Becoming a Front End Developer – Diary 2

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Friday and Saturday were filled mostly with things that support my development work, but are not development itself. Very important stuff, but still leaves me feeling unproductive despite the number of things accomplished.

First, a brief philosophical foray. Why am I doing all this? Well, it’s MMM‘s early retirement plan coupled with one of my own ideas: regular sabbaticals. One-sentence summary of early retirement: save an extreme amount of money so that you can retire in as little as 9 years of work (I will probably not hit such an ambitious goal, but I am still aiming for 15 years). My sabbaticals are multipurpose: accelerated education so that I can work (read: make and save more money) more effectively, recover from stresses, reassess my direction, and simply not postpone all enjoyment until after retirement. I’ve saved up a lot after only two years of working, so I can afford to* take this sabbatical.**

Today I researched a few hacker schools. I think that it’s definitely worth taking a look at these. Learning on my own may be more effective, or it may be less. I can’t deny the value of having a mentor and guided projects, provided the costs are affordable. For these reasons, has risen to the top of my list so far: 12 weeks of remote, project-oriented mentorships that cost far less than relocating to Hacker School in California to pay 19k in tuition. Bonus: I can start on any Monday, unlike some schools that only start every few months. Assuming I don’t find a job where I can learn while I earn money (and that I don’t mind getting tied up for three months), I’ll have to make a real decision on whether to follow a program or not.

OK, that’s the why behind this whole venture. Now for the how. Today I spent quite a bit of time setting up my environment and thinking about how to define and measure success. This blag is a great start, but I’ll need something fine-grained to use hour-by-hour, not just at the end of the day. Tools I’m familiar with: Todoist and Trello (task lists), Toggl (time tracker), RescueTime (productivity measure), and GitHub (portfolio of work completed during this period). I’m also throwing my ideas into Evernote. And those are just the tools. I spent some time today figuring out how to make sure that I’m taking maximum advantage of my time. Ironically, that turned into wasting a couple hours on Quora and several other websites in which talking about productivity kills productivity itself. Let’s mark this item as… in progress. I’m sure I won’t totally get how to best make use of my time until it’s all over.

Now to the only actual skill acquisition I made today. I signed up for (and completed part of)  a short self-paced Git(Hub) course on Udacity. I’d like to get that sort of thing out of the way quickly so I can focus on developing instead of supporting the work of developing. Git is kind of critical because I need to build a portfolio online, and that’s one of the best ways to do so.

Tomorrow, Sunday, is a busy day, so I may not be able to do as much as I did today. It’s somewhat ironic to me that my busiest days are during the weekend.

* I can afford it in that I can live for several months before running out of funds. I may not be able to afford it in that I may be losing potential income and delaying retirement. The goal is to gain skills so that I can get to the finish line faster, but I can’t predict the future or whether my schemes will actually play out. But I’m optimistic.

** This paragraph has four colons.


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