My goal for this post is to share how I answered a seemingly simple question — what should I learn in my free time?

While developing software in Silicon Valley is educationally rewarding on a daily basis, there is still so much more to learn. Tech news is constantly bombarding readers with new technologies like blockchain, machine learning, and autonomous-(insert vehicle type here).  Staying ahead is exciting for me, but also critical to my career.

I considered a few ways figure out what is “hot”:

  • what new courses were coming out on Udacity, and other online platforms
  • what types of companies are getting funding on Crunchbase
  • what companies did YC actually fund

I found that, for me, the YC batch list tended to be the best resource. I was more confident about what the initial investment was for, compared to later stage funding information I could find on Crunchbase. I didn’t feel like there were enough data points with courses. I also thought going through YC companies would also be fun, something I could probably quantify, and generally interesting to learn about what companies were accepted.

Here’s a breakdown of my analysis and steps:

  • Browsed websites of 121 YC17 Summer Batch funded companies
  • Tagged 72 companies with an unequal number of tags, just tags of what they were working on

And here are the results:

 

Based on these results, I decided that I would pursue general machine learning. While there are many projects to help people just like me use machine learning without coding, I think it would be helpful to understand the underworking. This is in addition to writing more Python since I currently focus on Swift. First, I will begin with the basics by brushing up on my calculus and taking a quick course on linear algebra. Then I’ll try to make my own model even though these guys have done a great job of that already.

At the end of the day I think it’s important to choose something you’re passionate about and that you think is exciting, because who would want to spend their free time doing something otherwise?

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