The Two Big Questions I Have

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Disclaimer: This article is part of the weekly (untitled) blog series (A job searching journey following a coding bootcamp + recent college grad). Due to the Christmas and New Years, I have combined Week 2 + 3 + 4 into this article. And by the way, Happy New Year!

#HolidayMood

In the last two weeks, I started checking LinkedIn again. I redownloaded my Instagram app (I uninstalled the app during bootcamp). Here’s what I found. I was surprised (and not surprised) how people could maintain their productivity before the two big holidays: Christmas and New Year’s Eve. After the bootcamp ended, I got into some dilemma issue. On one hand, I wanted to grind till Jan 1. I wanted to be one of those productive people. On the other hand, I couldn’t get my mind off the fact that I was very much in holiday mood. Here’s what happened during those two weeks:

  1. I completely messed up my sleep schedule. (Slept at 3/4am and woke up at 11am/noon) — still adjusting as of Jan 8 2021.
  2. I spent most of the day time watching Netflix, even though I had Leetcode on my other split screen.
  3. I spent my nights working on some DSA (Data Structures & Algorithms) for… 10 min, then I spent the rest of the night watching Netflix, or playing games on my phone.

Fast forward, we are on the end of the first week of 2021. Do I regret for what I have done? Yes and No.

No, because I was glad that I finally had a chance to rest after working so hard for three-month straight in coding bootcamp.

Yes, because I wasted one month resting and I could have done so much already and ready to put myself out there once the new year starts. Also, I somehow forgot how to code for a sec.

I was on Github on Jan 1 checking out some of my past projects. I saw a few classmates from my cohort had done some commits after our graduation, or had already started a new project. I also asked a few classmates around. Some of them have done extensive studying on DSA in the past two weeks.

Heh…

I don’t know about you. I am one of those people when I have no idea what my purpose is, I would not have no motivation to do anything. Some people are able to grind until they find a goal. But I am not. (That’s how I felt when I took linear algebra back in college, because I thought it was fun to learn, but turns out I understood nothing from it and I didn’t understand why I was learning all those vectors, eigenvalues, etc)

Credit: https://medium.com/@tabaganken/eigenvalues-and-eigenvectors-21820fce4670 at least i kinda know what Tony Stark’s talking about…

#Goals??

Seeing my cohort mates have already done so much. On Jan 1, I decided that I SERIOUSLY have to set goals and stop letting myself spiraling down into this infinite black hole starting from Jan 4 (the first Monday in 2021).

Here are my goals (per day):

  • Master the data structure concepts (Big-O, Time/Space Complexity, etc.)
  • Work on at least 4–5 algo questions (I am still working on array, really have to move on to the next topic)
  • Deploy my past projects to Heroku (still having trouble. If I succeed, would write a blog about it) + debug (if I have time)
  • Learn Hook and Axios (Any ReactJS developers?)
  • At least work on 2–3 features/components for my new project
  • Learn something new and write at least 1 blog about that, in addition to this weekly blog

There are a lot of goals. In fact, I am doing all these to contribute to my job search. Some people in my cohort have already gotten job interviews and even job offers. I looked at these goals I wrote, and I thought…

Am I setting the right goals?

Am I doing what’s best for me?

#TheTwoQuestions

My ultimate goal is to get a job by June/July. I understand as a candidate, not only having technical skill is important, but also networking with people is the essence of getting a job interview. But none of my goals at the moment is to reach out to other people. If you are reading this, don’t get me wrong. It’s not like I don’t want to reach out to other people, but more like I am not comfortable enough to put myself out there. Hypothetically, I get a tech interview within the next two weeks or so, I can tell you that I am not ready for it. However, if I keep studying now and work on my past and new projects, will I lose a chance and the time that I have right now to connect with other people?

My current mindset right now is quite simple: GET A JOB! These goals are good for long-term, but for short-term, are these goals right for me right now? Are these the best strategies? There are nothing much happened right now, but it feels like the goals I have set for myself have already filled up my daily schedule.

A lot of coding bootcamp grads would agree that although we have strong skills in web development, we are not strong at data structures and algorithms. I have watched videos about bootcamp grads sharing their experience spending a lot of time studying DSA. I think that’s what I am most worried about. I know if I am not confident in doing one thing, I wouldn’t be able to move on to the next step. But should I keep studying and worry about job applications later on? Or, am I simply feeling behind and should I focus on my own pace instead?

#Conclusion

This is a relatively short article. I poured most of the time thinking about my goals for the new year.

At the end of this article, I guess my biggest question is… any advice on how to be effective at both job search and study DSA? I know a lot of CS grads have pretty good foundation in DSA, since it is part of their curriculum. But as a bootcamp grad and someone who has never gotten a full time job before, I wonder what is the best way to elevate yourself, be a no-brainer candidate, and be fluent in the language of tech interview all at the same time?

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