Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Am I Doing the Right Thing?

A question I deal with almost daily is, "Am I doing the right thing?". I may want to go back to school, but I am horribly afraid of debt, and somewhat dysfunctional while focusing on anything but this. I have a Master's in Chemical Engineering with a focus on Polymer Processing, with a focus on Melt Blowing (an area that most have never heard of). I am studying Additive Manufacturing (Additive Manufacturing Technologies: Rapid Prototyping to Direct Digital Manufacturing by Ian Gibson et. al.

In an e-mail I said, "It is difficult for me to say what my computer skills are. I've built websites with html, Flash, GIMP, InkScape, Drupal, and freebie JavaScript. I've touched PHP, Python, and Java, and a very small amount of JavaScript (I've seen it a couple of times). I've looked at Bash scripting (and maybe Perl?), but I'm still not that much. Except for a few stints with Basic and a confusing course in C++ before entering college, some attempts at C in undergrad, I didn't start challenging myself religiously with programming until around 2007 to 2008 with Fortran. I find I spend most of my time trying to connect things in books, in journals, online, and through experience, to figure what is most important. I know right now I decided that it would be a good idea to study computer networks, network security, logic, Dr. Jeffrey Ullman's Introductory C.S. book in conjunction with MIT Scheme, perhaps study Dr. Ullman's Coursera course on automata, a book on Intelligent Databases by Parsaye et. al etc. I spent over a year with professional hackers at a hackerspace, but found myself to be a newbie because it was another person who used things like grep, sed, and awk, and regexp to help me set up a Hiawatha webserver to run Friendica. Some interactions on the public-lod mailing list have also led me to the concept of resilience, which I'm told has something to do with my blog (adistributedeconomy.blogspot.com). I've read Dr. Liyang Yu's A Developer's Guide to the Semantic Web, played around a little with the visualization tools, ontology engineering tools, etc, but still found myself confused (thinking I should just study, code and definitely interact more). ....

My LinkedIN profile gives some idea of what I've done otherwise (http://www.linkedin.com/pub/brent-shambaugh/9/125/9b9). ....

Currently, I'm teaching one chemistry lecture right now in a part-time temporary position."

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