Walking uphill

June 12, 2009

I don’t belong here / I gotta move on dear

Filed under: Uncategorized — walkenji @ 5:58 pm

I’m back on track again, with a two-part post. I’ve been rather distracted with real life, which has interfered with my programming. And I’m also overwhelmed by the amount of information on the internet, which I feel that I should understand… right now.

Learning:

I really want to develop my skills, and I can only do that by using them. I struggle to find the time, and this is because I need to prioritise my goals. I’ll start by listing what my current goals are (in terms of computers).
1. Become a competent C programmer, with the ability to debug programs and understand the low level design.
2. Become proficient in Python and complete the Python challenges and Project Euler.
3. Get my websites up and running, since one doesn’t exist anymore and the other is just sitting there, as well as posting regularly to this blog, of course.

To do this, I just need to accept that is ok to forget about the other priorities for an hour or two at a time, and just focus one thing. The bigger picture can be so distracting sometimes, but we start our learning by becoming an expert in one area and then building on that.

Work:

I’m really enjoying my work right now. I’ve just gotten back from a week off and I’m recharged and ready to focus again. My work can be challenging at times and involves supporting legacy systems which are written in C. This is one of the main reasons I want to develop my C skills.
I really admire the people that I work with, but I need to accept the fact that they are (A) older than me and (B) have been working/programming for longer than me. Instead of being overwhelmed by their knowledge/skill, I just need to slowly work on improving myself and ignore the gap between us. At some point in the past, they were where I am and so I can achieve what they have to.
One workmate is incredibly organised and has neat folders for each application he works on. While I admire that, I also accept the fact that I’m not organised. If I had those folders, I honestly would never open them or look at them, and it would be a struggle to maintain them with any meaningful information. I can incorporate the things that he does that would help me in the way that I work. I tend to keep a lot of things in my head, but this is not always good in terms of documentation. Basically, he is setting a good benchmark for me to work towards.
The other workmate I admire (ok, I work with a lot of smart people, but I’m only focussing on two right now), is really really good at programming. He writes really complicated programs with reusable code and has a deep understanding of C and .NET. But as I’ve said, he’s had years of experience doing this. So when I think about improving my programming skills, I’m thinking about improving to the point where I can work at his skill level, or the level of other talented programmers out on the internet. Being around people like this, in the workplace as well as cyberspace, makes me realise how much I want to learn. But then it also makes me want to do everything and try everything at once. My focus for now is to pick one area and work on improving my skills in that area first. So for now, Python for fun and C for work are the two programming skills I want to focus on.

And on a final note, I’ve just completed a good week at work. I’m working on putting together a .NET program to view parts of images, which calls a C dll. I’m having fun with getting the C dll to return a struct, which also contains an pointer to an array of structs. However, it feels really good to be writing something again from scratch, planning the design of the program and solving problems in the development phase. I’ve had some fun moments such as when I sat there wondering “How do I add a menu bar to this form?”, simply because most of tasks have been supporting existing programs, and I haven’t really written any .NET code from scratch since uni days. But it’s all coming back to me, and so is my love of coding.

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