Saturday, March 12, 2011

aaaaaaand pause.


Okay! New job! Lots of fun stuff to learn, lots of desire to charge ahead and be productive and prove myself and learn more stuff and holy crap.

So, yeah. Writing hasn't been on the list. My brain has been tired.

Work is fun, though! One thing no one tells you when you get to the senior level is that they stop giving you stuff to do. It's my responsibility to go around asking questions, come up with a list of things that need fixing, and usually my responsibility to prioritize the list. (It has to be a list of things nobody wants to or can fix, of course, because otherwise, why am I here?) I check that list against what my bosses think is important, but mostly I'm self-directed.

Right now, I'm working with Team X. Team X's lead is a PhD, which rarely bodes well for code quality. It's extremely interesting to start diving into this system and see what makes me (and the inevitable comparison, my Danger colleagues) different in how we create software. The particular thing I'm looking at, for example, has no meaningful logging. There's no way to tell how many requests it's handling each minute, let alone of what kind. It seizes up every so often (1-8 times/day) and gets killed and restarted. There's talk of completely replacing it, but that doesn't really make any sense until you know what it's already doing--how many requests it has to handle, for example.

Team X is also on their first iteration of a development methodology called Scrum, so they've actually set goals for a 2-week period and they're a bit anxious about reaching them. So far I seem to be making the right choices about how to work with them, and I'm being reasonably efficient, considering I just learned the programming language a few weeks ago, and I know nothing about modern systems administration. I start doing something, discover it's difficult or tedious, then divert off to writing a tool to make it less tedious.

Anyway, there's months of work to do on this project alone. I feel like I should be doing more amazing things, more quickly; but I always feel that way, so I'm ignoring it.

I am sinking a lot of energy into ramping up, and I don't like how that takes me away from Anna and J, both physically and emotionally. We'll work it out, and it should settle down with time.

I did some more research on grad school, since a Stanford MSCS graduate at work pointed out that they have a continuing education thing you can do if your employer is a member (which is very cheap). It's the only way to do a master's part-time there, and it gets you a discount, so Stanford would only be 150% as much as Santa Clara, instead of 190%.
Anna: So, Stanford is twice as expensive.
Chris: Yep.
Anna: Is the Stanford name worth twice as much?
Chris: Yeah, it really is.
Anna: Yep.
As I was telling my team lead, the sad thing is that some amount of the Stanford coursework is likely to be online, so I suspect Santa Clara may actually be a better education. But the prestige and networking of Stanford really is worth the investment, even for my offbeat ambition of wanting to teach computer science.

I guess next up is the GREs. Because I don't already have enough going on.

1 comment:

  1. Good luck with the GRE's, although you probably don't need luck. When I took them, I was very worried about the math section - I hadn't had a math course in four years - but I actually scored higher on the math than verbal.