Ask Me Anything with Lane Wagner, Computer Scientist, Founder of Qvault and Noonies nominee

Lane is computer scientist, Bitcoin fan, atheist, and founder of Qvault, one-stop-shop for programming courses and articles, focusing on keeping clients motivated, engaged, and learning by offering free content through achievements and rewards.

Check his recent articles on Hacker Noon:

How To Make Correct Line Endings

Data Integrity In Cryptography

How And When To Use Pointers in Go

A Few Words on VS Code

Ask Him Anything and join the discussion on October 8th, 11 am EST.

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Hi!
What’s your top list of resources to bring you inspiration in a computer science field?
Thanks!

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What’s the principal difference between computer scientists and engineers?

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Hi! What are some of the limitations of open source cryptography and how can we overcome them?

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Hey! What is the role of government in cryptocurrency adoption and how do the countries differ in terms of crypto landscape? If they do, off course

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Hi! What was your motivation when starting your own company? Can you share the lessons learned in 1 year of founding?

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What’s the role of technology in education? Should tech education be free to everyone?

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What is the best strategy to teach someone necessary tech skills?
Do you think the majority of the population should obtain some level of tech skills?

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Hi! What is the mission you hope to achieve with your company operations?

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Hey @Kyle , well I’m a bit biased because one of my main projects is focused on CS education: https://app.qvault.io. That said, my favorite resources for when I do research are:

Wikipedia (Lots of jargon but typically has great in-depth info)
Mozilla - Especially for anything Web/JS related
Github - Always be willing to dig into the source code
Open University Courses - Stanford, MIT, etc all have free lectures and materials online. They aren’t always served in the most digestable format, but the quality is top notch.

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Hi @community_nick The way I look at this question is similar to the difference between a physicist and a mechanical/electrical/civil engineer. The former works on research, theory and acedemia, while the latter implements the findings of the former.

A truly great software engineer will at least have a solid understanding of CS fundamentals, if not a huge interest. If you want to be a good engineer then learn your CS!

Hi @jonathan-coder. You might need to be more specific… There are always problems with cryptographic implementations, but I’m unaware of any that are a direct result of something being open source

Hey @wagslane thanks for taking the time to answer a couple questions, and for publishing stories on Hacker Noon.

How do you measure the success of your digital publishing efforts?

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Hi there @courtney-delawar! I’m not sure, but I actually think if crypto is to succeed like we all want it to, then it really means governments just getting out of the finance business (a huge proposition). Here are some short opinions I hold, assuming crypto “wins” and disrupts fiat:

  • Taxes will be easier to track and pay - if everything is natively digital then it can all be automated.
  • There will be a place to BYOB, as well as entities that will act as banks for those who are uncomfortable managing their own security
  • Governments will try to do everything they can to break privacy and encourage the use of non-private systems

Hey! Do you remember the time when you started writing about computer science and programming, rather than only “doing the work”?

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Yes @lewis . Tech skills will become a huge part of the average person’s life. I learned cursive in school, I never really learned typing. That was obviously a huge mistake. Education will catch up, and programming/tech will become a more central part of education.

I do think education is changing, that’s what my startup is focused on att https://app.qvault.io. I think that education will move more and more online, and as a society, we will need to come up with ways to replace the missing “real life” social interactions. Imagine if instead of 5 hours/day in class at college, you did 2 hours online and spent 3 hours socializing and meeting people, no homework attached?

What are your predictions for the possible innovations based on data science in the next decade?

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Thanks for asking this @ryan_coder ! Yeah so Qvault started as a project with 4 founders (I had 25% stake) and we were building a password manager/ crypto wallet. After several months of what doing what felt like ~80% of the work myself, I decided to pivot the company to something completely different (education) and split off from my partners. A few of the biggest lessons:

  • Ideas are worth what they cost to produce - nothing. It’s implementation and execution that matter
  • Be careful about cofounders - do it yourself if you can. Once you’ve vetted your project’s MVP then you can either HIRE people or bring on cofounders with a smaller equity stake later
  • MVP, mvp, mvp. Get it out there and get some users on it. Get feedback and see if anyone is willing to PAY for the solutions you are offering.
  • Don’t be afraid to outsource what you suck at. I’m fairly competent when it comes to writing articles, courses, and coding. I suck at marketing and design. I hire freelancers to help with what I’m bad at

Hi @jack-maccourtney I just wrote an entire post on this, so I’ll just link you that: https://qvault.io/2020/10/05/educations-shameful-state-of-the-art/

tl;dr: Education can be more efficient, cheaper, and streamlined than it currently is. Free? Sure. If you don’t want the handholding and want to do extra researc to build your own curriculums then maybe.

Qvault’s goal isn’t to make education free, but to make it affordable (<$1000 for a full college degree equivalent), faster, more efficient, and to lower the barrier of entry.

I think this article from a couple days ago sums it up: https://qvault.io/2020/10/05/educations-shameful-state-of-the-art/

tl;dr:

  • Make education MUCH more affordable
  • Make it easier to find streamlined programs that users a high-paying job
  • Focus on the quality of our educational content, rather than the quanity (most of our competitors are focused on quantity)
  • Encourage mastery-based learning, no knowledge gaps!