Saturday, January 30, 2016

Module 4

Part I.

Setting specific, measurable, achievable, rewarding and time-bound (SMART) goals is a powerful process that brings one a sense of direction and purpose, feelings of motivation and dedication, as well as a proper focus on results begot by gradually increasing self-confidence and organization of time and resources.

My current educational goal is to complete a BS in Computer Science, Software Engineering (concentration), at California State University, Monterey Bay in December 2017, which is in approximately two years' time. In order for this to happen, I must pass six eight-week courses per year, comprising a Pro-Seminar, Multimedia Programming (Python), Internet Programming (PHP), Database Management (MySQL), Intro. to Computer Networks, Service Learning, Algorithms (C++ or Java), Software Design (Java), Software Engineering, Ethics and a Capstone class, in addition to a handful of pre-requisites in Maths and Computer Science: Calculus I and II, Discrete Maths, Computer Architecture and Data Structures. This quarter, I already know that successfully passing Data Structures will bring me a tremendous level of satisfaction and reassurance, as it has thus far proven to be a formidable challenge; however, I am pleased to report that the challenge becomes somewhat less with each passing week in the way that my Java skills generally improve. Similarly, my goal to excel in my first course at CSUMB, the Pro-Seminar mentioned above, will be the best possible way to begin the program. With each new quarter, week by week, my immediate goal must be to stay motivated and focused, plan my schedule, ask lots of questions and for help when needed, all so as to turn in quality assignments on time. Today, I must accomplish my goal of completing one quarter of this week's assignments before dinnertime! Remembering my ultimate goal of attaining my degree will help me with these aims.

Part II.

The decision to pursue my degree was closely related to my career goal of becoming a senior software engineer, one who has built some quality apps that reach the top of Apple Store or Google Play rankings, within the next five to ten years.  I would be happy to work at a start up or an established company, so long as I am a part of a great team, and in San Francisco, where I reside with my husband.  In order to know what such employees are worth, research informs me that salaries for a software engineer in SF are upwards of $100K.  In order for this to happen for me, it would be immensely helpful and valuable to first obtain an internship, whether through application to a school sponsored program or my own search through jobs boards, by the beginning of summer 2016 at the latest.  Today, I'll begin my search and apply for internships, and continue on a monthly or weekly basis, depending on supply of opportunities.  The earlier I can obtain one, the sooner I can apply for jobs, provided I have the qualifications required.  I would be delighted to begin working as a software engineer, perhaps in a junior capacity, as soon as possible, even before I obtain my degree.  Strong proficiency in target company's relevant languages would benefit me to this end.

Part III.

Reviewing my colleagues' blogs, I can see they have a clear understanding of the importance of time management and useful strategies for doing it.

In particular, Wayne's blog succinctly and effectively discussed concrete tools for achieving visibility over one's schedule -- his decision to utilize both Google Calendar and hardcopy calendars is a strong one, in my opinion, because the latter provides long-term perspectives that may be difficult to duplicate on a screen with hidden or minimized text.  To avoid overlooking anything important when very busy, having two such tools is worthwhile.  Additionally, I really liked and appreciated the way Austin's blog mentioned the satisfaction of striking through a to-do list item.  It's really important to give oneself a moment to reflect on what's been accomplished and keep up motivation, before moving on to the perpetual next item...!

Well, it's good to be busy, as long as one uses one's time wisely....

Part IV.

In this week's article on career goal setting, Hopkinson writes that networking is how the vast majority of job seekers find a job in the United States.  To be honest, I consider this to be rather disappointing because we are purported to be a meritocracy.  Does it not follow that students and young people are then generally misled into believing a myth that hard work and talent, and even some luck, are sufficient for success, remaining enchanted until it’s time to seek out their careers?  If so, unfortunately, students can’t make smart, realistic decisions about their career prospects and aims when they’re unaware of this reality, so it’s best that articles such as “The Salary Tutor: The 7 Career Goals You Need to Succeed” bluntly divulge it (Hopkinson, n.d.).  Nevertheless, networking must be a known and practiced career goal of the modern job seeker.  Networking at its best is simply to demonstrate and share one’s experiences, talents and skills with influential people one has come to know.  I'm certain that success is achievable when one puts oneself out there, networks well and leans in, as it is said.

