Tools for Faster Learning

Here are a few tools that have helped me consume materials faster

Youtube Playback Speed Control This allows me to watch videos at up to 4x the normal playing speed

Natural Readers and Free Text to Speech Reader These let me copy and paste text so that I can simultaneously read and listen to the text

Spreed This is more for leisure/fictional reading. With this tool, I can copy and paste text, and read it rapidly. It presents the text one word at a time at a single point on the page, so I don’t have to move my eyes at all.


Mixing It Up Boosts Learning

I recently read this article: The Interleaving Effect: Mixing It Up Boosts Learning.

A few interesting points were made:

Blocking involves practicing one skill at a time before the next (for example, “skill A” before “skill B” and so on, forming the pattern “AAABBBCCC”), in interleaving one mixes, or interleaves, practice on several related skills together (forming for example the pattern “ABCABCABC”).

Overall, the interleaving effect can be strong, stable, and long-lasting.

I am currently learning from Pluralsight courses. I think interleaving works nicely with Pluralsight because the modules are around 30-60 minutes, which can fit into a Pomodoro because I play the videos at 2x speed.

I also feel like I have more fun because I can take several courses at once and finish a module from each course every day. Plus I get the variety of many different subjects, and the repetition when the courses overlap.


Learning from Pluralsight

In December I wrote about growing my coding abilities by reading.

Well I have found something even better and more enjoyable for me: learning from Pluralsight.

I am especially inspired by the growth shown by Kevin O’Shaughnessy who completed over 400 Pluralsight courses!

I feel like solving code challenges plus learning and building with Pluralsight will really accelerate my growth as a software engineer.

You can get 3 free months of Pluralsight  by signing up for the free Visual Studio Dev Essentials.

Data structures and algorithms practice resources II

Here are some additional resources for data structures and algorithms practice:

  • I have only used this for a few days but it is amazing! It has a very user-friendly interface and it is also designed to provide spaced-repetition of problems to enhance learning and memorization.
  • Pramp was introduced to me by Infinitely Finite and is also highly recommended in Mohsin Ali’s guide. Pramp provides free interview practice with other developers. Pramp has helped me improve at solving problems, explaining my thinking process, and teaching and helping others improve their algorithmic coding.
  • Geeks for Geeks Practice is great because problems can be sorted by company, topic, and difficulty. There are countless problems and there are plenty of explanations as well. I have fun solving problems here and improving my ranking 🙂
  • Tushar Roy‘s video explanations are very organized and easy to understand. He breaks down concepts step-by-step and also draws out every step, and then shows how to implement the concepts as code.
  • Hacker Rank has problems from Cracking the Coding Interview along with superb video explanations by author Gayle Laakmann Mcdowell.
  • A2 Online Judge has an endless supply of practice problems organized by category.

LeetCode Update II

This was my previous LeetCode Update and this was my Original LeetCode post.

Before I was doing the LeetCode algorithm problems in order of difficulty. I was doing and redoing the problems in random topic order.

I am now doing the problems by category. I am not finishing the category until I am able to solve the problems in the category. I think this is an improvement because it is more drilling and practicing of recalling and typing the correct solution. It is definitely more difficult than just searching for patterns, but it is providing me with a better understanding of what each line of code does in a solution.

Also to make sure I can do new problems in random topic order I use TopCoder.