

After graduation from HR, I immediately return to Europe for another tour of six weeks. Copenhagen, Spain, and Stockholm. It'll be less intensive by design -- squeezing in a few weeks of break (which will likely still include a healthy dose of solo programming) will be a welcome restoration. I look forward to actually being a tourist for a bit.

Then it's back to the US to initiate my job search. The whole world is open to me. Maybe I'll find a dream job doing programming in the sustainability sector. Possibly I'll search along the west coast to find a gig that lets me work remotely. Maybe I'll broaden my search to include Europe. Right now there's a whole lot of unknowns that will dramatically shape my next (at least) couple years of life. That seems to be par for the course with my life, though. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Dealing with failure [redux].

The link I provided previously was incorrect -- copy fail! It’s now fixed.

I wrote (what turned out to be) a short essay about an experience at Hack Reactor. It was an emotionally powerful experience, one that shook me up but ultimately proved valuable. Hope you enjoy it.

Dealing with failure.

Thoughts and discussions welcome as always.