Hopkins further writes that self-assessment should also be a career goal of those who wish to succeed — the acts of stepping back and perceiving where one is and where one would like to go.  Still another goal, he writes, which I already know from experience is great advisement, is to keep track of one's accomplishments as they occur, whether it’s in note form, a portfolio or personal webpage.  It is very much true that it is difficult to impossible to quickly recall the details of one’s accomplishments when it comes time for one to update a resume, complete a performance review or ask for a raise.  This is especially true for the humble or as many months pass by.

Negotiating is a critical skill of the successful, Hopkins goes on to share, as is asking for promotions and raises as if they were a business transaction.  Fortunately, legal progress is being made in this respect, however slowly, so that discrimination in pay on the basis of race, gender or other factors is outlawed, and all may be successful on the grounds of their work output, rather than a status. Apart from this, one should set the goal of knowing one’s worth in the marketplace, according to Hopkins, and continuously improve upon and update one’s skills, as times and markets change.

Finally, Hopkins argues that the successful should strive to achieve perspective and balance throughout their careers by always continuing to enjoy other parts of life, be it family or hobbies or other items of value.

On Ethics

According to Santa Clara University’s Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, ethics are seldom easy for people who do not study the matter to define.  Velasquez, Andre, Shanks and Meyer write that this is the case for a variety of reasons: firstly, ethics may deviate from what one’s feelings inform is right or wrong, and, indeed, doing the ethical thing might on the contrary give one a terrible feeling.  Neither is ethics the sole prerogative of the religious or religious doctrine, they write, as an atheist may certainly be an ethical person.  Similarly, laws or common beliefs may also deviate from the ethical.  For example, pre-civil rights movement US law were often unethical, and a majority opinion may not be predicated on substantive deliberation.  Velasquez et al. then write that “ethics refers to well-founded standards of right and wrong that prescribe what humans ought to do, usually in terms of rights, obligations, benefits to society, fairness, or specific virtues.”  Importantly, ethics also enjoins the continuous “study and development of one's ethical standards… As mentioned above, feelings, laws, and social norms can deviate from what is ethical. So it is necessary to constantly examine one's standards to ensure that they are reasonable and well-founded.”

In chapter seven of Living Issues in PhilosophyEthics and Morality, Nolan et al. write that "Modern usage of morality refers to conduct itself and ethics (or moral philosophy) to the study of moral conduct. We speak of “a moral act” and “an ethical code”” (1995, p. 120).  As human beings we exist within a moral situation, a world and life in which we must choose to act and behave in a way that is right or wrong according to our beliefs, our moral standards, with consideration and obligations to rights and duties, which go hand in hand (Nolan et al., 1995, p. 117).  Virtues and vices are qualities and characteristics that are either approved and respected by people or society or, on the contrary, detested, respectively.  Subject to the realm of time and space, a society may codify laws or uphold customs to protect rights.  The stage of social development, intelligence and knowledge of a society affects its moral practices (Nolan et al., 1995, p. 119).  Nolan et al. write about the variety of philosophical standards expounded by philosophers across time, such as pleasure or happiness (Epicurus), happiness or utility (Bentham, Mill), absolute, rational moral law (Kant), self-realization and humanism (Plato, Aristotle), and religious ideals/natural laws (1995, p. 121-129).  The approaches to morality are either absolutism, to hold belief by an authority; relativism, to have no verifiable standards or X-Files-style 'truth out there' meaning to discover; and situation ethics, wherein norms are applied to a unique situation (Nolan et al., 1995, p. 130).  Nolan et al. write that many values and principles may guide a practical, working, every-day ethics in our society: respect for persons; autonomy; beneficence; non-maleficence; justice; honesty, and more (1995, p. 132-133).  Ultimately, the authors argue, in deciding what to do, if it is not readily or entirely clear, one need not be crippled by moral relativism; to do the right thing, one may choose to look with the utmost care and reasonableness upon a variety of "thoughtful, contrasting interpretations of moral matters" (Nolan et al., 1995, p. 134), in a moral pluralism dependent on reasoned frameworks and moral discourse.


