Happy Sorta-Anniversary

Happy day to me. Five Months of blogging, much of which has dried up of late. Sorry, millions of readers.

Heap of Fun

So in the Software Engineering Track with Bloc, we are aiming to dive a bit deeper into designing software so as to understand the choices and tradeoffs of various design decisions. I began this track a few weeks ago and it has been kicking my butt.

The 25-hour per week commitment had normally, for me at least, had been very doable and certainly was a bit lumpy. Some assignments I found easy, others were really hard, but overall I didn’t doubt my decision to sell my business and change my career. The SET program has been difficult enough that I brought it up in therapy and was starting to doubt myself and my abilities. I haven’t had a challenge like this since Harvard where I took upper division classes to challenge myself and was lucky to get out of there alive let alone with a ‘B’.

In a way, the difficulty makes me glad, because it means I am learning and am in the right program, and will give me some confidence going forward, whether in technical interviews for a job or when facing a challenge building something for myself. Pollyanna-ish self affirmations aside, though, I am in the thick of it and as mentioned it is kicking my ass. Learning to code to implement algorithms and data structures is a far different proposition than making websites. My code is already much cleaner and I am thinking about processor cycles and other performance-impacting design choices that I honestly never considered before.

This morning I was fantasizing about quitting the program. I spoke with my awesome mentor Cyle and asked him where I stood. I was considering freezing the program to catch up. He mentioned that I was having the least trouble of his current slate of students. Now he could be lying and he has something of a financial interest in keeping me in the program, but why the superlative? This is not to brag. I write this because programming is the hardest intellectual pursuit I have chased in the last decade and even when I am doing apparently pretty great I feel like slime a lot of the time. Now I feel like slime a lot anyway but that is what weekly therapy is for.

Conclusion

Anything worth doing is difficult, at least at times. I get a genuine rush from making something work, from figuring out a puzzle, and from showing off my creations. SET is helping me learn how to make the beautiful, concise, clever code that I saw in CodeWars katas. At times, I think I am a stupid idiot and get stuck for hours or days. A lesson I am learning is pulling out of the tailspin and getting back to my training to dissect problems and talk myself through them.