Hacker School Day 2: Goals! Or, A Grasp For Sanity

February 12 2014

I have to admit day 1 of Hacker School was fairly overwhelming for me. With so many amazing people to talk to and interesting projects to collaborate on I felt a bit like:

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(Credit to Hacker School alumnus Alex Beaulne for finding this perfect gif.)

In an attempt to regain a bit of sanity, yesterday I prioritized setting goals for the batch and creating a semi-pubic to-do list. I also began maintaining a list of learnings about how I can better approach Hacker School and learning in general. My to-do list, goals, and learnings can be found on my GitHub, which I'll be updating at least daily.

In order to determine my goals, I answered the following questions, to ensure that what I set out to accomplish aligned with my values and my motivations for attending Hacker School. These lists are ranked somewhat by importance, but probably aren't perfectly ordered.

What do I want to get out of Hacker School?

  • Greater confidence, honesty, self-awareness, bravery
  • Gain expertise in Python, Data Analysis, Machine Learning (currently beginner-/intermediate-level)
  • Join a community of programmers/math nerds who will help motivate me to achieve greatness
  • Frankly, a job

What do I want to accomplish at Hacker School?

  • One large (1-month) project which requires pulling data from many sources and applying a recommender system, probably to recommend an optimal brunch spot for me, because brunch is awesome. This idea is inspired by Hilary Mason
  • A plethora of varying, small (1-day) analysis and machine learning projects
  • Blog posts galore (3-5 per week) with a focus on writing tutorials/explaining benefits of various packages
  • A successful pull request, contributing to an open source project or an existing tutorial
  • Create a Python package (maybe with functions based on Jaynes' Probability Theory: The Logic of Science)
  • Give a talk! (eeeep!)
  • Revamped website possibly using Pelican/GitHub pages (nonessential, not a priority)
  • Murdered out GitHub account (a pleasant side effect of all of the above)

tags: github hacker school