References


Hopkins, Jim. (n.d.).  The salary tutor: the 7 career goals you need to succeed.     
     Salary.com. Retrieved from http://www.salary.com/7-career-goals-for-new-year/

Mind tools: online management, leadership and career training. (1996). Retrieved from
     https://www.mindtools.com/

Nolan, R., Titus, H. & Smith, M.. (1995).  Living issues in philosophy, ninth edition.  
     New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Velasquez, M., Andre, C., Shanks, T. S.J. & Meyer, M. J.. (2015, August 18). What is ethics? In
     Markkula Center for applied ethics. Retrieved from https://www.scu.edu/ethics/ethics-
     resources/ethical-decision-making/what-is-ethics/

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Module 3

Part I.

Time management remains an important tool.  Now that a few weeks of school are behind me, it's time to continuously reassess my schedule and list-keeping, and ensure that I maintain a variety of views over it — daily, weekly, monthly, of the quarter as a whole. Blocking off time for both study and leisure; Having a clean, well-lit place in which to work;  Reviewing lectures and studies before and after class;  Being aware of the available resources — tutors, rentals, hardware — that are out there to help students get things done;  Using spare time wisely so as to make use of it — flash cards, brainstorming.
  Still, there is no way to get around being tough on oneself, if necessary, in order to ensure deadlines are kept.  If one wants to keep up with one’s workload as one begins to tire week after week, one just has to work through it, whether or not one is in the mood to do so.  When you’re in it to win it, you can’t give up and lose all the progress made thus far.  You’ve got to persevere and get things done.  Time management is still key.

Part II.

As a computer science major looking for employment, it won’t be sufficient to build a resume of good grades and internships because that won’t effectively showcase my skills and talents the way a portfolio of projects will.  It’s essential for me to keep contributing to mine in an orderly, documentable way.  This is not to say that all my studies in maths and sciences are unimportant, certainly not.  To work alongside engineers and other developers, I’ll need calculus, linear algebra, discrete maths and statistics, for some examples. I’m currently enrolled in a data structures class and have taken Unix classes; with respect to the latter, I need to continue to work through the command line to improve and keep my knowledge sharp.  More experience in systems administration will be welcome, as well, so I can be my own IT.  The ability to learn new languages is greater with each new one studied: Java, JavaScript, Python are languages I’ve studied thus far; I have many more to learn: C/C++, PHP, MYSQL, and more.  Additional courses of study will include OSs, security, networks, software testing, UX/Design,visualization, parallelism, software engineering, robotics, AI….  I must continue to improve my communications skills, so that my prose and speech are concise and clear.  There is still so much to learn before I achieve my computer science degree!  But, I can’t wait!

Part III.

It's very difficult to objectively assess one's inter-personal communication skills, but reviewing techniques to improve it can help ensure one is on the right track.  Effective listening is essential to a conversation, as is thinking slowly and carefully before reacting, so as not to be rash.  Nothing is ruder than interrupting someone, but one can do more, such as nod their head or comment, to acknowledge one understands and listens.  Following up with questions is a great way to engage, as well.

References

McWhorter, Kathleen T. (1998). Study and Thinking Skills in College.
     Glenview, Illinois: Scott Foresman/Little Brown College Division.

Study Guides and Strategies. (1996). Retrieved January 22, 2016, from    
     http://www.studygs.net/timman.htm

What every computer science major should know. (n.d.). Retrieved January 22, 2016, from 
     http://matt.might.net/articles/what-cs-majors-should-know/

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Module 2

Part I.  Adprima Review and Reflect Learning Strategy

Based on the reading, I've determined the top three skills I currently possess are as follows:
  1. Avoiding distractions is one of my strengths.  An ability to focus through a din or commotion has been essential for me in the classroom.
  2. Note-taking is something I do diligently and effectively.  It's a skill I've honed over the years that has proved invaluable because it has enabled me to manage large quantities of materials over the course of a quarter or semester, or even for future reference beyond a class.  
  3. Extracting the main idea of a reading as if it were a secret to discover or puzzle to solve can be delightful.  Doing this is not an innate ability, but rather a practice, the result of years of studies undertaken, metaphors, problems or stories analyzed, all over the course of an education.

