Expand The Mind

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Your entire universe is in your mind and nowhere else. To expand the universe, expand your mind.

Deepak Chopra

This week I had a problem with one of my tasks I was given.

TLDR: We had a meeting with a total of 8 attendees that included people from the content and product team. We had to rethink the way that the page was going to display some new improvements.

When I started programming, I was consumed by the world of computers. This week reminded me that it is just a small component of the much large world. The same world I was in before I started programming. My perspective just changed. Now that I fly a quadcopter my perspective has further changed.

I shall continue to expand my mind everyday.

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Decisions

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#DroneLife

“Without constant activity, the threats of life will soon overwhelm the values.”

— Jim Rohn

Work

  • Awesome week
  • Tore it up
  • Getting comfy
  • Need to change it up
  • Ready for the next week
  • Workflow wasn’t clear initially
  • Kept asking questions because I can
  • Code reviews are awesome
  • QA is also awesome

Observations:

  • Importance of communication
  • During commits, comments, messages, in person conversation and body language the goal should be an effective transfer of messages between the various parties
  • The prupose of the communication will probably still fall through the cracks so we should do our best to make sure most of the message made it and clarify anything with static.
  • I am becomming more explicit about the work that I preformed and leave my notes in the comments so that the following readers do not have to guess what to look for.

General reflections:

TLDR: I have spoken with a fair amount of people lately about being lost. I also find myself lost at times and more so in the previous couple years until I decided to become a programmer.

How I decided to forge my own path.

I brainwashed myself.

Everyday is a constant battle in the mind. Each day we have an unlimited amount of power. The power to make various decisions that determine what the next few seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years and lifetime will be like.

I have seen a lot of movies and shows in my lifetime. I have invested countless amounts of time into video games. Now I feel that I am in a hurry to make up for lost time. Time where I could have been learning and developing a skill that would help me reach some of my dreamy goals such as having a property so large I could invite EDC to have an event on my land.

I don’t think of these past experiences as a total waste of time though. With careful observation you can learn important lessons from stories told through the TV. Through video games I have developed a winner attitude of never giving up and to keep going on even when the days seem tough. Imagine quiting after the first level of any game when you didn’t even give yourself the chance to learn and get better at it.

Nowadays I focus my time 2 things, quadcopters and web development. I need to add health and fitness to that list but I’ll be honest, neither has been near the top 2 for a long time. I plan to change that this year.

Why am I sharing all this?
For the few people that reach out to me and are able to get something out it. This is for you. I also do this to keep me accountable with myself and to challenge myself to be better than I was last week.

My new hobby of piloting quadcopters has also taught me a lot about decisions. Each time I move the sticks it’s either going to keep me in the air or bring me down. Rarely do I stay still. It’s too much fun not to fly forward. Sometimes I am having too much fun and fly right into the ground. Parts will break, and I will rebuild it. This hobby has strengthed my determination in life, it isn’t cheap and mistakes can be pretty expensive at times, but I am up for the challenge.

If you don’t have a hobby I suggest you get one as soon as possible. Pick one that you like and will challenge you.

Fire

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Mother F-ing Fire this week. Love it.

Work was fun and confusing at time. I knew we had multiple servers but didn’t realize how confusing it was going to be one day. Glad it didnt last very long. I had a stumble at one point because there were multiple staging servers that I was working with, our team’s sever and the Cars Direct staging server. After figuring it out, asking questions and seeking clarifications, I was able to keep on truckin. Also helped a coworker with an algorithm that checked if a sequence of numbers would be strictly ascending if we had removed a single number.

Something new I used: Deployment tools, easy peasy and pretty cool.

So far I am still diggin life as a developer. It might get boring sometimes, but it definitely does not stay boring for very long.

This weekend another drone session. A few crashes and broken props, but nothing major. Practice, practice and practice. Repetition, persitence and determination. All it takes to get good at anything, anywhere.

This week was fire and I saw it in the sky.

Constant Learning

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Quick update!

Loving the flexible hours. I got to leave early to attend a birthday dinner 1.5 hours away.

Had a fun problem. One page of a site was displaying abbreviated articles causing some html to get cut off and as a result was missing closing tags. My solution: use regex to add closing tags after the string got truncated. Senior Developer code review -> had a better way and better reasons to use 1 php functions and 1 function from the framework we were working with. It is an excellent opportunity to be surrounded by more senior developers!

First Code Review = Epic Learning + 100 exp

Same Friday schedule working on a project with a friend.

Time

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I survived 2 weeks of life as a paid developer. All I can say is that I love it.

Now that I have found something I like to do everyday I have been more careful with my time. I try to wake up early. This past week I have been successfully up at 5:30am. Next week I am pushing for 5am. Waking up early allows me to complete tons of tasks before the day even begins. Some the things I do in the morning are :

– Go for a walk
– Algorithms
– Read
– Organize my notes from the previous day (simultaneously reinforcing the previous day’s learning)
– Prepare food
– Do some miscellaneous todo tasks

Each weekend I make time to refine my schedule depending on what worked and didn’t work. I also take special care to keep my projects organized in Trello so I can make progress while juggling many different projects with different teams.

I felt more than prepared for the first few weeks as a developer thanks to my bootcamp and my own learnings. I spent every day after graduation preparing to be employed as a developer. I have a long road a head of me, but I definitely feel like I was prepared.

