Do you want to go back to school?
When people talking about school life, some prefers to go back to school after years working while others seems to be more interested in the post-school life. I am not a big fan of the latter group but my post-school life seems to be OK.
While I was in school, I like to explore different ideas and technologies. I was so thirsty to the state-of-art in the technology world so that I even put TechCrunch as my first task everyday which I still cannot believe so. The school life seems to be busy, especially approaching the graduation year. Research, programming challenges, algorithms and interviews become the center of my life, even I just want to look for an internship. This overwhelming life style did not last long until it destroyed my health, which forces me to re-organize my life and balance.
I have been working in the industry for nearly two months, during which I potentially maintained a much better balance than before. The first one come to my mind is my reading time. I could barely find a good time to read before no matter how many times I told myself it is important. But now, I have a good reading time when I take bus to work which costs about half an hour. During this time, I like reading my Bible, thinking about some fundamental questions in my mind. This half hour time is very valuable to me because it refreshes me every morning with an important message from God rather than addicts my mind into distractions.
In addition, the company has a decent library where I can borrow some interesting books to read and continue some personal research. Recently, I am reading two books Microstyle and All Business Is Local. Microstyle gives me some interesting idea about how we write tweets on Internet and All Business Is Local talks about the location importance of a business in virtual world such as Internet and social networks. Besides, I found Wall Street Journal and Harward Business Review are two good resource to review others’ opinions and stay focus on global.
My work itself is not quite challenging unless a bug comes out of my code. The development team that I am in is more like a startup team instead of a regulated one in a big company. This surprises me a lot while we start using Agile development methodology. The team syncs very frequently and the production progress is dramatically fast. We have built two prototypes in the past two weeks. Comparing to the old style, the productivity impresses a lot of people. The iteration speed is far from what I expected.
Embracing open source is another significant change in the team. We leverage the open source technology and contribute back to the community. For instance, we use Google Charts for our data visualization, even though this is coming from the major competitor. Using Git as our engineering system is an extra point in the team, because this makes our branching and integration life much easier. I think I will spend some time to discuss Git’s branching system in a more technical way, but here the major take away that Git may change the way we think how we make a product.
The most painful day so far is because of a bug about UTC timestamp. We deploy the whole service in Azure cloud which is supposed to run in
US West. Unfortunately, the time zone information in the VM is not Pacific time but UTC, and the service is actually running somewhere in Brazil. So five people spent more than three hours to fix the timestamp issue in the code which forces the time zone to be UTC -7:00.
My normal day is relatively monotonous to programming. I come to work about 10:00 AM and leave about 6:15 PM. As long as I have some spare time during this time frame, I would do some personal research thing. For example, I was simply looking at the twitter data set and run some fun script to the data through the powerful Cosmos platform. I guess this is a key difference between school and corporation that I could have enough resource to validate my ideas, such as data set, computation power, etc. Also I would like to do some personal side project which I think could be beneficial to our life like travel and family accounting.
Due to the continuous raining in Seattle, our outdoor activities have been limited. So I spend most of leisure time going to Gym and with my family. It is a great time to watch movies and TV series. But I really wish the rain could end soon!