My top three weaknesses or areas for improvement, based on the reading, include the following:
  1. The SQ3R method is interesting and one to which I will give further consideration.  I don't recall having the general, assiduous practice of making a point to consciously survey study materials before I begin reading them, so as to get a big picture beforehand.  Perhaps this is because I tend to try not to be presumptuous, am too rushed or just anxious to get underway.  This perhaps extends to my generally not being sufficiently inquisitive about the material before I have read it.  On the contrary, I tend to quell any questions or curiosity I have in favor of patience, expecting that the thesis, arguments or answers will be duly revealed.  These are certainly areas upon which I should improve and would indicate a more mature, relaxed approach to studying.  However, when I do read, I do so alertly and actively, attempting as I go to recall and recite the concepts I have been garnering.  Usually, I must then review the concepts three to four times before they stay in my long-term memory.
  2. According to the Adprima guidelines, I should not underline text in my textbooks, which I do from time to time; rather, I should highlight challenging sections or phrases.  I will switch accordingly, if studies prove the latter is more effective.
  3. Quick, high-quality performance on tests is usually elusive for me, even if I feel competent of the subject matter.  Therefore, I appreciate any advice I can get in this area:  firstly, to survey the exam before beginning and to answer the easiest questions first.  Resultantly, too much time isn't lost on questions that are more difficult, more time consuming than others, and more will be successfully complete.  However, I must admit, sometimes the allotted test time is so scant that it would take a Herculean willpower to follow through with this.  Additionally, the "memory dump" is a useful strategy to recommend in relation to good test-taking.  There have certainly been times when I have had to rely on a backup mnemonic device to remember something because the stress or pressure of taking an exam has blocked or clouded my memory.  To have written down a list of items beforehand would have made memory recalls less hasty and rushed.  Nothing would be forgotten or left off, as well, if one similarly began with an organized outline.

Part II.  Preview Time Management Skills

These logs are quite revelatory, but I'm pleased to report that I have been pretty successful at foregoing most time-wasting, leisurely pass-times, such as web surfing, this quarter, in favor of higher production, higher value activities.  Since I am inundated with my studies, I truly know I don't have time for such!  Looking at the spreadsheet, however, I can see an area for improvement would be during the morning hours.  Getting up earlier, getting started sooner, without so much delay, would give me a lot more valuable time.  The morning is the best time for me to be productive and creative.

Part III. Project Management Basics

A project is a temporary endeavor (therefore with a beginning and end) and should be divided into several phases over its life cycle: initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and control, and closing.  Operations, in contrast, are on-going, repetitive, and the objective is to sustain business.  Managing projects to improve success rates can be done through time management, cost management, scope management and quality management.

A diagrammatic structure breaking down a project's work and phases can help visualize subsections to be executed by the team.  All the while, the focus must return to deliverables and hierarchical objectives, ultimately for the customer.

Henry Gantt designed the Gantt bar chart to illustrate a potentially chaotic project’s schedule, so that it could through its appearance become more organized.  Start and end dates/times that estimate each task's timeline are depicted by horizontal bars, which is done twice or more for both optimistic and pessimistic forecasts of completion.  Some tasks can occur simultaneously, but others are contingent upon the completion of one prior.  Lastly, there are terminal and summary elements.


Part IV.  Check Out Previous Capstones

Zane Harvey’s 3D Architectural Animation for the Museum of Natural History was a fantastic Capstone project that hopefully helped the museum digitally showcase their planned remodel to potential donors, so they could see a depiction of the building their money could help make a reality.  I think it’s great that he took inspiration from their mission statement, which is to inspire discovery, wonder and stewardship of the natural world.  The digital flyover he created with Autodesk Maya 2015, Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and other tools, certainly succeeds in allowing anyone, including potential donors, to have a great digital view the proposed architectural model.

