Two of my favorite podcasts are Clear+Vivid by Alan Alda, and Hanselminutes by Scott Hanselman. Both hosts are excellent communicators. This morning, while walking the dogs, I listened to the last part of Alan's talk with the author/biologist, Thor Hanson. When that episode finished, I went on to the latest Hanselminutes episode with photographer and digital archivist, Evan Amos.
During the Clear+Vivid podcast, Thor mentioned that he at one time had written a book on feathers, their evolution, biology and human uses. Just imagining the wonder of delving into this single topic in natural history nudged me to think of my own studies. I had been thinking lately that I made a big decision to get a master's degree in Computer Science. Although I don't have a Bachelor's in CS (mine was in Economics), I have many years of experience in software engineering and a few years' experience teaching programming and data structures.
I could relate to the excitement of not only learning a topic in-depth but of the wonder of understanding more about the natural world. So, Thor's comments were themselves meaningful for me while at the same time, getting me thinking about how I relate to delving deep on technical computer science topics. I may be able to write, I thought, about learning these technical topics in a way that evokes wonder and excitement in readers, both novices and pros.
Especially at a time where there are so many stereotypes of what a software or computer engineer, or scientist, is like, I feel so different in some ways from what these mis-guided stereotypes describe. Some of it, the deep focus, a sort of ADHD, is real. Many of us have this focus. Yet, because software and computer science are so, well, esoteric, to many people, they don't ever get to experience the wonder and excitement that those of us in these fields do. If biologists, ecologists and climate scientists can imbue someone with wonder by describing the natural world, why can't a computer scientist do the same?
Blogging has not been my most consistent activity, but I'm going to try to write interesting posts on topics I'm exploring. It's an exciting time for me – having retired from working full-time in software development (finishing in year 2020), I'm applying for a master's degree in Computer Science, and spending more time learning and spelunking.
If you decide to follow along, I'll be tweeting each time a new post is published.