Tobias Roland

I'm a London based software engineer, currently taking a few months out of my career to study functional programming. This is my blog.

I quit my job to study what I'm passionate about

09 November 2019

I’m taking the last months of 2019 off to study functional programming, scala and category theory. I had my last day of work last week. So what now?

The day to day plan is:

  • two and a half/three hours of study in the morning
  • a mid day break with room for music and exercise
  • two and a half/three hours of study in the afternoon

All dedicated to only doing things that I care about. Maybe after a few weeks I will find that I need to divert course, but for now the ambition is to focus on Scala as a primary language, with a side serving of Haskell and a sprinkling of F# as teaching aide. And a few palate cleansers of methodology texts that I’ve wanted to read.

But why?

As you can imagine, quitting my job with nothing else lined up was not an easy choice to make.

On one hand, I had great coworkers I loved and a stable job that was providing a stable income, but on the other hand… well. I intend to write a longer blog post about this when I am less blog-shy (you’re reading my first blog… ever!), but in short, I want to take active control of the direction of my career, to steer it in a direction I think I will be happy with. That - for me - required taking some time out to explore what I am actually passionate about.

Fears and goals

My biggest fear for this project is failing to my overcome my procrastination. To combat it, I have some things that I hope will keep me motivated and on track. I might adjust these over time, for now though, I’ve set my initial values to the following:

Public goal setting

One of the best ways to overcome procrastination for me is to make myself accountable to someone else. I doubt many people will read this blog, yet just the act of writing up this text feels like I have made myself accountable - I don’t want to let future Tobias down when he reads this back!

Daily study journal updates

This should give me some motivation to ensure I have something to write. These won’t be ful-on blog posts, just one or two paragraphs such as:

“Today I read chapers 3 & 4 of Scala with Cats, and chapter 5 of Category Theory for Programmers - I thought I would get further but … so tomorrow I will try … to see if that will make my progress through the material easier”

Two books in progress at all times

Try to get at least 1 chapter from each book each day. Hopefully reading ‘lighter’/softer material like the Bob Martin books or The Pragmatic Programmer should allow me to never feel like I’m stuck hitting my head against the wall.

A daily schedule

I might do a blog post on schedules and time management as I find them a super fascinating topic. My plan is to do 2-3 hours of studying, long recreational break and then 2-3 hours of studying. This one isn’t iron-clad, but diversion from the formula should be accounted for in the daily study-journal updates.

In terms of how I study, that’s one of the things I really would like to experiment with. I have previously used the pomodoro-technique which really helps, but am keen to explore other study techniques.

Uh… misc?

And then of course, the fact that the goal is to only spend time studying what I am interested in. Should I find that a book or resource isn’t working for me, I will change it out.

I imagine I will return to these goals every now and then to adjust them.

Let’s go!

And here thought I wouldn’t have anything to write about, yet now I’ve started typing, I find I want to write a lot more about everything. Oh well, I’ll leave that for future blog posts!