Nicole Longstaff’s “The Wine Experience” project assisted startup-entrepreneur winemaker Brent Virgin with promoting his business, which was a new, from-scratch brand with a unique model. The business was or is to be located on the charming, tourist-trafficked Cannery Row.  Her branding strategy included an artistic logo, marketing materials, signage, in-store products, a website and social media.  Importantly, she also included a graphics standards sheet for the customer, so they would know how to properly apply their logo going forward.  Nicole used the following tools: Wordpress, HTML5, CSS3, Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop and InDesign.  The lessons she learned are to always be self-motivated and not give up, which is something I take to heart.

The Ceres Open Source Management tool is a great software tool that could be reused by any organization, but was built for Student Recreation — with its bike shop, ropes course, hiking trips, basically, lots of social, active-minded activities.  The team saw a problem, which was that the organization’s events, rentals and services needed to be cataloged, tracked and organized by student staff, while old-fashioned note keeping and even Google Forums weren’t working -- the latter being the wrong tool for this job.  Ceres allows staff to create and modify inventory, all on one spreadsheet with tabs.  Also, there is a dashboard interface so users have good visibility of all components. Furthermore, it’s a web application, desktop or mobile-ready, so accessible to customers when they're on the go or in the shop.  It was built on two open source frameworks, ember.js and laravel.php, and it will be released as an open source project that’s free for anyone to use.  Well done, team!


Part V.  Summarize Your Week on Your Learning Journal

Our course is really getting underway. A description of my myself at this time would include ‘extremely busy,’ which is somewhat cliche or annoying for the reader because so are we all, oftentimes, but nonetheless...;  fortunately I am keeping my sense of humor and don't feel overwhelmed between this and my other two classes this quarter.  My calendared schedule is proving invaluable for managing my time and work, although it needs slight revision, and I know I’ve got to maintain my discipline and focus in order to see myself through these fast-paced eight weeks. I’ve had to make hard choices, such as canceling a pleasure trip to the movies in order to carry on with researching and a difficult coding challenge, but it’s worth it.  Ensuring I don’t waste time on lazy, wasteful activities will ensure that I get some free time in the near future.  Despite spending a lot of time studying, I still don't feel comfortable with my pace.  I want to get ahead of my work, not just keep up with it.  I’m getting more comfortable with my schedule, so I’m confident it will be sustainable.

The industry analysis I am conducting is on the autonomous vehicle, which I've found thus far to be a fascinating and challenging subject matter to research.  To my chagrin, more information seems available on the hardware, Lidar and cameras, for example, rather than the software, perhaps because the latter is subject to proprietary confidentiality, the industry being so competitive at this time.  Still, since I have not yet determined the particular industry in which I will work, post-graduation, I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn more about Automation and Robotics.  Furthermore, while there are many fine companies feverishly working on producing level-4 self-driving cars, I chose to concentrate on Tesla Motors, Inc. due to their excellent commitment  to and success with electric vehicles, of which I am a fervent fan, and, secondly, their current level-2 semi-autonomous Autopilot program which is already in place for customers of the Model S.  While this is a highly competitive company and industry in which to seek employment, it is certainly one which I would join with alacrity in the capacity of software engineer.  I've also learned that, while a BS is sufficient for some roles, often a Masters or PhD is required.  Such attainment is a lofty goal, but not in my plans at present, since I am keen to work again, as soon as possible.


References

Kizlik, B. (2016, January 14). Effective Study Skills. Retrieved January 18, 2016,    
     from http://www.adprima.com/studyout.htm

KNOLSAPE. (2013, June 17) Introduction to Project Management. Retrieved January 18, 2016, from      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOU1YP5NZVA

Project Management Videos. (2014, June 2). Project management: what is a work breakdown        
     structure. Retrieved January 18, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEWhnodF6ig

Time Management: Beat Work Overload. Be More Effective. Achieve More. (n.d.). Retrieved  
     January 18, 2016, from https://www.mindtools.com/pages/main/newMN_HTE.htm

umnWritingStudies. (2013, June 11). Project management: what is a Gantt Chart?
     Retrieved January 18, 2016, from  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIm8yWpBxFA

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Introduction and Thoughts on Computer Science Online Learning

Hello, I'm Lisa Voss. My surname is very new to me; my husband Sean and I were just married in September 2015 in a wonderful, small ceremony in Italy, where I have extended family and friends. We are happily enjoying married life and generally divide our time between San Francisco, where we reside, and the south bay (south San Jose, Morgan Hill, San Martin, Gilroy), where our families reside. We're all very close; family is very important to us.

