Week 3 but it’s actually Week 2

Ah… it’s already the 3rd week in the academy, the last week was busier with all the on-boarding classes but for some reason I feel more tired this week, I guess even when you organize your time there are times where you just can’t control what happens in your daily life. My main computer broke and I lost my weekly notes but I’ll try to remember all the things I learned this week…. do your best, me!

The myth of the genius programmer.

Ah… I’ve been there… with the thought that there are genius programmers out there, actually I have one of those friends… those who seem to be a genius, who can solve a problem in a matter of minutes, that make me think “God I wish I was him”… ok maybe not like that but I really admired his ability to solve problems, at least when it comes to code. That was until I talked to him and asked how he “knew everything” and his answer was “experience”. Not gonna lie, even though I have a CS background I just got serious about it two years ago, why? I don’t know, maybe I just didn’t get enough stimulation from school or I just wasn’t aware of all the wonderful things you can do if you use all the tools you have. Well I talked about my inspiration before so let’s go back to the topic.

There is a phase I like: “Hard work will definitely pay off!”. I admire people who always work hard… maybe because I’m not one of those, I mean, if there are things that must be done then I do it. I work hard but because I have that sense of responsibility.

“If you are lost, ask for directions” Well it sounds like good advice but what if everybody is lost as well or if there is no one to ask. No, I’m not trying to be gloomy or something like that. It’s just that I tried that before but I didn’t go as I expected. In college sometimes we have to team with each other and work in a ‘final project’. Usually when you are in a team you try to make contributions to make the project better, right? Well, that wasn’t the case here, actually it was the other way around: ‘the simpler the better’. So what to do in this case? If you say something like ‘Why don’t we do this so it can look more appealing?’ the usual answer was ‘Why to bother? The teacher isn’t even going to look further into the code” and what was worse, they were right most of the time.

That’s why when we had to do a work and we were allowed to work alone I worked alone, but because of that I missed the experience of ‘being influenced’ or ‘get feedback’ from others, but also gain the ability to criticize my own work. For me my work wasn’t ‘the best’ or ‘complete’ and more like ‘It needs this but I can’t do it alone’ and thanks to that I know how to recognize when I can’t do something so I don’t waste time trying to solving something because I know it can be solved if I ask for advice or for someone to help me.

Variable length and compressor.

Claude Shannon, the father of information theory. I know him from the course of “Coding theory” and “Cryptography” in college, my teachers admire him so much and I can understand that feeling, his contributions to the theory of communications are amazing, those are the foundations of information security, and how he was able to define any information cipher with only two operations: “substitution” and “permutation”. Sadly when I was taking the course for Information Compression classes were suspended because of covid so we weren’t able to complete the course, thanks to the video I remembered some of the basics, especially about how information is compressed when transmitted. I have some notes and resources from that course so I’ll search for it so I can come back and see a bigger picture of the topic.

Google I/O 2012 — The Art of Organizational Manipulation

I’m starting to understand more about Encora culture, not gonna lie, at first all this seemed like an unicorn, something you can’t just think is real but you just wish it were. As weeks pass I can tell what’s the purpose of creating this culture. From the beginning they told us that the program may be tough but we should remember that we were chosen among many aspirants. We are supposed to behave like adults and they trust us to carry out our duty.

A company is not made of concrete and steel, yeah, we use computers all day but in the end we are just human, If we feel like we must grow and adapt then that’s because we have to do it.

But how do you archive an ideal environment? I’m still not sure if all this “freedom” is the way, maybe its the fact they trust their employees because what I learned is how any achievement is for the sake of everybody and how it can make the culture grow and be better.

Developing Expertise: Herding racehorses, racing sheep

“Without excellent personnel even good to excellent processes can only achieve marginal results”

When I applied to the academy what I said was, “Yeah, I have a CS background but I’m a total newbie when it comes to the use of IT, even so I want to learn” I didn’t want to lie about my abilities and be expected to solve any problem right away. Thanks to all the material we have been getting in the reset phase I can tell that Encora wants to create excellent personnel. In my last few months in college I was worried because I wasn’t an expert in anything, I might know how to code but what companies look for are experts but they usually don’t spend time and resources training experts.

But how do you become an expert/wizard? Like we have seen before, “Practice makes permanent” bad practices will make you do bad practices. If we don’t have a plan then how do we do things? Intuition? Maybe, but we want to be experts, right? Going for a walk when suddenly out of nowhere an idea comes about how to do something. Well, for that we need to assess our skills. The Dreyfus model explain the road to accomplish that:

Novice: We’re confused, we follow a recipe, we don’t know anything and we don’t want to learn.

Advance Beginner: We start to heard a tiny voice saying we need more information, maybe we are still following a recipe but now we want to know how to make our own recipes

Competent: We continue gaining experience and taking control of what we do, we are not afraid of someone else criticizing our work.

Proficient: We start asking about everything, we get frustrated with information that we thought was simple, we think that our knowledge is not enough to understand the world that is opening in front of us.

Expert: We know a lot about everything, we even question ourselves “why do I know that?”. We make decisions more instinctively thanks to experience.

Something really interesting was how most people will stay as an advanced beginner because they don’t have passion and do things just because of work.

Agile mindset

Our judgement can be influenced when we are young and it will develop as we grow. But our mindset can be modified, but it won’t be that easy. There is a saying “Old habits die hard” but as you can see, in this reset phase we are trying to kill those habits we got in college. In college if you make a mistake, then you fail. That’s why most students try so hard to not fail and because of that they don’t really learn. We don’t want to be fixed, we want to be agile, I mean, we shouldn’t be defined by what people say about us.

Who do we trust?

As I said before, I got used to prefer working alone rather than working with a lazy team, you can say I had prejudices when choosing my team, but I can say that’s because of experience\, most of the people in my teams rather do less work than do a good job. Maybe because those people don’t really like what they’re doing or maybe they don’t like me but in the end if a work can be done by myself then I’ll do it.

This is all for now and maybe I’m forgetting something but it was a very productive week, I’ve learned a lot from company culture and management to how to improve those skill that we already have but we’re still no able to fully show.

See you next time!