This is my job now

Yep, I’ve finally got a cool job!

Btw, the picture above isn’t it – that was taken at the history of computing museum in Cambridge which I HIGHLY recommend visiting. I’m playing about on a Risc PC which is one of the computers I grew up with as a child.

What was I doing before?

The real elephant in the room for this blog in the past has been my job. For those who don’t know me in person, for the past 5 years I’ve worked as a drilling engineer for an Oil and Gas company. This has always made me feel a bit hypocritical given that I generally post about pretty cutting edge and sustainable technology. More about that below.


What am I moving to and why?

I’m going to be a Data Analyst for a computer games company. They are called Outplay Entertainment – they make free to play mobile games. This is super exciting since I’ve always been a bit of a gaming nerd. Also, I finally get to use the kind of things I post about here every day now! In other words I’ve made the decision to actually go and do what I like rather than just ‘go after the money’.


Why am I leaving Oil and Gas?

I definitely have no problems with my current company, so anyone looking for a big whistleblowing post is going to be dissappointed. The issues I have are with the industry as a whole. There are three main reasons:

  1. It’s just not my thing. I have plenty friends in Oil and Gas who absolutely love it. I’ve found it less and less exciting the longer I’ve worked here. I don’t think it’s a problem with the industry – it’s just my personal taste. Although I’ve spent most of my time in the office, I’ve worked offshore on oil rigs too and I really really disliked that part of the job.
  2. It’s not technical enough. Drilling engineering can be surprisingly crude*. Although my job title is ‘Drilling Engineer’, a lot of decisions are in reality, made through experience and anecdote. The industry is very slow to adopt anything new and I’ve found this really frustrating.
  3. I can’t justify it ethically. I want to drive a Tesla and install solar panels on my roof. I’m not naive and know we will rely on fossil fuels in the short term. However, I also believe that far too little effort is being made worldwide to adopt renewable energy and that it isn’t actually as big a challenge as it’s often made out to be. I may do an entire post on this in the future – my views on electric cars, solar panels, wind power etc have changed radically over the past few years.

*  I only noticed this terrible pun on proof-reading this post.

All the above said, I’d never criticize someone for working in the Oil and Gas industry. I think there are all sorts of interesting and rewarding roles to be found there. I’ve just decided it’s something I can no longer justify working in.


What does this mean for this blog?

It means I have my life back and normal service will resume soon! I’ve been frantically applying for jobs for the past 3 months. In addition, I’ve been at university (I finish this term in a couple of weeks). That means way more time for my personal projects and writing blog posts. I’m putting together a video for my next one which should be up by the end of this month (hopefully). I may also put my latest university project up here; it’s about using machine learning on a big dataset from Ravelry- a knitting website (it was Hannah’s idea).


‘Ok good for you…now do something cool’

Remember that post I did more than a year ago where I plotted out the most commonly used numbers from the Online Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences? In a couple of sentences, I searched a huge online encyclopedia of number sequences (eg ‘the square numbers’, ‘the prime numbers’, ‘Mersenne primes’…etc). I plotted how frequently the numbers 1-64000 occurred.

Well, after doing that I wrote a script to download the frequency of occurrence for the numbers 1 to 1 million. I did this the week after the original post but never got around to posting it here for some reason. In fact, I used my Raspberry Pi cluster to dowload all the data onto the 4 seperate Pis, before combining it on my laptop.

This is way more interesting than the data I previously used (which was a few years old). Again, I plotted them in a heatplot, with colour representing the frequency of occurrence. The number 1 is in the bottom left corner and the bottom row represents numbers 1-1000. The second row represents 1001-2000…etc.

million plot

Frequency of occurrence of the first million numbers in mathematical sequences plotted on a 1000X1000 grid. Note the vertical lines on multiples of 100, the diagonal on 0,1001,2002,3003…etc; there are also groupings around powers of 2 and probably all sorts of other things I haven’t noticed. To view in higher resolution, just save a copy.

If you spot anything interesting in the plot, feel free to send a comment.


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