The Experiment: A Breadth-First Search on Careers


I recently finished an undergrad degree at a college I hated (horribly bureaucratic, untrained professors, donkey-work for projects/assignments).

I feel like I have a 4 year debt to make up for - skills I should have learned in my undergrad, but never had the time to. In the coming year or so, I’m hoping to fix that by experimenting much more, and hopefully picking up skills that I think are important to me. For lack of a better name for what I plan to spend my free time on in the coming year or so, I’ll call it…

The Experiment

Tentatively, I’m considering 2 weeks of low-key, research time, followed by 2 months of intensive study and practice in the given field. Since I don’t plan to uproot my life and follow a rigid schedule (I’ll continue to have a personal life, work part-time, work on open-source, etc.) I think managing 1 or 2 subjects at a time is likely the most I can handle.

Generic resources to check before every subject

Candidate skills

This is an entirely non-committal list, of course. My broad aim in studying these fields is to maximize my skillset in areas that I think will have the largest impact on our future. The overarching goals / fields I have as my motivation for these skills are:

  • Programming language theory - imagine how much faster our rate of innovation could be if we had languages that made formal verification easier? (NASA spends months reviewing code, statically analyzing it - languages like Rust may eliminate a whole class of errors that need to be checked for, right?)
  • Quantum computing - because it’s quantum freaking computing! I imagine this will be the radical shift that makes the impractical science fiction possible.
  • Neuroengineering - if we could help more people “be better” (mood disorders, memory problems, paralysis), through whatever means (programming the brain, cyborg prosthetics, technology-aids), we could help unleash the potential of so many more people.
  • Communication - our ideas are worthless if we can’t actually communicate them and have others help make them reality. Some skills like sales, marketing, illustration, I don’t really care for myself, but I do believe a basic knowledge in these areas is necessary if I’m to succeed in my larger goals. I’m okay to pick up enough to understand when I’ve found a brilliant salesperson or illustrator. Besides, I believe anything can be interesting if you dive deep enough and actually scratch the surface. There’s always complexity that can be fascinating.
  • Space? I don’t know how, but being involved in just about any kind of space-research would be absolutely brilliant. I just don’t know if I’d be able to contribute sufficiently (i.e. as an opportunity cost against my other options, for eg.).
  • Computer Science / Math? In my free time, I think I’d like to play with challenges, and these areas are full of interesting little mysteries to tug against.

How I go about acquiring these skills will likely vary from field to field - it would be nice if I could find people to exchange skills with (i.e. I teach you something I know, such as programming, systems programming, introductory German, basic Math, Physics, etc. and you teach me one of the skills above (or really anything, honestly, I love learning)).

Life is going to get in the way, inevitably, so I’m being noncommittal about both which topics I pick and when their “deadlines” will be - but I need to keep in mind that there will be deadlines. I’ve focused on my little bubble of tech for some 8 years - I ought to broaden my horizons, so to speak.

Let the games begin


For starters, this blog will be my test-bed to improve my writing. I don’t intend to study writing intensively, except perhaps reading more blogs, “finding my voice”, and perhaps reading Stephen King’s On Writing.

I’ll try to blog more about knickknacks I find fascinating and end up researching here and there too.


As a build-up towards programming language theory, I’m likely going to have to study more languages that aim for lofty goals such as memory-safety, data-race protection, and increased usability without sacrificing performance.

Also, I need to learn me some Rust for my day-job, a convenient coincidence.

I think the activities that’ll help me learn it are:

Please contact me on Twitter (@AmaanC) if you have any suggestions for other fields to consider, or if you want to participate in an “experiment” of your own and would like to be experiment-buddies, or if you want to send me poop-on-fire and need my mailing address.