What am I taking this semester? I need to satisfy an Art requirement, so I'm taking a class on user interface and experience design on the recommendation of a housemate. I'm not entirely sure what I should expect, but I think it will be easy enough to pass given I've had jobs designing application screens. Maybe my UI ideas aren't the best but I can do the work. I need to satisfy a 4-credits-of-anything requirement, so I'm taking a database course which is beneath me (it was beneath my housemate and I know more about databases than he does) for three credits, then a 1-credit "job preparation" course which only lasts the first few weeks and shouldn't be a problem as I've already got a good resume, LinkedIn account, business card (even if outdated), and previous job experience...
I'm taking a project course which will continue my radar project from last semester. I'm also taking an intro Electricity and Magnetism physics course, which I'm not looking forward to. Giancoli is shit. The professor isn't known as a good teacher (fine person of course). I want to learn electrostatics as a special case of electrodynamics and in the language of geometric algebra, not learn electrostatics as a series of disjointed statements and unreal examples followed by "and hey, here's Maxwell's equations!" during the last few weeks. Feynman's book takes the right approach by starting with Maxwell's equations and simplifying for electrostatics, I just wish he used geometric algebra instead of vector components...
In the spring I'll take my final project course and some 3-credit course (I think I can choose anything but I don't remember). Then I'll graduate, and be forced to go through the graduation ceremony because relatives will want to fly out and visit and see the ceremony.
After that? Job. Where? I don't know, there are lots of options. I think right now what I value most is the pay, not the work, which I know will change eventually to what it used to be (work over pay) but I don't know when. In any case, I have a lot of debt that I want to get rid of as fast as I can, even if it's advantageous to stretch it out and let inflation make it less.
I know I won't be getting a job directly related to my degree. My experience is elsewhere, as is my passion (when it stirs). I chose the degree in order to learn something I wouldn't teach myself, and I have learned, now I'm done and it's time to move on. Were I to do it all over again, I wouldn't, but I'm not sure what else I'd do instead given there were other factors involved for me picking the school I'm going to, not just the degree...
Life will be kind of interesting again once I get into the mindset of job searching and interviewing -- rust never sleeps and my skills are blunting without constant use, my knowledge leaking from my ears. My knowledge of C++ craziness isn't encyclopedic, but one trip through the C++ FQA will be enough review. If I have to get a job coding C++, that review will be paramount. If I have to get a job that involves a technical interview, reviewing my algorithms and data structures will also be paramount. I coded Floyd-Warshall and A* and Fog of War a while back but I couldn't do it again from memory. I must review!
It's the same with subjects from my actual degree -- thank god there's not an exit exam. I know I could pass it but it would take a lot of review. Too much of what I've studied just has no bearing in my day to day life and has no chance for me to practice and refine it -- too much is unnecessary if the goal is to Get Something Working regardless of understanding. I can use a multimeter to test the capacitance of a capacitor, am I going to necessarily remember everything there is to know about a capacitor while I'm doing it? Capacitors have been in my mind lately, so maybe, but in a year or two, will I still remember and think of caps as frequency-dependent resistors, their role in filters, their relationships with inductors? I don't know. I don't know if I'll be able to figure out I need to add X capacitor to Y location on a circuit, I do know that if there's a guide (or datasheet) telling me to do that, the guide will be what I rely on. I have no interest in getting a junior-level engineering position for an IC company, whose jobs often include figuring out the values to put in the datasheets.
So I'm almost done, just a little bit longer, then I can leave school behind which has been sapping me dry and focus on making money. Eventually I want to have enough money that I don't need to worry about money ever, but that's hard. Right now I'll settle for the easy path where I won't need to worry about money so long as I keep working. I think that means going to work for BigCo for a while.
Posted on 2013-08-26 by Jach
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