My Bootcamp Goals

It’s easy to lose focus when you are not being held accountable. I already knew this, but I’m living it day to day now. That’s why I’m trying to come up with some goals. I need to be able to concentrate on things that will help me achieve these goals in the most efficient way possible. If something doesn’t work as planned, it may need to be re-evaluated or scrapped altogether.

I talked about some of my goals in episode 5 of the Go Code Yourself podcast (listen at www.gocodeyourself.com or download using your favorite Podcast player), but I wanted to put them in writing- to keep me in check. When I think about it, my main goal is to get up to speed on modern programming languages and practices. This sounds very broad and generic, so I tried breaking it down. I wanted to have some concrete and measurable goals. Here are some of the things I want to accomplish, in no particular order:

  • Be able to perform well on a technical interview
  • Review data structures and algorithms
  • Create small test applications for each major topic covered
  • Create slideshow decks for some of the topics (these can be used as review material later on, or to teach someone else)
  • Dig deeper into data science / data mining / machine learning (I’ve scraped the surface of these topics in the past, but would like to get more hands on experience)
  • Use public APIs to create a usable and useful Web application (already have a few ideas, will share them as I get closer to working on them)
  • Publish my code to GitHub (https://github.com/orlandoferrer)
  • Document as much as possible (topics reviewed, material used, practice exercises)
  • Weekly blog post with progress made, topics covered, and any interesting finding
  • Get better at reading other people’s code (read more open source)
  • Improve Stack Overflow ranking
  • Apply to Hacker School
  • Create slideshow deck with my “bootcamp” experience
  • Read more books
  • Exercise (I won’t be covering this topic on the blog, but I needed the encouragement!)

Whew, looks like I got my work cut out for the next few months!

I’m doing my own dev bootcamp!

I just did something stupid bold. I quit my job. I’ve been thinking about a job transition for some time now, but originally I planned on doing something more conventional. However a few things came together, and the timing was right. I’m taking a calculated risk. I’ve been wanting to transition my career into a slightly different direction, but the truth is I haven’t kept my technical skills as sharp as I would have liked; for a variety of reasons. Having a computer engineering background, I would currently do an okay job in a technical interview, but I’d rather take a few months to work on a few personal projects I’ve been wanting to do and get up to speed on the latest trends. For the past several years I’ve been working in the IT enterprise world, but I wasn’t programming on a day to day basis. I was trying to come up with a few ideas on how to accomplish this. Then, I found Hacker School. [Edit: Hacker School was renamed to Recurse Center shortly after publishing, read about it here: https://www.recurse.com/blog/77-hacker-school-is-now-the-recurse-center]

If you have no idea what Hacker School is, you should visit https://www.hackerschool.com. They describe it best; it’s like a writer’s retreat, for programmers.

I thought Hacker School would make a good transition into a technical role, and a great way to make sure my skills are up to par with the latest trends. I applied last year, but I completed my application in a rush- so I wasn’t surprised I didn’t get in (they have since modified their admission process a bit, so you can apply any time). I haven’t given up on it yet (so if someone at Hacker School is reading this, and you like what you see- you know how to contact me!), but I also realized I needed to finish some stuff here at home before moving on. For this reason, I decided I’m going to be doing my own developer retreat/bootcamp at home. I won’t be able to have the mentors they provide, or interact with other students, but I think it’s still worthwhile. Right now my programming portfolio is a bit thin, so this is my chance to improve it. I’m working on an outline of the “curriculum” and the projects I want to cover, will be making some modifications and posting it here later. If you want to check out my progress, subscribe to the blog via your favorite RSS reader. I’m putting together an email newsletter too, you can subscribe to that.

Did you know I also started a podcast with my brother? Go and listen to episode 5 where I talk more in depth about my decision to do this. Then subscribe and keep listening! GoCodeYourself.com

I’m just hoping it all works out in the end.

If you want to send some positive karma my way, or if you have any suggestions, here’s how to find me!

“I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.” – David Bowie