Impostor syndrome relapse

Welp, I’m back on the job hunt, and am self-diagnosing myself with a strong case of Impostor Syndrome. This is something I’ve grappled with before, but is exacerbated by being out of the web-development game for so long (~8 months). I’ve worked on a few pet projects here and there since leaving my last position, but that world moves so fast that keeping up—even when in the thick of it—is difficult.

I’m hoping to rectify the situation by doing some deep dives and focused learning, as well as reviewing past work and material. I know there are a lot of roles out there I could fill and succeed in even in my rusty current state, but I don’t want to be merely adequate; I want to excel. I’m also branching out and learning Swift + iOS 8, and finally getting around to playing around with Python to complement my Ruby knowledge. My current core skill-set of Javascript+CSS+HTML is strong, but there are certainly changes that are fresh that I haven’t dug into yet.

While this is a mainly dormant blog, if anyone is curious, here is my LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn itself is fairly fallow in some respects, but my profile is there, complete, and current.

Altered coding

Coding while stoned is such a double edged sword: you will see new approaches to old problems, but you will also go on wild-bug-chases that are rivaled only by some of your earliest/stupidest programming blunders. The “aha!” moment, when it comes, may be ridiculous, so it helps to laugh at it. Coincidentally, certain substances predispose one to laughter.

I don’t think any sort of altered state is a good default for day-to-day problem-solving, but regimented and used strategically and sparingly, it can yield good rewards. As with most things, careful reflection is important to maximize future potential.

some thoughts on language

I should probably learn a second (natural) language. I know the rudiments of a few aside from being a half-way decent native English speaker, but can’t fluently speak any of them, nor understand anything but simple expressions. I feel like such an acquisition would change me as a person in important ways.

It’s fun(ny) to ponder how I’ve spent more time studying designed languages that are interpreted and/or compiled into machine code instructions for CPUs to run, as opposed to learning new ways to communicate to people around me.

The parallels between study of & experience of using a natural language versus the study of & experience using a programming language are certainly there: picking up of bad habits; development of slang, shorthand, idioms, and the like; proclivity to sticking to what you know, e.g., solving a problem using the methods or messages you’re familiar with; merging of elements of one language into another over time, or spin-off dialects; dynamic languages being able to modify themselves (e.g., through “monkey patching” in a language like Ruby) and natural languages being subject to neologism and appropriation of rules for other purposes.

But there are of course differences: there is not often the equivalent of verbacious purple prose when solving a particular programming problem; those that learn and acquire proficiency in programming languages tend to know—or at least have a working knowledge of—several if not a dozen languages, while those that speak natural languages may be bi- or tri-lingual and leave it at that; and of course speaking a natural language to another person may just be chit-chat, random, gratuitous, or even unnecessary, while whilst programming, one usually wants to write as much code to solve a problem or get a desired result, and anything extra is fluff. (A notable exception to this would be the act of “commenting” code: leaving instructions or documentation about why a certain piece of code was written to either the programmer him/herself or to any future inspectors/caretakers/users of the code.)

Welp, just thoughts. I should probably go study some Latin. Or Lisp.