oct 11 2020 | 3 mins
I'm confident that self-guided learning is something I am willing to remain committed to, at least for now.
After all, it's how I've come to where I am in my journey, and it is an endeavour that has remained a fairly deliberate one.
The reason I'm teaching myself programming through my own discipline is that the internet is a giant repository of resources, and it hasn't been difficult to come across high-quality learning platforms online.
That said, I do believe that there's a major catch with the self-guided path.
For someone like me, who has gone through the traditional path of higher education, switching gears to learning on my own has proven to require a fair amount of unlearning.
There is no immediate network of classmates with whom to work on group assignments, nor have I been assessed on my performance by someone other than myself or through someone else's criteria.
I suppose that the only criteria that actually matter are building up a portfolio (through deploying proprietary software projects), and ultimately landing employment to mark the success of this career transition I've embarked on.
With that said, I've been intentional on prioritising structure to my learning in order to make tangible progress and not get lost in this process.
A good portion of devising this structure has come from reaching out to industry contacts (old and new) who have been kind enough to provide some perspective.
And, suffice it to say that the relative ease of accessing this kind of career mentorship has only corroborated my desire to tackle a field I have a long way to go to grow an expertise in.
With the new-found information, it's taken some time for me to sit with the insights I've gained, to fully process them and substantiate them through further research, and to apply them to my unique journey going forward.
I've been rather meticulous about incorporating their advice because I'm a firm believer that each and every one of us has the tendency to slip in some personal bias in our perspectives.
Since this blog has mainly been an open journal on my transition to software engineering, I also anticipate that my perspective on this platform will be infused with my own bias, and that my perspective will be prone to ongoing development.
With that said, my new plan for now is to first focus on building up my software engineering portfolio and, only then, to pick up data structures and algorithms so that I can competently solve the elusive algorithmic challenges inherent to the recruitment processes of tech companies.
I will be devoting the next three months (mid-October to mid-January) on the former pursuit, and three months from then (mid-January to mid-April) to focus on the latter.
And, once I feel ready, I will be trying my luck at getting into a highly-selective programming retreat, which I hope will be an opportunity to collaborate with the actors of New York City's vibrant software industry and to continue honing my craft in an intensive learning environment.
Since the hard part of defining structure and direction is now done and dusted, I'm excited to dive deeper into actual programming-- once again.
Time to get back to work! :)