Getting Ready


There have been 2 things that I have been wanting to do for a while now. Start blogging consistently and learn computer science. I began working on one the latter by enrolling in a Masters in CS at Clemson University this fall. Today I begin working on the former and hope to make both stick by combining the two into one new endeavor. As a self taught developer I have no formal computer science background which gave me some concerns about how well I would be able to handle the workload and concepts of a Masters program. Fortunately Clemson University is beginning a “readiness” course for individuals just like me. It is designed to teach the foundations that a person would need to be successful if they had no formal computer science classes in their past. The course takes a full year to complete, at which point you would begin the normal Masters program. So it’s a long road, but I’m hoping that it will expand on my knowledge and skill as a software engineer.

My goal over the next few years is to blog about the experience and the material that I am learning. Hopefully it will help me to get into a better habit of getting much of what I learn into blog posts. I plan to write one post a week for the duration of the program in this series starting with the second class of the readiness coursework (I just finished the first course without a post). The readiness program is made up of 6 classes over 3 semesters with the following courses:

  1. Procedural Programming (Fall 2020)
  2. Object Oriented Programming (Fall 2020)
  3. Discrete Structures (Spring 2021)
  4. Algorithms and Data Structures (Spring 2021)
  5. Computer Organization (Summer 2021)
  6. Operating Systems (Summer 2021)

This should prepare me for beginning a Master’s degree starting in the fall of 2021.

What about blogging? What is that going to look like? I’m planning to get into a routine of posting a blog to this series once a week, most likely on the weekend, recapping the learnings and concepts from the prior week. I am hoping that the elaboration process of composing the blog post will make me think through the material at a deeper level as well as expose those parts of the material that I don’t fully grasp. That is the level of commitment that I am making to myself but I also hope that this process allows me to become more consistent in blogging in general. I’m hoping to intersperse other things that I learn throughout the week in separate posts not connected to this series. There is a lot that I do in my daily work as a software engineer that I think blogging would be beneficial to. Again the idea being that the more I force myself to elaborate on a topic the better I will learn and retain it. There are a lot of reasons for a person to start a blog and I think it’s important to understand the reasoning behind why I am starting this one. For me it’s going to be about organizing my thoughts and learning. There is also the idea of going from a consumer to a creator. I have consumed posts and tutorials for a long time without creating similar content myself. Which is different for me as my hobbies are all about creating. Making things with my hands - woodworking, leatherworking - as well as building small side projects as I try to learn new languages or programming concepts. At heart I want this to be about me creating more than I consume, or at least getting closer to net-zero. I’m not worried about the numbers I reach, it’s great if that happens and people find the information helpful. The content is going to be geared toward me. Both past and future. I hope to create content that I wished existed when I needed it. If it helps others who are struggling that’s great, but my real goal is helping my future self grow from the process of sustained learning.

Here’s to starting new things!

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