Well, it’s been a long week here at DBC. We learned rails over the weekend (not to mention I put up this blog – still proud of that!) and started a 5-day group project on Wednesday. My group is working on a rommate expense-sharing application modeled off my spreadsheet from back when I tracked expenses for the townhouse on the Upper West Side. It’s been wonderful working on something that could have real applications rather than toy projects – at some point I will write about how I feel about creating games while learning programming.

The roommate application fits under the umbrella of “things that could be good for the world” because I believe increased communal living among adults and nuclear families could be a wonderful thing for western society. Many people suffer from loneliness that partially results from not having a nuclear family or from being isolated to only their nuclear family on a daily basis, which could be alleviated if people belonged to larger, loosely affiliated groups that share spaces and responsibilities. My dream is to someday convince a bunch of my friends to take over a group of adjacent residences and raise children together as a group, cook and eat dinners as a group, etc. It could be highly efficient and beneficial to overall mental health.

I’ve been putting off giving a lightning talk on some sort of technical topic, which is required of us this week or next. I dislike the idea of looking into something purely to explain it to a group, so I’m sort of hoping that I naturally find the inclination to look into something this weekend. The things I’ve been thinking about throughout this program – natural language processing, statistics, image processing – perhaps one of those.

Other things on my mind – Chicago is a little warmer this week, had a beautiful moment of clarity in a sit spin attempt this morning (otherwise very wobbly on ice), and very hungry. Wondering how I’m perceived by my peers here, wondering whether we will keep in touch after the program.

Literally! I missed my stop on the #80 bus and found myself facing a wrought iron fence that blocked the alley that eventually opened into my street.

Also figuratively! I finally (finally!) set up an acceptable wordpress theme for this personal site and experienced a number of wordpress revelations heavily assisted by Ryan Bahniuk.

I meant to post a wordy update two months ago as I was moving to Chicago. I never wrote this update, so the bulleted Q&A version is below:

  • Why did you move?
    • I decided to quit my job in equity research and partake in DevBootcamp Chicago, a 9-week program that teaches people to be web developers.
  • Why did you decide to quit your job?
    • I think most of you I’ve talked to in person recently (i.e. within the last year) know that I genuinely liked my job and particularly liked the people there. And more of you probably know or could infer that I LOVE excel spreadsheets and quantifying things in general. But ultimately I feel that large-cap equity investing lacks purpose on an individual level (even though it is highly meaningful at the global scale), and the pace of the work wasn’t something I felt keen to sustain.
  • Why this web developer thing?
    • I feel the need to clarify that I’m not a closet computer geek nor do I have ambitions to found the next overvalued tech IPO. I like that programming has becoming a cheap platform for normal people to create useful things, and I like working with logic. I also like learning new things, and paying $12,000 to quickly learn the basic skills to launch an entirely new career sounded like a remarkably efficient use of time and money.
  • How is Chicago vs. New York?
    • Well, I should caveat this statement since it’s only September and Chicago has had wonderful weather the last two months. But, so far, Chicago beats New York soundly. I like New York and the experiences it has to offer, but the experiences that I value most can be found in basically any major city, although here they cost less and are less crowded. The one exception is keeping up figure skating – the skating culture is much bigger here, and with regional competitions coming up, the rink is now regularly filled with young counterclockwise skaters who are much better than me.
  • How is the program going?
    • Not bad! It’s a decent amount of work, but I’m pretty sure I ironically spend less time staring at a computer screen than when I was working. I think I had a bit of a head start compared to the average person who starts here due to the engineering major and my general math-iness, so it hasn’t been as stressful as I had been warned.  The people here are wonderful (I would have expected nothing less, since they are mostly midwestern), and I’ve been extremely impressed with how much work everyone is putting in and how much we’ve already learned in 6 weeks. The program has a strong and positive culture; I chose to come here partially because I wanted to attend yoga classes and learn about “engineering empathy” while also learning about programming, and I’m happy to report those expectations have been met and exceeded!
  • What will you do when you’re done in early October?
    • Not sure yet. My lease ends Jan 31, but I may still try to find a job in Austin or Portland (i.e. somewhere temperate) before winter. I plan to keep figure skating and to pick up learning piano/voice/other music stuff again. I plan to work on some programming-related projects, and probably visit the east coast sometime in November.

Well, that was much wordier than expected. I hope all of you east coast people (and anyone else) are doing well and haven’t forgotten about me!