I read (past and presently) a lot of business and finance books as well. Also tons of books teaching soft skills, which is hugely important.
When you got blocked or felt like you hit a wall, what did you do?
I am also working through MIT OCW classes, currently on 6.0001 (Introduction to CS using Python).
Just a few questions:
- What specific courses did you take?
- Did you complete the psets and quizzes / exams to test what you learned?
- Did you buy, rent, or download the suggested books?
- Did you listen to all the lectures or skip around? How about recitations (where available)?
I always watch lectures speed up to 1.2x speed and watch them in order. If topics were particularly beautiful or interesting, I'll watch multiple times. If I don't get something, rewind, hear it over and over until I get it. Still don't get it? Google it. Find other explanations. Don't move on until you get it. Can't get it? Then accept the content is too advanced at this moment, and you simply need to work your way up to it. Very important to remember: don't get upset with yourself.
I did psets maybe half the time. Always took notes. Flashcards. Flashcards. Flashcards. Flashcards. Also flashcard apps too. Definitely did recitations when available. Did research on all the textbooks and read maybe half, just the ones that have been deemed "classics" and great literature. I usually purchase physical copy books or kindle.
Also, how did you decide which psets or labs to do, and which to skip?
IMHO, curiosity and desire to learn form the basis of any good technologist career. And arguably they are very important for a happy and fulfilled life. I applaud your tenacity.
You're story is inspiring of course and I have 2 questions if I may. I've had similar issues although I have a lot of support; mostly chronic un(der)employment; substance abuse and briefly was quasi-homeless. I finally have a few waiter & landscaping gigs and a roof so def lucky AF, but now that I've ticked off the bottom few runs on Maslow's heirarchy I wou
- What percentage of your success was hard work, what percentage aptitude and "nature" / intelligence and what percentage was luck?
- In the way people describe love as "you just know"; how sure of programming and your path were you?
- AFTER coming up from rock bottom; did you have a long term goal or simply stability and how did you manage yourself mentally to continue?
I taught myself programming, I enjoy the ability to understand technology and solve everyday issues as well as build things. I am stable; but trying to decide whether tech is a field I should pursue directly; or a component of the skillset I will need for my career. It's tough to determine if I am at a ceiling because I can't stay motivated, it isn't for me, or I am focusing on the wrong vertical (eg app Dev vs Dev ops vs project management)
I think a remarkable part of this that no one has mentioned is that the article mentioned you struggled with homelessness at least at one point. Can you talk more about your experience being homeless? Did you have difficulties finding the ability to get your basic needs met while studying? How did you support yourself? What did you take away from the experience?
Wanted to know how long it usually takes you to get through a typical CS/Math course and how much time you spend on it a week?
Also how long does it take for you to get through the readings? Some of those books you mentioned are lengthy, especially Mathematics for Computer Science!
For instance, was there whiteboard coding?
What position were you hired for at Google?
I just don't understand why we need to donate to OCW. Why can't MIT with its mega endowment fund OCW? Why do ordinary people need to donate to these mega institutions to fund things that mega endowed entities (the government, these mega universities) should be paying for. It's not like OWC is Wikipedia. OCW is associated with MIT. Seems unfair to crowdfund something and then let MIT get the brand recognition. Especially since MIT is so rich.
If someone can use OCW to advance their knowledge and opportunity in society, and then later in their career voluntarily contribute back something, that is a good model for some people.
Contrast this with the government's role in creating a vocational structure that saddles students with enormous debt right at the start of their working life. Also, the arguably opportunistic behavior of the lending market and universities and the devaluing of education via diploma mills.
And contrast that with how it was a few decades ago when the government funded universities and a summer job was enough to pay your yearly tuition.
The current loan system is an awful mess of perverse incentives. When people talk about what the government should be doing, they're not talking about the current system.
Though that sounds like a great mission statement I feel MIT's core mission is probably more along the lines of giving their students a world class education and of course producing world class research from their staff. Although your mission statement fits perfectly with OCW's purpose.
> OCW can't really be that much of a money pit considering the resources at this university's disposal.
It's true it might not be that big of a money pit relative to their total resources, but I figure a money pit is still a money pit and if they are looking to cut something it is likely to be a money pit. Honestly I just hope they never cut the program. I've thoroughly enjoyed MIT OCW courses and they have prepared me for some of my university classes.
$13.2 billion dollar endowment.
Operating budget of $3.3 billion dollars.
$1.6 billion dollars in sponsored research.
I think my wallet can safely stay in my pocket.
If you want to donate directly here is the link:
Given that this self-taught dev was given an interview, would I be better off applying without listing my CS degree and just highlight professional experience, GitHib, etc and say I am "self-taught"?
Maybe they have a quota of new undergrad from a specific school per year (If they assume that every school they go to has at least X% of candidates) or an overall quota.
"no longer hiring fresh undergraduates for the Software Engineer position" might only be for your school for this year.
Also most companies would consider "fresh undergraduates" people graduating soon or who graduated less than 12 months ago so you still have time.
In general you don't want to spam a company for the same position, it's good to wait for 8-12 months before re-applying, so if your desired position usually accept fresh new-grad, you might want to retry before [your graduation date + 12 months] but after at least ~8 months.
> Given that this self-taught dev was given an interview
He isn't a fresh undegraduate, check out his linkedin, he seem to have around 2 years of Dev experience, and 3 of freelance.
So he probably didn't fall in the "new grad" track.
Good eye. Makes a lot more sense.
> What position was this for? Maybe they have a quota ...
The generalist full-time Software Engineer position. That seems likely, though the wording in the rejection email made it seem like they were permanently winding down recruitment of undergrads for that position.
Everything worked out, as I landed a solid SWE gig at a great company. It just threw me for a loop to think that having a recent graduation date would hurt my application when compared to a non-CS "self-taught" candidate. Thanks for the reply, the info you cited clarifies the situation completely.
Maybe you just didn't make the cut?
Also possible that I was referred to a particular position which doesn't consider new grads. Do you happen to know if your acquaintances get hired on as fulltime SWE or something different(SRE, residency, etc)?
So while this dude's "degree" might be substandard (MIT-OCW vs. MIT-MIT), I'd argue their education – at least in terms of applicability and self-direction – is equal, if not superior.
I was thinking of starting some live study circles for the next topic.
I've personally had been through something similar, albeit not in such radical way. My parents bought me the eastern block's Apple II clone when I was at age of 8, but despite that, later in my teenage years I had to constantly overcome various forms of pressure – i.e. this computer won't make your living when you grow up, so stop f*cking around and get more interested in your high school material, because as it goes it seems you won't be even able to finish it. We're kind of joking now w/ my parents around that, but boy - it was no fun back then.
After all, many lectures already have subtitles, some lectures were produced outside the U.S. or not produced with Federal funding, some lectures were produced by institutions that may disagree with the interpretation of the law advanced in the Berkeley case, some lectures were produced by institutions that may not have been targeted with such claims, and some lectures are hosted by entities other than the institutions that produced them.
Some courses have video lectures, some do not. OCW varies in what resources are available from course to course.