Julia Evans

I'm doing another Recurse Center batch!

Hello! I’m going to do a batch (virtually) at the Recurse Center, starting on Monday. I’ll probably be blogging about what I learn there, so I want to talk a bit about my plans!

I’m excited about this because:

  • I love RC, it’s my favourite programming community, and I’ve always been able to do fun programming projects there.
  • they’ve put a lot of care into building a great virtual experience (including building some very fun custom software)
  • there’s a pandemic, it’s going to be cold outside, and I think having a little bit more structure in my life is going to make me a lot happier this winter :)

what’s the Recurse Center?

The Recurse Center (which I’ll abbreviate to “RC”) is a self-directed programming retreat. It’s free to attend.

A “batch” is 1 or 6 or 12 weeks, and the idea is that during that time, you:

  1. choose what things you want to learn
  2. come up with a plan to learn the things (often the plan is “do some kind of fun project”, like “write a TCP stack”)
  3. learn the things

Also there are a bunch of other delightful people learning things, so there’s lots of inspiration for what to learn and people to collaborate with. There are always people who are early in their programming life and looking to get their first programming job, as well as people who have been programming for a long time.

Their business model is recruiting – they partner with a bunch of companies, and if you want a job at the end of your batch, then they’ll match you with companies, and if you accept a job with one of those companies then the company pays them a fee.

I won’t say too much more about it because I’ve written 50+ other posts about how much I love RC on this blog that probably cover it :)

some ideas for what I’ll do at RC

Last time I did RC I had a bunch of plans going in and did not do any of them. I think this time it’ll probably be the same but I’ll list my ideas anyway: here are some possible things I might do.

  • learn Rails! I’ve been making small websites for a very long time but I haven’t really worked as a professional web developer, and I think it might be fun to have the superpower of being able to build websites quickly. I have an idea for a silly website that I think would be a fun starter rails project.
  • experiment with generative neural networks (I’ve been curious about this for years but haven’t made any progress yet)
  • maybe finish up this “incidents as a service” system that I started a year and a half ago to help people learn by practicing responding to weird computer situations
  • deal with some of the rbspy issues that I’ve been ignoring for months/years
  • maybe build a game! (there’s a games theme week during the batch!)
  • maybe learn about graphics or shaders?

In my first batch I spent a lot of time on systems / networking stuff because that felt like the hardest thing I could do. This time I feel pretty comfortable with my ability to learn about systems stuff, so I think I’ll focus on different topics!

so that’s what I’ll be writing about for a while!

I’m hoping to blog more while I’m there, maybe not “every day” exactly (it turns out that blogging every day is a lot of work!), but I think it might be fun to write a bunch of tiny blog posts about things I’m learning.

I’m also planning to release a couple of zines this month – I finished a zine about CSS, and also wrote another entire zine about bash while I was procrastinating on finishing the CSS zine in a self-imposed “write an entire zine in October” challenge, so you should see those here soon too. I’m pretty excited about both of them.

A few things I've learned about email marketing A new way I'm getting feedback on my zines: beta readers!