A busy July

My journey has continued at an accelerated pace this July.

As an update on my progress, here’s a little about what I’ve been working on in the last few weeks.

Programming

At present, my short-term challenge goal is to contribute additional tests and data types to Aphyr’s meangirls library of CRDTs (Convergent Replicated Data Types). I am working to meet this challenge by solidifying the conceptual and practical prerequisites I will need. Conceptually, I have been learning more about CRDTs through studying some of the key research and mathematics behind them. Practically, I have been improving my Ruby skills through developing less complex projects.

My current practice project is a command-line implementation of a hangman game, which will feature inter-operating files and classes, tests, and documentation. I chose to assign myself a simpler problem so I can focus more directly on the learning the mechanics of structuring projects and writing tests in the context of a problem that I can easily reason about. I’ve been discovering just how important that choice was as I investigate and correct unexpected results from processes that had previously seemed straightforward. As part of this exercise, I am also making the transition to writing with the VIM text editor.

I am still working on this  project now, but I intend to publish a version of it or a similar project on GitHub soon, as well as sharing some of my more interesting work from Project Euler thus far.

Mathematics

I am also continuing my study of discrete mathematics. Most recently, I’ve been working on Tom Jenkyns and Ben Stephenson’s Fundamentals of Discrete Math for Computer Science: A Problem-Solving Primer  (ISBN: 978-1447140689). I highly recommend it to other independent learners.

Computer Networks

In addition, I have branched out into learning more about the core technologies and history of the Internet through University of Washington and Michigan courses on Coursera. I believe that investing the time to learn about network engineering now will help me to communicate more effectively with specialists in future software jobs. Similarly, learning more about the history of computing will enable me to ask more incisive questions of current contacts and future colleagues.

I’ve been doing this all part-time while finishing my last university job. It has been a very busy July indeed! This weekend, I’m planning to take a little time off and visit my family. I am so thankful for their patience and support in this time of transition, and I am really looking forward to relaxing with them for a few days before diving back in.

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