public-facing, public-learning; the job search process begins; what are algorithms anyway; meche and cs mindsets

soooooooo today i had an actual coding interview (okay, it was like a snack sized one, a 10 minute one)

i’m slowly swinging around from my pre-grad school mindset, where Big-O was some random notation thing that was not relevant to real life (okay maybe i was working in a meche lab heh)

to my new friends circle ™ where Big-O notation isn’t some Abstract Greek Letters but a living breathing concept. data structures tools to solve common problems you keep running into in your life !

sure, i can solve the problems if i need to; but in a kludgy way. and darn if someone hasn’t invented the wheel already

( that’s always the case working on your own — if only you knew this additional knowledge, you would’ve solved your problem ages ago. but now i’m seeing a whole interesting class of problems and spaces that get opened up if i climbed up this ladder )

i guess in the end these concepts can be my friend and not my enemy 🙂 which means learning about them is no longer a meaningless chore / hoop to jump through, but instead something that will let me do more Terrible Projects; and in fact come up with those Terrible Project Ideas in the first place !

for instance, today i interviewed with a travel-oriented company. i really liked the people, and the problems they spoke of seemed really interesting and relatable

… i’m starting to sound like a computer science major, i’ve been corrupted … i’m not sure when it started to happen. was it really just this past year? maybe even just this past semester, after i passed quals?

I think quite possibly so! I feel so free now that I’ve passed quals…

the learning in public thing — nowadays companies always ask you for your github, and tbh my code is terrible and i know it. i’m not proud of it but y’know busy getting the research done

i think part of it is this weird really hindersome feeling of “oh people expect that i should be more than i am” so it’s hard to be so public about stuff. but whatever ! my life is mine to live.

admittedly also, i feel a lot better having actually gotten an interview instead of just emails or lack of responses lol

actually one company forced me to use ripplematch and i am finding it really interesting

it’s essentially a tinder interface: swipe left or right on company matches. then it has a whole hand-holding hinge feeling to it: you get little tutorials emailed to you about how to do this or that. i actually really appreciate the hand holding.

also, churn: my collaborator in the justice system mentioned that it used to be common to work with the same partners for 10 years — now people come in and out, and are moving about. According to a whitepaper by the same company i interviewed for — that’s about Company Innovation instead of Company Stagnation, but man. Talk about the overhead and the churn.

of course !! this is all complicated by the fact that my work is on illegal activity that’s public on the internet. so i would normally blog about all my interesting findings, but that feels a bit awkward. still … at this point i am starting to think that i should be less concerned and simply do what i naturally do: document my findings, be enthusiastic about it, be public about it, and try to build momentum instead of wallowing about indecisively doing nothing


i was going to find a personal project that i could iteratively improve with algorithms, but then i realized there’s an interactive version of project euler

livestreaming working on these challenges??? oh boy haha

brb there goes a hundred hours of my life

(oh, the public learning idea is here:

(related link, programming project ideas: