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Note taking system

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Senior Machine Learning Engineer at Taro Community5 days ago

Tech world is moving as fast as the speed of light 😊, hence the only way to keep up with it is to be fast learner and have a way to quickly review and retrieve information. I was wondering what technique you guys are using to improve learning productivity



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    Mentor Coach for SWEs | Former Staff Software engineer
    a day ago

    Here are some tips that have served me well:

    To assimilate and retain what I just read: Pausing after reading and taking time to remember what you just read. Revisiting the material in your mind reveals gaps in your understanding as well as memory. Re-reading those parts improves understanding and retention of the whole picture.

    Pattern matching: What else do you know that looks/works like this? This is very helpful in learning new languages or software tools. It also helps in interview prep, esp. system design and algorithmic problems (where else this design/code pattern appears, etc). Associating new things with things we already know making assimilation and retention easier. It also improves our understanding of the world in general.

    Note taking: Taking brief notes on books you read is a great way to jot down key takeaways and refer to them months/years later quickly! While summaries on sites like 4-minute Book Summaries or Blinkist help, I have found that my own notes work better since they are personalized to what I get out of the book. Yes, it does slow down book reading, but cost of reading the book all over again in the future would be much higher.

    Creating visuals: This mode can be used to retain flows of information. Think AuthN, AuthZ flows, designs of common distributed systems at scale, etc. Block diagrams are much easier to remember over mounds of text.

    Identify an archive that works well and build it up over time. For me, it's my personal Google Drive. Organizing by topics and being able to search through them is very powerful.

    You can also try apps that bookmark links, etc. but I do not have a favorite one.

    What are your thoughts on this answer?

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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    a day ago

    I don't do anything fancy. I take notes in a Google doc or a physical notebook. One thing I've found is that the act of translating my physical notes into an email or online notes doc is very helpful.

    Having a structured way to revisit notes ensures you retain much more information.

    Also relevant:

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    Mentor Coach for SWEs | Former Staff Software engineer
    a day ago

    Rahul's point about translating physical notes into digital is very important for consolidation!

    (This is part of why I rarely take physical notes. :) )

    I do keep post-its around for visual cues to change some persistent behavior though. For example, one of my notes said "Yes, and" for a while until I learned to pose counter-arguments that way. Visual cues like these are very effective!

    Some time ago, I had this use case where I had to read a bunch of books and take notes. I got the books on Kindle/Apple Books and used the iPad pencil to write to make sure everything could be digital and in one place. I found it very helpful.

    I also find Speech to Text very useful on iPad. Often times, I'll speak what's on my mind and it's transcribed.