Hello from New York!

Tomorrow morning, my summer adventure begins: I’m a student in the summer 2013 batch of Hacker School!  Basically, Hacker School is three months of learning about programming, in a bring-your-own-project-ideas-or-enthusiasm, collaborative, friendly, flexible, awesome environment.  I haven’t actually been yet, so that’s my one-sentence interpretation of what it is based on the website, and from my three Skype sessions with facilitators (so definitely check out the website if you want to know more).

I’m really excited about this, for many reasons.

  1. I’m guessing I’ll meet some amazing, smart, friendly, enthusiastic people who like learning stuff, which I look forward to because I’m pretty passionate about learning stuff too, and I really like meeting people who share that passion.  
  2. I really like coding/programming, but rarely have the time during research to think very hard about the best way to program my methods - it seems like getting the results quickly is always more important than getting the results in the optimal, most organized, most efficient way.  I figure that practicing programming will make it easier to write good code faster.  This is becoming a huge challenge for statisticians, since new statistical methods are being deemed useless without good software – so I’m excited to really dig in to coding!
  3. Some pretty famous people are going to be at Hacker School…I’m a little star struck.  I’m beyond excited to meet them, and also to meet my fellow students and the facilitators.  (I just like meeting people!!!)
  4. I get to live in New York for three months.  So pumped.  I know, I know, there’s no air conditioning, washers/dryers, or space in any of the apartments I can afford (I mean seriously, the shower in my current place is shaped like a triangle, and my roommates tell me it’s totally normal if the curtain just falls down after you shower…) but the food is delicious, the public transit is so good, and it’s very leafy.  

I’ve been interested in learning JavaScript for a while, mainly because of a pretty neat tool that some of my friends/colleagues developed for interactive data visualization, using d3. So, one of the Hacker School facilitators recommended starting by reading the book Eloquent JavaScript.  It’s free and it’s actually delightful to read (I’ve chuckled out loud several times in the first few chapters).  So that’s where I’ll be starting tomorrow!

Keep an eye out for more Hacker School/New York musings this summer!  AND ALSO, if you have ideas for useful software projects, I (and I suspect my fellow Hacker Schoolers) would love to hear them.