It Is Not Easy If You Cannot Explain It

It Is Not Easy If You Cannot Explain It

I found a simple way for us to increase the knowledge in the world. It all starts with the conclusion that it’s not easy if you cannot explain it. If we only state that something is easy without explaining our reasoning behind it that knowledge remains in our mind. By explaining the things we claim as easy to others who feel otherwise we share the knowledge and help it expand. Let’s us evaluate that idea in depth.

*Plot Change*

I am in my room; it’s quiet. Every now and then I hear the sound of a rumbling motorbike engine across the street. I then start thinking of an incident that took place years back. Long story short, a student told me that a course I was struggling with was easy but later on ended up failing it while I passed it.

When I realized what happened I felt disappointed. I couldn’t understand why would someone so overconfidently state that a course is easy only to end up failing it. Was this a fake it till you make it attempt? It could be many different things, life happens, but based on my experience with that specific person I knew it was an overestimation. This is more of a case of someone overestimating their understanding of something, and that is not uncommon. David Dunning, PhD. a social psychologist once said that “People overestimate themselves, but more than that, they really seem to believe it.” he followed that by saying “I’ve been trying to figure out where that certainty of belief comes from.” This form of bias is often characterised as the Dunning–Kruger effect.

Socrates, a classical Greek Philosopher, seems to have met similar people himself, in a statement he said:

“I am wiser than this man, for neither of us appears to know anything great and good; but he fancies he knows something, although he knows nothing; whereas I, as I do not know anything, so I do not fancy I do. In this trifling particular, then, I appear to be wiser than he, because I do not fancy I know what I do not know.”

— attributed to Socrates, from Plato, Apology

It is challenging to find a striking balance and keep ourselves on the sweet spot between overestimation and underestimation. If we are honest we will admit that we all have found ourselves on either end and in-between.

Now back to our main point, how can we increase the knowledge in this world? I’ll sum it up as:

Dear YouTube: An Open Letter

Dear YouTube,

It has been a long while since I’ve used a TV. Ever since Greece transitioned its TV signal, from analogue to fully digital in 2012, there has been no functional television channels at my home. I do not remember how I felt about the change in my teen years; only that I remember one day all of my channels disappeared. Now, several years later, I don’t really mind. I have become comfortable with its inconsistent presence or absence in my life. Since then YouTube became a good alternative for the days when I wanted to get access to technological, educational, informational, or entertaining content. It gives viewers an abundance of options to choose from.

YouTube has been said to be the 2nd largest search engine in the world. We know that YouTube has more than a billion users, which is almost one-third of all people on the Internet.

The Focal Point: Let’s Innovate

Over the years I have been anticipating that a specific feature would surface. Instead of wishfully hoping that you will one day sync your thoughts with mine and come up with it, I decided to write you this open letter. Today I am sharing this idea with you.

Usually, when starting a YouTube channel people advise you to find your niche. Once you do everyone expects you to keep creating content in that specific niche. Awesome as that is, however, for people such as myself who have multiple interests, hobbies, or talents, this is limiting. As a result of that, I have noticed that YouTubers make various different channels. For example, if a YouTuber has established themselves as a beauty channel, but decided that they find interest in let’s plays as well, they currently have a few options: Read more

This Is a Business Card That Will Make You Memorable

“I can’t remember who you are. I’m sorry.” Is that what you say when you stare at the deck of business cards that you have acquired throughout the years?

I want to show you an affordable way to make your business card memorable!

A couple of years back I going through a deck of business and was wondering if its owner could remember which card belonged to whom. Do you remember who is Mr John Doe that gave you his card 8 years ago? Oh, you got lucky enough to meet 2 Mr John Doe’s in the span of 8 years, can you tell who is who?

These days business cards take many forms, a lot of people take different approaches to ensure that theirs is memorable. For example, someone might add a small gift along with their business card to hopefully leave a lasting impression. These things cost a lot. Printing the card itself comes with a cost, how can I do that in an affordable way? How can I do it in a more eco-friendly and minimalistic way in order to reduce waste? That was a question I asked myself in 2016. Fast-forward in 2017 I found the answer I was looking for, and I decided to share it with you!

