Planning: September 2019 Edition

September 03, 2019

Things I Want To Be Amazeballs At

Full-Stack Engineering

  • React
  • Node.js
  • Python
  • Maybe Java???

Figure out what kind of engineer I want to be

Stuck between:

  • Full-Stack
  • Back-end
  • Systems
  • Data

Get Really Good at Computer Science & Algorithms

  • Algorithms because ...well, you know
  • But also I want a full-fledged undergrad CS education


My goal here is two-fold:

  • minimum amount of effort for maximum gain
  • focus on local SF Bay Area

My interest does not lie in helping folks new to the industry. I don't know if that's tabboo to say, but I want my branding focus to be very focused on San Francisco, existing engineers, but still empathy-based. There's a lot of folks who will push me to spend my energy on teaching newer folks, they're distracting me.

Options (double star means I like it)

  • Streaming ** Twitter ** Speaking
  • Lesson creation (I like it if I prioritize against my distraction above)
  • Blogging
  • ??? Other ideas here ???

I think I want to stick to Twitter (I'm good at it), local meetups & west coast conferences, and the occasional lesson creation for Egghead. I don't want to become a teacher, just a good engineer.

Let's throw out some ideas of specific things I want to do or learn over the next year or so.

Note: Doing all of this is unrealistic. I know. I'm just throwing ideas.

  • I want to build 52 web apps in 52 weeks based on the "How I Learn" post I wrote the other day.
  • I want to learn 2 new languages or frameworks (mastering Node & familiarizing with Python?)
  • I want to read ~6 programming books that are more about my career or higher level understandings of programming. Textbooks or real books.
  • I want to work through the [OSSU] coursework for 20 hours a week for a year.
  • I want to go to 3 meetups a month each month. 2 regular, 1 new.
  • I want to attend 3 conferences in 2020 (West Coast only).
  • I want to have a passing understanding of backend work, systems work, and data work so I can know which I like the best and want to push forward in my career in.
  • I want to be an open source maintainer of 1 project.
  • I want to write an email newsletter every month. (This is like zero effort.)
  • I want INBOX ZERO.
  • I want to work through Udemy and Egghead coursework for all the web dev stuff I need to be better at. I don't have specific numbers for this.
  • I want to watch 2 talks a week, one on an existing topic and one new.
  • I want to read 2 articles a week, one current and one mind-expanding
  • I want to have 15 lessons published on Egghead.

What's my dream job?

Let's say that I'm given a magic wand to do anything in the world at any company in the world. If it's all going to work out, I would love to be a Software Engineer working on payments at scale. (I'm already there, actually!)

Let's look at some other companies that I love's job listings for some sort of Payments Engineer.


  • Buzzwords buzzwords, then object-oriented programming + Java
  • Distributed Systems
  • Concurrency, resiliency, caching
  • BS/MS in Computer Science
  • NoSQL experience (I'm gonna substitute that to mean NoSQL and SQL experience thx)
  • Knowledge of AWS and Azure and stuff


  • Build APIs, services, and systems
  • Ruby, Scala, and Go


  • Bachelor's in CS ugh stop
  • Uses Java (but open to any language)
  • High-scale, algorithms, APIs

What is between me and these roles?

What's between me and these dream jobs?

Let's start with the branding because that's pretty simple:

  • Continue tweeting, occasionally writing, and become a local fixture in SF
  • Streaming is not worth the effort, but keeping Egghead in the backburner is good

Now, for the learning. I believe this should be split into two areas:

Short Term

  • Get really fucking good at React
  • Get really fucking good at Node

That's it.

What's the best way to do this from the list?

  • Andrew Mead's Node Course
  • Andrew Mead's React Course
  • Read 2 articles + watch 2 talks a week + keep up with new developments
  • Build 1 10-hour app a week

What on the list doesn't fit this as easily? Should I do it?

  • Open Source Maintainer?

I think that's it. DOES THIS HELP MY GOALS? I don't know! I need to look into this more.

Long Term

  • Get really good at the interview process for these places (Algoooos)
  • Have work that demonstrates that I know how to build back-end software at scale

    • I'm not sure this is possible in open source. This seems like stuff I should be pursuing with my brag document at work.
  • Understand CS fundamentals

What's the best way to do this?

  • Build 1 10-hour app a week
  • Learn 1-2 new programming languages over the next year (Py and Java, probably)
  • Go through my self-made OSSU CS curriculum (101 in each topic, go further if I want)
  • Read through some essential books, always have one on hand

In Sum

Here is everything I am prioritizing doing after my current todos are done.

  1. Finish Andrew Mead's Node and React courses.
  2. Build one 10-12 hour front-end, full-stack, or back-end app a week.
  3. Learn Python and Java, enough to be dangerous.
  4. Keep up with web development by watching 2 videos/mini-courses a week, and reading 2 articles a week.
  5. Pick up classic programmer books. There's no goal for reading them but keep them on hand and read through as they come up. (Will come up with list later.)
  6. After finishing the web dev courses, start going through my self-made CS curriculum.
  7. Continue tweeting, with occasional blogging and newsletter writing.
  8. Create 1 lesson a month for Egghead.
  9. Give 2 talks in the next year.
  10. Attend 3 conferences in the next year.
  11. Attend 3 meetups a month -- 2 in my world, 1 outside of my world.
  12. Become an expert at algorithms

That's it. I know that's a lot, but that's it.

My todos will come from this list and nothing but this list. These are my only priorities.

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