On life regrets and finishing MIT6.00X

My meatiest lingering life regret has been that I spent most of my Artificial Intelligence major at the student union pub…

My second most meaty regret has been that programming lectures were the worst casualty of my determination to drink rather than learn.

Well, they say that life is all about second chances (do people say that?) and just to prove it MIT6.00X – Introduction to Computer Science course was recently published on EDX. Right in the middle of our world trip. I was going to learn to code at last!

The first thing that I learned was that I was right to regret shirking my lectures at university – I just couldn’t believe how much amazing stuff I missed out on the first time around. One beautiful concept after another was covered, as well as core programming concepts such as Object Orientation and recursion within a couple of lectures we were into algorithm design and complexity theory and then further in to specific problems such as search and sorting.

By the end of the course, as well as other things, I had programmed a cleaning robot, simulated viruses and drugs within a human body, used graphs to build the kind of route-finder you might find used on your GPS and proved that P = NP. O.K. the P = NP bit was a lie… but I do know what P = NP means!

Anyway, after 13 weeks of WIFI dependence, beach dodging and wife neglect I finally completed the final exam and… managed an overall score of 93%… which was crazy. Just to satiate your curiosity as to how the grades were distributed across all students I have generously marked myself in red below.

Screenshot-6.00x Course Info - Google Chrome

So there we are… with that I have managed to partially quell one of my all time all time life regrets. Which feels really good. But… The other thing that I learned is that being able to code a bit better is not enough. Every time I completed a problem set or watched a lecture or did some background reading I wanted to be solving real world problems to use my new powers for good.

And so I have a new regret to work on… that of not getting started in my coding career earlier. I wonder where that might lead…