“Tell me the facts and I’ll learn. Tell me the truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever. – Native American Proverb

Who is this for?

Before we get started I believe it is important to state who will benefit from this. This technique will benefit people who use a personal business card, meaning a business card with your own name and details. It is especially helpful for people that go to meetups, networking events, conferences, or any other large gatherings.

What is the caveat?

  1. It can be time-consuming but it definitely pays off in the long term.
  2. You need to have a legible handwriting.
  3. It might not be well received in certain countries so make sure you check the business etiquette of the country. It was brought to my attention by a comment that in Japan, for example, it can be considered an insult if you write on a business card. I have sought clarification on if it is equally bad if you write on your own card, for that, I am not sure as online it stated only about writing on someone else’s card in front of them, which makes sense. However, it is good to be cautious. This case could be a similar thing in China as well (based on some resources found online). I researched that and found this information about Japan online which I will quote shortly. Be aware though that in certain countries aside from how the business card looks, how you receive it is equally important, so make sure you do your research when travelling to a country that is foreign to you or you are offering a business card to a foreign national:

    “Do not write on the Japanese business cards. The best thing to do is examine the Japanese business cards carefully and leave them in front of you for the duration of the meeting. You may want to arrange the cards in front of you in the order of the participants seating positions, this will help you remember everyone’s name.”

What is the process of designing that business card?

The process of designing an appealing business card could fit an article of its own. I will assume you have designed the front side of it to keep this tutorial short.

Initial Must-Do Preparation

One thing that should definitely be on the front side of your Business card is a link to your LinkedIn profile or some sort of personal website that has your picture on it. Aside from allowing the person whom you gave your card to connect with you, if you gave them a link to your LinkedIn, it helps them remember your face. Being able to remember your face is one of the things that helps makes this whole process much more effective.

Mini Business Card Tutorial

So you have a business card, with a link to your LinkedIn or personal website (something that has your picture on it). Perfect!

We are going to work on the back side of the card. As I said earlier, remember we are assuming the front side of your double sided business card has already been completed. Let’s get started! It won’t take long!

 

  1. I’m starting with a clear canvas in the dimension of a business card.

blank card

2. I want to make it a bit more impressive so I will put a black background with a subtle zigzag pattern. You don’t need to make yours exactly like this, but this is a sample for the purposes of the tutorial. Read more

Algorithms & Data Structures: My Journey.

journey path of algorithms

Some years back I had a dilemma that led me to never study algorithms and data structures as a computer engineering student. I am the type of student that always goes above and beyond. One thing that I did during my studies is take courses that were 1 year ahead of my class. For example, if I was a Freshman (1st year), I would register in classes from the Sophomore year (2nd year) with any remaining credits (my university system is one of which you are given a fixed amount of credits for each semester, but passing courses ahead of time made me have an excess). I reached a place where one of the courses I passed was removed from the curriculum so the next year, which was the year on which I was originally supposed to take it, I was eligible to swap its grade for a future course. Due to my inexperience with being in university or studying computer engineering, I had little to no experience on which was the best course to switch my grade with. My background was science oriented, biology, chemistry, you name it. My experience with computer science was very minimal, hence my knowledge of it was lacking foundations. I had no advisor, so I resorted to asking people, in specific classmates in the same or an older year than me, however, I never thought of asking any professor. In my naive brain I thought that a student is more likely to know the answer based on rumors from other students or if they have done the course before. That sometimes holds true but not all the time.  After asking around I was advised to assign that passing grades to “Algorithms and Data Structures” because that course was hard, and even the ones that did pass it say they barely understood what was going on in that course. I strongly remember that there were 2 students out of the several I asked that told me it is a fundamental course to take. I did not take that word seriously, I did not understand why it is fundamental, I looked it up a bit online but I still did not understand what it was about. I decided to go by the advises of the party of opinions that were the most resounding. I assigned that not-so-awesome grade to algorithms and data structures and after that day I was not eligible to join the lab classes of it anymore because on paper I had already passed it.

