14 Organising your future
You might find it a bit scary thinking about your future. You might be tempted to procrastinate making important decisions about your future, see figure 14.1. There is a risk of thrashing or getting stuck in a
busy waiting loop. This guidebook is here to help you break out of that loop. One way to breakout of an unproductive loop is to organise and schedule some time every week where you work on personal development and job applications. Doing good applications takes time and you’ll probably find you can’t do as many applications as you might like, especially when you consider Hofstadter’s law.
Your future is bright, your future needs organising, so let’s start organising your future.
14.1 Building your future
In section 11.2.10 and 11.2.10 we discussed the importance of timing in your job search. When you apply for jobs will determine what kind of jobs are available because most graduate schemes and graduate jobs follow a rhythmic recruitment cycle of some kind. How many jobs you apply for is largely a function of how much time you spend doing it. The more time you spend, the more applications you can do.
We haven’t explicitly discussed the timing and organisation of the activities outlined in the preceding chapters:
Let’s imagine you could precisely specify all of the tests using make in a
makefile or specify them somehow in your favourite Integrated Development Environment (IDE). Ideally, you’d like to automatically run these tests, so that you can build your future systematically. You’d like to repeat these tests periodically, e.g. once a day, week, month or whatever your schedule is, similar to build automation in software engineering. Attempts to automate aspects of job applications and interviews have so far had very mixed results. (Schellmann 2022; Dastin 2018) But, as another thought experiment, let’s image it was possible
Let’s pause here. Insert a breakpoint in your
code and slowly step through it so we can examine the current values of your variables and parameters.
* PAUSE ⏸️
- So what’s in your make file?
- How often will you run it?
- Which tasks can you automate?
- Which tasks are always going to be manual?
* RESUME ▶️
14.3 Scheduling your future
If you’re a University of Manchester student, the live Coding your Future (COMP2CARS) workshops sessions are also here to help, every Monday at 5pm. COMP2CARS complements the second year tutorials (COMP2TUT) at the University of Manchester and takes place in the same slot as COMP2TUT when you meet your personal tutor. See your timetable at timetables.manchester.ac.uk.
Outside of that, its a good idea to organise some scheduled time to work on continuous professional development (CPD), particularly the not very scary and actually quite enjoyable tasks of designing, building, testing, deploying and coding your future.
14.4 Discussing your Future
The accompanying online forum for course discussion will be at piazza.com/class/l8t6l0le6vu2lg
14.5 Summarising your organisation
Too long, didn’t read (TL;DR)? Here’s a summary:
Your future is bright, your future needs organising. Organising your future will help you build your future. Building your future will help to start coding your future.
Building your future is a bit like building software, with testing and compilation. Except for when it isn’t. Like many analogies, are computational analogy of building software breaks down, so in the rest of this section, we’ll look at some other aspects of building, not in the automated software sense, but the broader sense of Building your Future generally.
We’ll start with chapter 15: Researching your Future investigating postgraduate study and research. Are they the right path for you? How can you know?
Researching your Future might sound like a part of Designing your Future section, but it fits better as a Deploying your Future chapter. Your decision to do further study and research might come after a period of paid employment, either as a summer internship, year long placement or graduate position.
So researching is a deployment issue, rather than a design issue as we shall see.