On learning and preparing for a career change


On my path to becoming a front-end engineer, what did I do right and what would I have done differently? I decided to write my thoughts down before I forgot them. Why post it here? Maybe it’s of use to others contemplating a similar move or my future self.

Question 1: Looking back, among the things I  did to make getting a new job easier, what would I have done / what would I have learned differently?

  1. I would have started working on open source projects from Day 1 or as soon as possible. Easy way to enter would have been trying to fix bugs on open source projects on Github.
  2. I would have tried to get non-profit / not-for-profit work.
  3. I would started attending meetups much earlier
  4. I would have started interview preparation as a part of the learning process. When learning a topic, I would search ‘topic + interview questions’ to make sure I could answer those before moving on to the next topic.
  5.  I would have started algorithm / data-structures coding questions at hacker rank & such other websites much earlier

Question 2: What I did right in my learning process?

  1. Using Anki to make flash cards so I could be fluent with the syntax and concept vocabulary.
    1. Derek Sivers – Memorizing a programming language using spaced repetition software
    2. Jack Kinsella – The Janki Method redefines
  2. Putting together a monthly learning schedule for the next few months. Here is a sample of what my learning schedule for Jan 2016 looked like. This topic definitely requires its own post.learning-calendar-sample
  3. Putting together a daily learning schedule: Looking at what my typical day is, what I do, targeting a number of hours each day where I should study, planning precisely when those hours are going to be, and logging what I actually do, reflecting and modifying my schedule.
  4. Putting learning over entertainment – except the life-saving sanity-making joy of climbing
  5. Keeping my perspective and knowing that, when I am learning something new, I tend to feel that I really, really suck before it all starts clicking together and I start feeling better about myself. That it’s OK to be a slow or fast or whatever learner I am – it doesn’t matter as long as I am learning. And knowing that I really enjoy, and thrive on learning and doing.
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