Change your life by taking part in computer activities!

” I don’t have technical advice for you but there’s a quote that I read whenever I need some extra inspiration. Chris Hadfield, an astronaut who was literally orbiting the Earth at the time, did an AMA [Ask me anything] thread on Reddit. Someone asked him for advice on the field and I think his answer can apply to ANY career goal.

{Background first}  
I found this advice at a very important moment in my life. I had spent my whole life through college thinking I was going to be a doctor. My parents had made that promise to my entire extended family. I wanted to switch into programming but felt like it was too late. I figured that I  had wasted too much time, money, and mental energy already so I might as well finish it up.
Horrible advice.
I needed to find a different career path. Programming came to me suddenly after watching Alexis Ohanain (co-founder of Reddit) speak at UVa. He had a few eye-opening things to say about entrepreneurship and the tech scene. What specifically stuck out was his line “50-100 years ago, you needed a factory and hundreds of employees to start a company. Now, you just need a laptop.” He also pointed to the library where they had actually registered the domain for reddit.com a few years earlier. That hour changed me. After I started dabbling with a little Codecademy, I found Thinkful – a new edtech startup that matched you up with a personal mentor to guide your journey. A few weeks into the course, I had hit the beginner’s wall, was bummed about my recent performance and questioned this crazy life decision.
But then, I read Chris Hadfield’s response to “Any advice to a young person who wants to get into this field?”
Decide in your heart of hearts what really excites and challenges you, and start moving your life in that direction. Every decision you make, from what you eat to what you do with your time tonight, turns you into who you are tomorrow, and the day after that. Look at who you want to be, and start sculpting yourself into that person. You may not get exactly where you thought you’d be, but you will be doing things that suit you in a profession you believe in. Don’t let life randomly kick you into the adult you don’t want to become.
That changed me. I’m now driven more than ever to thrive in tech. Maybe I’ll start my own company some day 🙂
[3 year update!] After learning to code with Thinkful’s frontend course, I applied to join the school and now help our Web Development Career Path students land full-time programming jobs! They’re not “world-class coders” yet but certainly well on their way. The circle has closed 🙂
If you’re interested in that course or just need general career advice about learning to code, advancing your existing skill set, or getting into tech/startups in a non-technical role, feel free shoot an email to bhaumik@thinkful.com. I absolutely helping out people in the midst of a career transition. (You can also DM me here but expect faster responses over email). 
p.s. Someone* saw the post and turned it into a comic 🙂
* “That someone is named Gavin Aung and runs a super cool blog making comics out of famous quotes called http://zenpencils.com

What is wealth anyway

“It never really existed.
One of the big fantasies people have about wealth and money is that it all exists somewhere, piles of gold and cash stashed away in vaults.


That’s not true.  A lot of wealth is ownership.  Stocks are ownership.  Whether a stock is worth 10$ or 100$ is due to a lot of factors weighed and considered by “the market” .  The market is people interested in buying and selling.

(http://www.tripleclicks.com/15984783/ECA


As an analogy, let us consider a peaceful tropical island in which there is no money, but there are coconuts and seashells.  We can eat coconuts, so we tend to value everything in how many coconuts we are willing to trade for them.  You have 10 very pretty seashells, and seashells like that are usually worth about 5 coconuts.  We tally up your wealth, including counting your pretty seashells,  and we determine you have 100 coconuts of wealth- half of it in sea shells.


Then, something changes.  For some reason, people just don’t want sea shells as much as they used to.  Maybe they found something better.  Maybe times are harder, and seashells are pretty, but you cannot eat them, so people think they are less important.  For whatever reason, the seashells that traded yesterday at 5 coconuts each are now bringing in only 3 coconuts in the island market.


Again, we tally up your wealth, including the 10 pretty seashells you own.  This time, you have 80 coconuts worth of wealth.


You still have the same number of seashells.  You still have your hut, your fishing pole, and some coconuts.  Nothing has changed.  But 20% of your wealth has vanished!


Ah, but then you say “But that was just people’s subjective evaluation.  All a matter of opinion!  I haven’t actually lost anything.”


Aha!  Right.  


That’s all the market is.  A consensus of opinion.  But it remains the very best way of determining the relative value of pretty sea shells and coconuts.   “

Chaos

“I’ll attempt to give a less technical definition that I hope is more accessible for people less mathematically inclined.


It may be easier to describe chaos theory than to define in a manner that is clear. 


Take the image below. There is an equation that will define this shape, ie, if you plot the graph of the equation, this is what you get:

(http://www.tripleclicks.com/15984783/ECA





What is interesting is that the line continues to swoop back on itself. In one instance it is in the lower left corner, and the very next, it is in the upper right corner, than lower right, then upper left, and finally back to lower left, and the cycle repeats. This is the butterfly of the so called “butterfly effect”. 


Now for a thought experiment, imagine that the above image is a weather prediction model.  Down is cold, Up is Hot, Left is Dry and Right is Wet. What makes this system chaotic is that if you plug in your variables (maybe pressure, wind speed, time of day, etc etc) into the equation, and you spit out a point in the lower left, so Cold and Dry is coming….. But wait… your variables were off by .0000001, hmm better plug them back in just to be safe. But low, now you’ve got a point in the upper right, so Hot and Wet….


So which is it? cold and dry, or hot and wet? 


That is chaos. Tiny, almost imperceptible changes to the input not only change the answer, but they change it categorically. It doesn’t just go from cold to being slightly colder… it completely flips cold to hot, dry to wet, or both! 


So what is the result of all this? to get reliable weather prediction we not only need a really accurate model/equation, we need to know our input variables to an incredible level of precision. This is why we can’t accurately predict weather out past a fairly short amount of time and why we still get it wrong sometimes when predicting things only mere moments away.”

Pay differences around the world

   Do people in Europe make more money than people in the United States? Salaries are different for jobs that are the same. Can anyone say why there are differences in salaries? Money does change some things but not everything.Being paid the correct amount based on the service that you offer is only fair.Who doesn’t want to get a fair days wage for a fair day of work?

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