Years after I tried to look for internship openings, and I realized that…software engineering internships which was what I wanted to try were asking for “algorithms and data structures” as one of their requirements. Later, I learned that, that is one of the fundamental coding interview must-know in order to become a software engineer or ace the challenging coding interviews. For top companies it seemed to me that no matter how intelligent or smart I was, all that mattered was how much I possessed that hard technical skill. That was depressing. Right there the dream of being a software engineer started to fade. I once more went online and tried to ask the search engines to show me the way. Show me the way to learn this skill! I did get an answer, but not the answer I wanted. I read some books, checked out series of recommendations on the right and best book to read for this subject but it looked so complicated. It looked very confusing, after a point these resources hardly made any sense and I will call it quits for several months, try again, temporarily quit, and repeat; I struggled.

I developed a phobia on data structures and algorithms, one that told me that it is so hard, and I would not be able to learn it. Eventually, I felt that the tech industry does not have a place for me. I felt that I needed to have known what code is at the age of 6 so by my early 20s I would have the necessary coding experience needed to do well in a coding interview. Life doesn’t go back and by the age of 6 or 12, I had no computer anyway.

 

The Turning Point

Over the months I changed my focus on being able to build some skills on other areas I was lacking. Several things happen till It lead me to decide to learn it again. It happens that I had the wrong goals in mind. I wanted to learn algorithms to do well in a coding interview to get a software engineering internship at an awesome company, when instead I should be learning it because it is a skill worth knowing and it is something that is bound to make my brain think smarter.

This time I was fortunate to get to know a wonderful person who is there for me in this journey of learning. That is very comforting. You can also join us in this journey of learning, a never ending cycle, having in mind that we are walking the same steps together in asynchronous times and paces.

I want you to join me in this journey. If you are struggling to learn this very important fundamental knowledge feel free to follow me in this path. This is a skill you can learn, and you need to start believing you can. That is the first step and that is how I am starting myself.

Task 1: Believe you can learn it. It might take hard work, but believe you can.

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My First Greek Coding Boot Camp Experience

My First Greek Coding Boot Camp Experience

This week I went to Founders & Coders coding boot camp that happened at “The Cube” in Greece. Two of their developers decided to come to Greece for the boot camp, and that was really nice of them because I don’t see a lot of such boot camps existing in Greece. What I would really love to see in Greece is an algorithms and data structure coding boot camp 🙂 I am learning that right now and I will be blogging my experience or solutions as I do so in the next weeks.

It was a super busy week. Coding in the morning, coding in the afternoon, coding in the evening, coding at night, and coding at midnight, actually coding almost all day with the exception on when I was writing a blog post I’ll talk of another time.  I was able to balance this with my official last days of my internship which I will talk of in another post.

So Founders & Coders is a 3 month boot camp with the aim to equip you to become a software developer. I don’t have much experience on which level can an absolute beginner get to after such boot camp but that is something for those interested in it to figure out. The one that happened in Greece lasted one week, so I believe it was probably a small portion of the actual full curriculum. Founders & Coders is located in London, UK and is FREE to attend if you get selected for a 3 month batch. You just have to make sure you have your own accommodation and things needed to live in London if you get accepted, and that you follow the steps given in the application process before applying. You can check it on their webpage yourself.

I know some basic programming(at least), but I try to brush up my skills from ground 0 several times till I am sure I understand the basics well, I wanted to meet other people interested in programming, and I really wanted to learn how to use APIs plus anything else I could. So that’s why I decided to attend, also because I wanted to spend my summer honing my coding skills some more. The classes were from 10AM – 4PM with one generous break. Let me mention in the past 2-3 months I have also gone to 3 company visits. Nokia, eWorx and ZuluTrade but I haven’t blogged about that. I saw Nokia data centers in Greece and it was so beautiful! I really like the climate of a data center, it looked fascinating.

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