Apart from four years spent attending the UC in Santa Barbara and a few years afterward traveling and working in the UK, I've lived in Silicon Valley my entire life.  When I think about my early education and growing up here in relation to Computer Science, some memories include the former IBM Campus, Building 25 at Cottle Road across the street, where they were researching disk drives (since the late 1950s); trips to Fry's and the range of OS, software and Internet of the times to which I had just started to get access; or my good performance in math and science classes.

Yet, I still didn’t feel I had any academic or real personal exposure to Computer Science, and studying it or one day becoming a web developer was outside my realm of imaginable possibilities. I often wonder why or how this could have been the case. For this reason, Ashley Gavin's great TEDxNYU talk, "Computer Science Education: Why Does It Suck So Much and What If It Didn’t?," was very interesting to me.  Her perspective and opinion on improving educational techniques and outreach are tenable and have a lot of merit.  Similarly, reasons behind the small proportion of women enrolled in Computer Science and STEM field majors, which she touched upon, has lead to a lot of personal introspection for me, and could, perhaps, be the topic of future research and blogging.  (I certainly have preliminary questions that I'd like resolved, as was recommended in ESC's Online Writing Center as a place to start when designing and drafting an essay.)  

My strong, personal interests in social justice, political theory and environmental protection ultimately led me complete a BA in Political Science, which I received from UCSB in 2005.  While it was tremendously educational, I nonetheless think that I would have been far better suited in terms of personality and skills to a career related to the STEM fields.  This is not to say there aren't similarities between CS and PolSci.  I've often read that computer programming teaches one how to think, and I believe that also to be the case with PolSci or Law.  Both require research, problem solving, math or statistics, analysis and strong logic.  Additionally, as we've read this week in Hansen's "Writing Skills: More Important Than Ever on the Job," contemporary, ubiquitous e-mail usage requires workers in many fields to develop decent writing skills, which I did there and we are also doing here. Lastly, I think sometimes both technology and politics share the same aims, to build better things, pursue a better world.  So, now, after having spent the last few years completing numerous online coding tutorials, building a handful of websites, attending Computer Science classes at Foothill College and joining some local WomenWhoCode Meet-ups, I’m happy with my decision to fully commit to what was my newfound passion for software/web development, and am ready to keep learning.

Therefore, ten years following my first university graduation, with professional interests and goals that have significantly changed, I’m so pleased to have found a school in CSUMB that shares a lot of the values I learned during my first course of study, and which will provide me a remedy for my lingering regret that I had not pursued a BS in Computer Science a lot earlier. I’m excited at the prospect of becoming an active part of and contributor to what is happening in tech in Silicon Valley. I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to gain fluency in coding languages and learn about the industry, under what looks like will be a rigorous, comprehensive and efficient curriculum. 

It's great to be underway with this program!  Computer Science is particularly well suited to online learning, in itself, and I am a big fan when appreciating the novel flexibility it allows because I will be able to work while completing my degree. Further, online learning compels me to self-reliance, resolve and researching, which are so important when solving difficult coding challenges. Incidentally, online learning is neither the retreat of the shy and introverted student. On the contrary, right from Orientation, I’ve seen that there is a lot and, arguably, in my case, more student-instructor interfacing than I ever had in the on-campus lecture classroom, which is to give no fault other than to my own shyness, in so much as I am required to regularly and often write or speak to my progress, this on a weekly basis.

I have experience attending online courses, having completed five pre-requisite or others of interest at Foothill College. I am on the Java track there, so I am currently supplementing my formal studies with an old C/C++ text. I'd like an extensive skill set with regards to variety of languages. Apart from garbage collection and some other concepts, which are certainly significant, I'm thinking the difference between the two is largely syntactical, rather than structural, in the sense that they’re both OOP languages.  Surely this is too simplistic.  Also, my logic skills are improving, and my memorization skills need to follow suit! Repetition and practice help a lot to that end. Other online courses I completed include Python, Introduction to Unix/Linux and JavaScript.