Pro tip: study hard.

I find it hard to sleep at night despite waking up so early. During the day it feels as if I am downloading a terabyte of data into by brain much like a server, except I have to reboot mine daily and for about 8 hours. The excitement of learning and working on fun projects keeps me awake. At night I find myself getting up to make a note of some of the thoughts that go through my mind.

Discipline is all I can practice daily as I fight to tame my mind. All we have is time, I am choosing carefully what to do with mine and I recommend the same to anyone reading this.

Week 0

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I completed my first week of work as a Web Developer. Here is a quick summary of what happened.

Orientation
There were seven other people schedule for the same orientation. They consisted of people assigned to various departments and levels. The group had interns, part time employees, full time employees, hourly employees, salary employees, basically the most diverse crowd for an orientation I have seen.
After some administrative tasks and presentations we took a tour of the building and checked out four of the eleven floors in the building. Yes the company works on all four floors. We also got a sneak preview of some of the many active projects/sites that the company manages.

Understanding
The remainder of the week I started my various components for my training. A couple trainings required by the HR department and the rest relating to technology. Some of the topics covered were understanding team workflow, team structure, various processes, an intro into the company content management system and many other topics. There was tons of information I covered, too much to list here.

Feeling
I recall the feeling I had after completing my coding boot camp. It felt like I was able to physically see hundreds of doors open and I didn’t know which door to go through. After getting invited to work at IB, it now feels like I have been pulled into one large door only to realize this was a door to another, much larger universe. Much like the final scene from Men in Black II (check out the last 15 seconds).

Guilt
I have to be honest. I feel guilty for getting paid for what I do. I heard from developers before that we get paid to learn. I just didn’t realize I would feel guilty about it. I really do enjoy the path I have taken. Hopefully I will get used to it one day. I am glad I get to learn, organize, build solutions and code for work. I like it… a lot.

Tips
There is so much information to take in so…

– Mind Map everything that seems confusing or unclear.
The process of building these maps has helped make more sense of things. My favorite app right now is MindNode, but it doesn’t really matter which one you use.

– Level up
Always keep learning, everyday.

– Learn to Project Manage your life
In another post I will share my schedule and tools I have been building on for quite some time now.
I have recently moved from managing my daily, weekly and monthly tasks with OmniFocus to Trello.
Trello allows me to have more customization for organizing my projects, recurring tasks and other GTD tasks (Getting Things Done). Some info about GTD wikipedia and gettingthingsdone.

Philosophy
Craft
n.
Skill in doing or making something

Craftsman
n.
A person who practices a craft with great skill

Everyday.

Tick Tock

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The Monday Interview
As I eagerly await the start of my interview I am escorted into the room we had reserved for the next two hours of my life. The room was dead silent making the clock located near the top of the photo excruciatingly painful to listen to. I was ready and nervous, so I had a notebook ready so I can write down what happened incase I blacked out.

Some stats about my interview:
It can be summarized into 3 parts.
I was schedule for 2 hours but ended up staying for about ~4 hours.
It was a lot of fun.

Part 1: Estimated Duration ~ 15 minutes
The Recruiter
For the first part of my stay I was able to meet face to face with the recruiter that had reached out to me so that she could get to know me. In my nervousness I had forgotten most of the questions she asked but they were mostly about my resume and some personal details to illustrate who I am.

Part 2: Estimated Duration ~ 30 minutes
The Project Manager
During the second part I met with the project manager for a potential team that I was being interview for. We had gone over my resume and he checked out my personal website. After that introduction we began the technical part of the interview. We went into questions discussing various topics in programming that required me to answer by definitions and explanations to demonstrate my understanding of various topics. We also went through some algorithms followed by more technical questions.

During this part of the day I was not feeling so hot about my performance so far, but I knew what I needed to do afterwards. I need to get better at expressing my knowledge and understanding in technical explanations. I also needed to brush up on my vocabulary so that I can make a clear connection between topics and to demonstrate that I know what I am doing. At the end I was already starting to feel defeated but tried to calm down and convince myself otherwise.

Part 3: Estimated Duration ~ 2.5+ hours
The Technical Director
This was my chance to redeem myself. Considering the amount of overtime we went on our room reservation I think I did okay.

In summary here is a list of hings I did that might have helped me:
– Asked a ton of questions
– Prepared some even before I arrived
– Asked some questions about the tasked I would be performing “if I were selected”
– Expressed my genuine interest in the company, role, team, services they provided and culture
– Did my homework on the company
– Asked more about it because the internet didn’t have everything I was hoping to learn about the company
– Kept learning everyday before the interview and even during the interview
– Paid off when I got the questions “What have you learned on your own? How did you learn it?”
– Focused on getting better, even during the interview
– Talked out loud to demonstrate my problem solving skills
– Asked for clarity on questions and algorithms
– Took a ton of notes during the interview
– Explained my answers whether it was a confident answer, a guess or an educated guess

At the end of the day I think I did pretty good.
After a few days the recruiter emailed me saying “We would like to go forward with your candidacy!”. It’s unclear exactly what that means to me so I will have to wait until my reference check clears, background check clears and starting date is established.

Until then I shall continue to develop my craft…