One of the main issues I have right now has to do with using my free time for personal development. After spending nine hours behind a keyboard working, it can be difficult to channel my remaining energy for the day to learn. Even if I get the energy to practice new coding ideas on my laptop, I have a two year old who loves to hit keys on my keyboard which makes things interesting. What do I do to better myself and try to grow as an engineer? Squeeze in as much content as I can in the possible hour and a half nap and watch videos at night when he’s gone to sleep. What am I trying to learn currently? That’s a great question! Algorithms. One of the main things my schooling missed was discussing algorithms and time complexity. For the most part in my actual work code, I use a lot of hashmaps so I can look up things but why not think about some other solutions that might be better for different cases. On top of learning about algorithms, I’ve decided to practice that code using Python. I don’t have any use for it in my work code because we use Scala and C++ but I figure why not give it a look and see what all the hype is about. It’s an enjoyable language for sure. Once I understood the syntax, it really just comes down to practicing as much as I can. Even if I had tons of energy and time to learn my biggest hurdle is knowing what to learn. That’s kind of why I started with algorithms and data structures because at very least they are core ideas and you can’t go wrong with that. Not to mention if I for some reason decided I wanted to find another job the interview process seems to be very much based around those two concepts. If you don’t have a good grasp of the time complexity of algorithms and a decent understanding of data structures, you’re not going to get far. From my point of view, I know I need to work on these things but another issue is knowing which algorithms are worth learning. There’s tons of them and not every single one is worth a look. So yeah, that’s where I’m at right now with personal development. I know I need to get better. Finding the energy to do it after writing code for nine hours a day is going to be tough, finding time with a toddler around is going to be tough, and honing in on which topics are most useful is going to be tough.