References

TEDx Talks, & Gavin, A. (2015, July 21). Computer science education: why does it suck so
     much and what if it didn’t? | Ashley Gavin | TEDxNYU. Retrieved January 07, 2016, from
     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jmN_tBS0t4


ESC Online Writing Center. (2016). Retrieved January 11, 2016, from http://www.esc.edu/online-
     writing-center/resources/academic-writing/


Hansen, K. (2015). Writing skills: more important than ever on the job | QuintCareers. Retrieved
     January 12, 2016, from http://www.quintcareers.com/writing-skills-on-job/



Monday, January 4, 2016

Enhydra Solutions



The project of building a resume for our team proved both valuable and enjoyable.  It was great to virtually meet and closely work with the class colleagues who will be my team members for this cohort.  I was pleased to find as we worked on this task that they also hold themselves to a high standard of workmanship.  Everyone effectively contributed in a measurable way and was dedicated to delivering a high-quality product to spec., to the best of our abilities.  The natural dynamics and synergy of the team were also surprisingly effortless.  Furthermore, the meeting was well organized, efficient and respectful.  

The team's combined skills and experiences are impressive.  In reviewing our viable professional offerings and the corresponding expertise necessary to deliver them, I learn, and am continuously inspired and reminded, of the need to make a specialized, targeted decision regarding my prospective profession, so that I pursue and master its qualifications or skills required by the time I graduate from the program in 2017.  It's a lofty, but achievable goal.  I am driven to dovetail my computer science education, my coding proficiencies, and career.  It's exciting, and there are a lot of possibilities ahead.  Current research for my Industry Analysis paper is further guiding me toward this end.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Sample Weekly Study Schedule



According to the Online Readiness Assessment's results, time management is a skill upon which I should improve.  I know that it will be essential with a full-time academic course load; however, this quarter, I have decided not to gain employment while I focus on undertaking this orientation class, a pre-requisite Math, as well as an advanced Java class, the latter two offered at Foothill College, so the challenge could be far greater.  (During my last quarter of school, my only study time was after a long day's work, at night and over the weekend, which is exhausting and demanding.)  Still, I must manage my approximately ten to twenty, dedicated weekly hours of work time smartly, effectively and efficiently, in order to be successful in this course.

I already calendar my schedule and keep an organized record of appointments, to which I try to pretty strictly adhere, and since the coursework encourages it, I’ll go fully digital.  My top priorities in time management will be to step up my game and set personal deadlines, that is, to complete my studies, readings, note-taking and assignments in the hourly timeframes recommended, rather than spend too much or more time than should really be necessary, usually just over-analyzing a finished project. (Unless I am stuck, in which case I must keep trying and/or seek answers to any questions I may have.)  Secondly, another goal is to avoid wasting precious hours, especially prime early morning, high brain-power hours, to performing administrative tasks such as organizing or checking e-mail, for example.  Therefore, I am already thinking about rearranging the proposed schedule posted above, as I learn the best strategy for tackling my work and doing well.  Planning the morning's priorities and workload the night before or doing easier check-ups during an afternoon slump, might be ideal.

I feel a natural sense of urgency and excitement regarding the coursework, which I seem to be pursuing with alacrity, so, hopefully burnout, boredom or procrastination won't be issues for me.  These obstacles were some mentioned, along with some strategies, in "The Five Steps to Online Learning," which are as follows and worth remembering throughout:
  1. When starting a new class, one should read the syllabus multiple times so that it's well known. Printing it out and highlighting important assignments is recommended, as is scheduling due dates and study time into one's calendar.  One will perform best, stay engaged and have ample time to receive feedback when one has a clear, early understanding of requirements.
  2. Plan and schedule study time.  Managing one's time well, taking responsibility for it and avoiding procrastination are critical.
  3. Log onto the course a minimum of three times per week to stay current with all that is happening in the class, such as forum posts, announcements and alterations to assignments.  This includes actively participating on iLearn.
  4. Ask questions of the professors and TAs.
  5. Make connections with fellow students.

References

Morrison, D. (2012, September 28). Five-step strategy for student success with online learning.
     Retrieved January 8, 2016.