2015-16 Term 1 Week 5: Learning Journal – UoPeople

This week has had some serious positive change for me. After almost 3 years of self study, and 7 months at UoPeople I finally got a job as a programmer!

It’s funny, I have been struggling so hard to make resumes and cover letters that represent me well as a programmer, even though I have no prior work experience. I’ve been applying for entry level positions, students positions, and even unpaid internships with no luck so far.

Then the other day I get an email from Khan Academy, which I never applied to, giving me a job offer for a contract position making changes to the challenge graders in the Computer Programming section.

This week for my journal entry assignment I document my recent experiences and how the two areas of my life, self-study and school are interconnected.

This week I’m going to decide to write about the second set of questions in this learning journal entry. Like most of my entries I’m going to be drawing from experiences outside of the classroom here at UoPeople, as those experiences are closely linked to what I’m learning in class.

So, what surprised me this week was a job offer from Khan Academy. I never even applied for the job, because I didn’t think there were remote work opportunities. This is an amazing event in my life, because getting myself in a position where I can become a programmer by profession is the whole point of coming to UoPeople.

My goal is to take advantage of the flexibility that comes from attending UoPeople, so that I can find work as a programmer while working towards a degree. So needless to say, getting a job offer from Khan Academy was a very nice surprise, even if it is only contract work for now!

On the topic of challenges, nothing was notably challenging from the course material itself. Instead I’ve been challenged by the juggling act I’ve been trying out for quite some time. I’ve taught myself a number of programming languages, and just before starting here at UoPeople, I had started learning HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, along with frameworks like Jquery, BootStrap, and NodeJS.

This bouncing between languages has been a massive undertaking for me, and it’s been difficult to decide what specifically to focus on. I’ve just been working on what ever opportunities come to me such as the gamification of APA project, which I’ve been working on in the Unity engine with C#.

Since getting the job offer from Khan Academy though, I’ve immediately switched back to focus on JavaScript for the time being, since it’s my first paid gig, and an opportunity I’ve been working hard towards for a long time. All of this, and I’m also learning/reviewing Java here in class. The bouncing around has been very tiresome on my brain, and I feel lethargic and hazy everyday, even though I’m getting decent sleep at night.

As for the skills and knowledge I’m gaining? I’d say with all that’s been happening to me this past year, and through to this week, I’m gaining the knowledge and skills of a generalist. The things I’m learning and taking away from my classes at school are being applied to what I’m learning and working on outside of school. And of course the opposite is true as well.

It’s funny because I had always hoped that one day I’d be an expert at one particular thing, but it seems I’m gaining more breadth of knowledge than depth with time. The horizons of my knowledge are ever expanding across a vast sea of concepts and ideas, but the depth of the sea is still relatively shallow.

Perhaps with my new job, I’ll gain a little depth in one particular area, but I’m now seeing the power in being a jack of all trades so to speak.

For the next question in this journal I’m going to jump back to the first set and answer, “Describe your feelings and attitudes“.

I have to say I’m feeling more positive than I have in a long time. This year has been very stressful for my wife and I, and our circumstances have been very challenging. The job offer has changed a lot about my outlook for the next few months, and it has really boosted my confidence.

I’m traditionally an optimist anyways, always trying to see the light when everything is grim. But it’s nice to feel positive naturally without any effort like I do now. Keeping positive has been a constant struggle for a while now, and it’s nice to have an event like this hold my head up for me.

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