Reading and course list H2 2019 // Some things I should be doing every day

Posted on Friday, June 28th, 2019

I need to step up some of the learning that I do on my own, outside of my job. Despite kids, household responsibilities, social calendar, marriage, hobbies, working out, ... kids, I am at a point in my "reset" of my career where it's not enough to work only during working hours if I really want to succeed.

This outside learning comes in the form of reading books, taking courses, and actually practicing by studying code, building, and writing down lessons.

I am about 6 months into my new team and I feel like I haven't done this very adequately. But by allocating just a little bit of time each day, it might make everything seem less daunting. The problem is that I often feel overwhelmed by 1) being able to do well at work and 2) the sheer size of the list of things I want to read and learn.

For #1, it's different this time around from when I was learning to be a software engineer the first time around. Taking a step back and a step down to go a different path feels different from striking out for the first time. They're both difficult-- I remember how hard it was the first time. But it's difficult to fully let go of that hard-earned feeling of competence to humble myself again and be confronted with everything I don't know. There isn't much I can do about this besides grit my teeth and bear through it. It shall pass, and the reward is great, but I have to remember that it will take time.

For #2, I think my failing here is I have let the size of the list paralyze me, instead of slowly and methodically chipping away at it. My discipline has become lax due to prioritizing my family and hobbies, which isn't a bad thing and isn't something I plan on stopping. I just need to make sure I am fitting in just a little bit every day.

I constantly go back to this online book called Apprenticeship Patterns (available online too).

This post and hopefully more frequent subsequent posts is inspired by it, and the patterns of "Share what you learn," "Expose your ignorance," "Create your curriculum," and a host of other patterns that really speak to my current station.

Okay, so my current reading list/course list that I am trying to commit to for the rest of this half include:

Nice to have:

  • Accelerated C++
  • Hadoop: The Definitive Guide

Every day, I am going to try to do just 1 lecture from one of the courses, and 1 chapter from one of the books. I don't think I'll pressure myself to write notes for the books, but I have always found that a helpful way for me to feel like I'm absorbing the material.

I am also hoping to write more blog posts on what I learn as I go, without feeling too pressured to make them polished. Get ready to read a lot of posts that only half make sense!