Every failure is a learning opportunity. After a lengthy interview process, including a 5 hour remote “on-site” session, a potential dream job (Machine Learning Advocate) decided not to move me forward. Though they expressed confidence in my data ability and felt that I would be a great fit for the team, their final decision ultimately came down to a fluency issue. In the take-home, I’d not had this issue because I was refactoring existing code; in the on-site, I’d performed at 1/3rd the speed of the typical applicant – 1/8th the speed of the strongest candidates! Their concern in hiring me was that I might not be able to keep up.
As a former educator (and aspiring conference speaker) in the process of submitting talks on cognitive theory for professional development, I was all-too-familiar with the role fluency plays in developing expertise. While the feedback was devastating to my ego, especially as one of the many programmers struggling through imposter syndrome, it was the type of guidance we self-taught coders crave. They were confident in my conceptual understanding of machine learning! Take that, imposter syndrome.
One problem was that much of my learning and development was done in Spyder (run locally) or Google Cloud Platform. None of the code I wrote got uploaded to GitHub and I diligently deleted my GCP resources after every project to avoid draining my free credits. In addition to this, I had been balancing my full-time job with these passion projects, often coding in hour-long chunks at 4:30am or 8pm, which made it easy to get off-track and scattered. I’ve become fairly well-rounded as a programmer, but I needed to focus on my primary domains in order to strengthen fluency before moving too far forward.
I structured this commitment to fluency around the #100DaysOfCode challenge. People often post about their progress with the #100DaysOfCode challenge, and I’ll engage with that community occasionally. However, the feedback I received tells me that what I need to focus on now is fluency and evidence of that fluency, for those times that I choke on anxiety and need to prove my skill set in other ways. That evidence is hosted on GitHub Project Pages, accessible through https://mutterberg.github.io/ (which currently redirects to https://datadev.me/).