Notes for HS Talk

The problem with advice

  • depends on the person, their goals and situation
  • really good advice that applies to almost everyone (e.g. don't try heroin) is mostly well known

So I can talk about my experience, what's worked for me and what I wish I'd done differently or known when I was in HS, but your mileage may vary.

Will start with quick overview on my background then we can branch out to whatever you guys think would be most helpful.

My experience

  • Neenah HS, 2005; UW Madison 2009, Montana State 2011
  • environmental economics/BP Oil Spill
  • learning to code/side projects
  • data science day jobs
  • working for myself teaching programming and data science with sports

What would be useful?

Happy to expand on any of these, or anything else.

  • What do programmers mostly do?
  • How did I teach myself to code?
  • What programming language should you learn?
  • What's the connection between Java/programming in HS and businesses/what programmers do day to day?
    • e.g. how are lists, bools, arrays, objects useful?
  • What's a CS degree like?
  • What is data science?
  • What kind of math do you use in programming?
  • What I like about programming:
    • it's fun; like working on puzzles
    • it let's you build things -- app, website, analysis -- which is satisfying
    • it's everywhere
    • might be the field that cares the least about formal credentials
    • very powerful skillset
  • What I like about entrepreneurship:
    • very minimal BS and wasted time
    • in theory, doesn't have to be a connection between time and results
    • easy to see how you're doing
    • requires a variety of skills
  • General life advice
  • Mistakes and misconceptions
  • Tools I'm happy I learned/wish I learned earlier
    • Vim - type faster
    • Anki - memorize anything


Essays and articles