I mean, it’s all the rage, right? Cyberwarriors are the new soldier!
But where to start?
I’ll make this short and sweet, much like myself.
There are two components to getting into anything digital. Only two components. If you want to write programs, create graphics, run projects, or get paid to hack.
The two components are:
Easy, right? Well, ya. Seriously, you can try to do either one of these, but if you only focus on learning and you never test your knowledge or who your skills by doing, then you’re an academic and people can smell them a mile away. The people who “know” everything but can’t actually get anything done because they really don’t know how to do the do.
You can focus on doing. A lot of people get ahead by doing. That’s because most people don’t do. They sit on their asses and want.
But only doing and not enhancing your skills with knowledge beyond your pragmatic day-to-day crumpets of do causes you to lose out on a significant amount of progress and headway.
You have to do both if you want to break into a new digital industry.
The greatest thing about the digital industry, though, is that learning and doing can by super cheap and even free.
To learn, look for free or super cheap resources. Udemy is cheap. Khan academy is free (I think it is, in part at least). Youtube is free. Google is free (except the parts of you they sell, but we don’t talk about that).
There are so many free resources for learning what you want to learn that it’s not even worth trying to give an exhaustive list.
The next part is doing. If you want to learn cybersecurity, nothing really beats setting up an environment and trying to hack it. Environments are free. Virtualbox is free. Linux is free. Hacking tools are free. Sample vulnerable apps are free. Download these things, set them up, and start hacking away.
It’s going to be so painful at first. Everything is when you have to learn an entirely new skillset. But you have to start somewhere.
If you didn’t read that in Darkwing Duck’s voice, shame on you.
Anyways, I’m taking my education to the next level (or really, the first level). Of course, when I signed up for this course (Stanford University: Machine Learning via Coursera.org), I didn’t realize it was a timed course. I was thinking Udemy, you know? Work at your own speed?
Cause I kind of already started an AWS Certified Solutions Architect prep course, which was pretty heavy.
But then I got an email from Coursera telling me that my assignments are due.
3 Days later I’ve caught up from last week. Hoping to be caught up for this week by Monday (when I’m supposed to be done this week). That way, I’ll have all of week 3 to work on week 3 stuff.
And now I have to redo my plan for the AWS prep class since I had a daily goal listed out.
Anyways, I love me some maths. I haven’t mathed for years and this course definitely doesn’t skimp on the math. Loving it so far. Honestly, my only “upgrade” for this ML course would be to have quite a few more exercises to solidify the lessons. Right now it’s about 1 question per concept; basically to make sure you understood. But I like taking the vehicle around the block to make sure I know how to work the stick, ya know?
Here’s to learning me some ML and AI so I can learn how to attack. Cause that’s the goal, ya know? I mean, other than the fact I’m in AppSec, I want to know how to beat the machines when SkyNet rises.
It’s actually a simple answer. It’s boring. And, being bored, members do not perceive the lodge’s value. Now, I am part of a lodge that has quite a few active members and even more active line officers. But that is because we, “play the game.”
But what exactly does that mean?
If we look at sports as an analogy for our current situation, we can see very easily what the situation and problem is. Our country loves their sports. And I don’t mean our country as in the 20 people that happen to be on the field at a time, I mean the millions that sit and watch. Because, for all intents and purposes, sports are a spectator sport. We’re not expected to actively play; we’re expected to sit and watch.
People did not leave the comfort of their houses to go out to a lodge and become Master Masons only so they can sit on the sidelines and watch. They could have stayed home and done that with sports that were much more interesting. Our officers are the players that enjoy the activity. Everyone else is a spectator. We make them builders and give them nothing to build.
For those of you who have a trade under your belt, you know you don’t want to sit around and wait for a job to ply your trade, you want to go out and work.
So what is the solution? We need to build something . That’s the end all be all of it. While officers build new Masons, the new Masons must also be taught how and what to build.
What do we build then?
We have many options. We can build our lodges by repairing old ones and creating new buildings. We can build our appendant bodies by upkeeping their buildings as well as running programs and fundraisers to help their causes.
But these two are still limited because a Master Mason cannot build, they can only act as an Entered Apprentice or Fellow Craft during this work, that, in the end, would be directed by the Worshipful Master and the Line Officers.
What else is there to build? Our communities. I have been contemplating this idea for almost a year now, the idea of being a builder of the community. In May, 2015, my grandfather passed away. At that time, I found out that in 2007 he was awarded the Community Builder honor in my hometown. I had to look it up as I thought of this phrase near the beginning of this year and so the phrasing struck a chord with me. The honor is given to those who have made significant contributions to their community. I was taken with the coincidence of my grandfather receiving an honor that I had been contemplating creating.
So, how do we build the community? By creating organizations and groups. Do you have leftover food from your events? Deliver it to homeless camps. The organizations that exists will not take your food and pass it on, so you must do it yourselves.
Do you have adults who can’t read? Create an organization to teach them. But, you say, they already have a group to help adults with literacy. That’s great! Find where your community is lacking and build an organization to satisfy that.
You can also build buildings. I’m sure there are other groups out there that need homes. There are youth groups, senior groups, community groups, and many of them are looking for a home. And you can provide that. Or perhaps you want to help expand your local college or university.
Or you can build youth programs. We have Masonic youth groups that have mixed backing. I’ve personally helped our local chapter of DeMolay start and they have an incredible amount of backing. As well, our Rainbow Girls assembly, while fledgling, is also growing!
But what exactly is a group? It just a flock of people who gather for similar interests. But, the youth groups need help with special interest programs. Would your youth organization be served by having more special interest programs?
What about a science and technology program? What about a literature program? They need help building these programs. Would they not be much more interesting to prospects if your group offered these programs?
But they can’t have special interest groups without people willing to back them and help run them. We are not limited masonic youth organizations. What if we create programs outside, such as science and technology competitions where scholarships are awarded? Or a “Community Builder of the Future,” competition? Every external program that we create is branding for our masonic youth organizations. It’s free advertisement. In the end it’s simply a matter of work. Our organization will continue to see numbers falter as long as we hang a sign that says, “Seeking builders, no work at this time,” on the outside of our lodge. As long as Freemasonry remains a spectator sport, numbers will dwindle. To solve this, we need the coaches and team leaders to come out and direct the work of new and weathered members of our lodge. It’s only through building that we can be builders. It’s only through the act of masonry that we can be Masons.
I went to start a new project, something I like using circuits.io for; kind of to prove the concept.
So, I click on the link on my cylon post and it’s gone! It forwards to library.io which appears to be owned by autodesk.
Now, I’m all for buyouts and stuff. Sometimes it saves us; sometimes it makes us wealthy. But this wasn’t a buy out so much as a “screw you and your links to circuits.io”. I would have hoped they maintained the links to the old projects. I’m creating an account there to see if I can hack the url to get my old circuit back, but I’m not hopeful. :-/
Shout out to #Bitsbox. We just got our first box today and now my 8 year old is absolutely addicted to learning to code. She loves water; I mean she’s a fish. And tonight she got out of the hot tub to get back to programming.
She keeps coming to me with bugs and very good questions about functions.
It honestly reminds me of when I was 7 and had a Commodore Vic 20. My mom bought a book of games and I had to type pages and pages of code to get a game to run.