The Start of Bradfield CSI

Why This Blog?

The aim of this blog is to share my experience and key learnings from Bradfield’s Computer Science Intensive (CSI) program. I hope pulling back the covers is helpful to future students of CSI, as well as to anyone with an interest in learning computer science.

I am also a student of learning how to learn. During my time in CSI, I plan to experiment with different learning approaches, and share them on this blog. A missing link in our traditional education system is equipping students with a critical skill: learning how to learn. I’ve only come across these ideas after my traditional schooling—particularly after taking Bradfield courses. Hopefully, you’ll find some of the approaches I try helpful. At the very least, it may give you some ideas of your own to try.

Finally, after having gone through all of Bradfield’s Core CS short courses, one thing I wish I’d done was consolidate my understanding of the concepts. Writing forces you to articulate new concepts in your own mind, and is the true test of your understanding. Perhaps you’ll find my explanations helpful.

A Little About Me

Like most of Bradfield’s students, I am a self-taught engineer. I came to the field is a roundabout way, through a degree in Mechanical Engineering, and eventually getting exposed to programming and web applications in my day job. My curiosity soon got the best of me, and I went down the rabbit hole that most new programmers find themselves in. As a self-taught programmer, I was lucky enough to get my first job building web applications at Enova in Chicago. Even better, they had a three month training program that taught you the basics of being a software engineer on the job, and looking back at it, was an inflection point in my career. I’ve been building web applications ever since, now at Pluralsight.

Why Bradfield CSI

Last year, I took all of Bradfield’s short courses, and this sparked my interest in its CSI program. I want to take my understanding of foundational computer science principles to another level, particularly large-scale, distributed systems. I will revisit many of the topics in the Core CS program, but in more depth, as well as many areas I hadn’t encountered. I’m especially curious how I can tie my new knowledge to other fields I have previously explored, such as climate change and blockchain.

One of the best aspects of Bradfield is the community. The CSI program is built around cohorts that work through the program together. Being part of a group of individuals taking part in the same challenge is something I haven’t experienced since college.

Finally, I take Bradfield’s philosophy to heart: It is best to learn the foundational principles of a field on which everything else is built, in order to do meaningful and innovative work at the cutting edge.