My Method of Learning That Shaped a Software Engineer

We're often told to learn in conventional ways, stick to predetermined pathways, and rely on tried-and-tested methods. From teachers discouraging the use of Wikipedia to colleagues banning the utilization of AI like ChatGPT, we're sometimes confined to a narrow path of acquiring knowledge. But what if there's more to learning that isn't found in traditional classrooms?

In this blog post, I'll share my learning method and how it led me to become a software engineer. I'll uncover the various stages of my life, discuss how I developed a novel learning method, and reflect on the lessons I've learned.

Early Stage

In the beginning I often look back upon with a sense of affection and curiosity. Growing up without the constant stimulation of smartphones or electronic gadgets, my childhood was marked by a simple innocence and a desire to explore the world around me.

I spent my afternoons playing in the park, kicking a football, and watching the birds take flight. My toys were simple, yet they were a gateway to a world of imagination. I would create stories and scenarios in my head, giving life to the characters and landscapes I conjured.

School was a place of discovery too, but in a different way. I found joy in drawing and creating art. I remember once, when I was just 3 years old, our teacher asked us to draw a table and set of chairs. While others took a straightforward approach, I saw something different in my mind's eye. My drawing was in 3D, a perspective that was not taught or expected at my age.

I also dabbled in judo, a sport that taught me more than just physical strength and agility. There were hidden lessons in the practice, unspoken values that would later resonate with me in unexpected ways.

However, it wasn't all smooth sailing. There were instances where I cut corners in my studies, relying on luck and quick thinking to get by. I would complete only the tasks that intrigued me, leaving the rest to chance. It was a gamble, one that sometimes paid off and sometimes left me scrambling to find answers.

These early years were filled with experimentation, exploration, and learning through observation and intuition. The lessons weren't always clear, and the paths were not always straight. But it was a time of growth and shaping, a time when the seeds of a unique learning method were subtly sown, waiting to bloom in the stages to come.

Competition Stage

The competition stage of my life began with a newfound passion that would lead me down an unexpected path of growth and discovery. At this point in my life, I had developed an insatiable hunger for challenge and a fierce competitive streak, both of which would fuel my desire to succeed in unexpected arenas.

I found myself drawn to the world of competitive gaming, specifically to a game known as CSGO, a 5v5 tactical shooter that requires both skill and strategy. It was in this virtual battlefield that I stumbled upon something much more profound than mere entertainment; I began to recognize patterns, connections, and nuances that went beyond the screen.

In my role as an In-Game Leader (IGL), I was tasked with coordinating my team's movements and strategies. This was no small feat. The game is rife with variables: the economy of the game, individual player tendencies, prior round results, previously applied strategies, and so much more. These factors, combined with the rapid pace of each round, created an intricate puzzle that I had only 15 seconds to solve before each round began.

At first, it seemed like an impossible task. But over time, I realized that my approach to the game was evolving. I started to categorize variables into two groups: Group A, representing the problem variables, and Group B, representing the solution variables. I identified constants that guided the interaction between these variables, creating a framework that allowed me to analyze and predict outcomes rapidly.

The method was almost mathematical in its precision but had a fluidity that allowed for creative problem-solving. It became a tool not only for winning games but also for understanding complex systems and relationships. I iterated and refined the method, turning it into something like a mental database of results and strategies.

This was not merely a theoretical exercise; it was a practical skill that I honed through countless hours of gameplay. The virtual battlefield became a laboratory for experimenting with this novel learning method, a place where I could test, fail, learn, and succeed.

The development of this method was not without its challenges. It required a deep understanding of the subject matter, a willingness to iterate and adapt, and the ability to see connections where others might not. It was a method that didn't always yield immediate results but grew in power and precision with practice and experience.

The competition stage of my life was a time of intense learning and growth, a period where I forged a unique tool for understanding and problem-solving. The method I developed through gaming was not confined to the virtual world; it became a lens through which I could view other complex systems and challenges.

This stage laid the foundation for my later successes and allowed me to approach problems with a unique perspective. It was more than just a phase; it was the birth of a new way of thinking, one that continues to shape my approach to learning, work, and life.

Present Stage

The present stage of my journey finds me reflecting on the path I've traversed, the lessons learned, and the novel learning method I developed. This method, once confined to the virtual battleground of a computer game, has permeated various aspects of my life, transforming not only the way I approach problems but also shaping my identity as a thinker and a professional.

As a software engineer, the complexity of coding and the ever-changing landscape of technology present a new arena for the application of my unique learning method. Like the variables and constants I once juggled in the game, the world of software development is filled with intricate problems, solutions, and rules that govern them.

In my daily work, I find myself applying the principles that once guided me on the virtual battlefield. Analyzing the problem variables (Group A) and finding the solution variables (Group B) has become second nature, allowing me to navigate the challenges of coding with a distinctive flair. The constants, those guiding principles, serve as a compass, helping me to align solutions with the overarching goals and constraints of a project.

This method, however, is not stagnant. The beauty of such a system lies in its adaptability and potential for growth. I continually refine and expand it, recognizing that the learning process is ever-evolving, just like technology itself.

My current position as a software engineer is not the culmination but rather a milestone in a path that is far from over. The drive to learn, the hunger for challenge, and the joy of discovery continue to propel me forward.

I look at my past, the early stages filled with ordinary threads, the competition stage that ignited a passion for learning, and the present, where I apply and evolve this unique learning method. It's a tapestry of growth, understanding, and continual transformation.

The present stage is a reflection of all that I have become and a promise of all that I can be. It's a stage of not just utilizing but also honoring and expanding the novel learning method that has been central to my growth.

With an eye on the future. The method will continue to evolve, and so will I. The lessons learned are not confined to the past or the present; they are a guiding light for the future, illuminating a path that is uniquely my own.

Thank you for reading.

Saul Garcia Cespedes. Follow me on X (Twitter)