The past couple of weeks have been staggeringly busy for me. I’ve been working on my group project (which is a store selling imaginary magical items.) . It was just in time for halloween. Spooky. I’ve gained a Python mentor, become closer with my Ada mentor, and been attending various meetups. I find that the Puget Sound Python group is extremely fun and often have meetings near where I live.
In school, we’ve been continuing Rails and implementing OAuth. This week was spent studying APIs and next week we will build one.
Today, I am at the Code Fellows working on my first Python framework, Django. I’ve been playing with the idea of doing my capstone project in Flask. The similarities between Rails and Django are astounding. I appreciate my coursework and how the MVC was explained. It has definitely helped to understand Django. I finished my project about fifteen minutes ago. She’s Coding set up this event and it is accessible to everyone. The person sitting next to me has no coding experience and several other people are transitioning into different coding languages. This event is for everyone mostly because of the plethora of helpful staff in every corner of the room. I appreciate them answering questions and solving problems (even if it’s only that I forgot to save the document in my editor.) We deployed our blogs on Python Anywhere.
On another note, interviews are coming. I’ve been trying to whiteboard like a mad person. I have to thank my friend Sarah for inviting me to whiteboard with her. It helped a lot. I’m definitely a bit nervous about that.
For the past week, I’ve been having fun with HTML and CSS. The week started off slowly with lectures on HTML. HTML is a straightforward, semantic language. If you remember to close the tags, you will survive. CSS on the other hand… well, I was having difficulties at first. After working with Ruby for a while, I forgot that there are artistic options when it comes to coding.
The developer’s tools app for chrome and using the “inspect” option on webpages gave insight into the mind of developers. I was able to see in real time how to change my code so that it adhered the aesthetics that I was striving for.
A fun project that we did in class is called “Meowspace.” We were given a HTML file and had to style it as close as possible to a wireframe. A wireframe is a schematic diagram. Although I didn’t know about it at the time, flexbox for CSS would have made my project a whole lot easier. For our weekend homework, we had to come up with a personal static site. Because of this project, I learned that many filters can be placed on pictures and that you can change the shape of boxes in CSS.
Although it was fun to learn HTML and CSS, I’m excited to announce that I’ve started learning Rails! Many people have told me that frameworks such as rails will teach me to be a coding wizard of sorts. Right now, I’m in over my head, but I trust that my interest in the subject and my awesome teachers will lead me and the class to victory.
It seems as though all of my hours are spoken for these days. I’ve been working on pair projects, doing homework, and doing solo projects. All of this is using the Ruby language.
Monday is when we really get into HTML and CSS. I’ve had introductory lessons in these languages, but I’m excited to put my knowledge of Practical Object Oriented design to work. We’ve had weekly reading homework from this book, and I’m slowly coming to understand the important concepts.
I’ve been continually going to the Seattle.rb group. They had a wonderful monthly social meetup where we attempted to make “Battleship” programs. I was partnered up with a senior engineer because I am extremely new. The programmer gave me some valuable lessons in servers.
Another group that I find to be welcoming is the Puget Sound Python group. I met many people, including the author of Fluent Python, Luciano Ramahalo.
Next week I plan to attend the Google Cloud Summit. I’m grateful to live in a city where I can diversify my knowledge in tech.
It has been a hectic week and a half. The amount of information that has come my way is astounding. If I had to give last week a name, it would be “method week.” I spent all weekend doing homework that wasn’t even required. Understandably, I was frustrated, but also exhilarated when I came to the correct answers on my homework.
This week is saturated by test driven development. When working with tests we do something called, red, green, refactor.
1.) Red – Write a test that fails. You do this to set up the standards which your code has to adhere to.
2.) Green – Make the code pass the test. Break down what it is that the test requires and make it work.
3.) Refactor – Your code should be as efficient and clearly written as possible. Ask yourself if this is the case.
Homework for this weekend at Ada Developers Academy isn’t getting any easier, but that’s the beauty of the program. Get comfortable being uncomfortable. Shruti Van Wicklen is starting to teach our cohort computer science fundamentals. The skills that I’m learning will elucidate the parts of computers, their languages, and memory that I haven’t had the joy of meeting.
Night Sky and Trees
Other than class, I’ve been attending meetups with Chick Tech Seattle and Seattle.rb. They’re both welcoming communities. I prefer Seattle.rb for a quiet place to do some homework with the option to speak to experts in the Ruby language. The Women in Tech Self–Care Series was held at The Riveter, a bright, airy co-working space for women. In addition to these, I volunteered to be a representative for Ada Developers Academy at a tournament at the Redmond Ridge golf course benefitting Ada as well as Year Up. It was a lesson in networking and a source of renewed enthusiasm.
It’s Sunday. I’ve spent a week studying software development. Day in and day out, I’m learning about programming. I love it. When life is challenging, it’s more interesting. The projects that are given make coding fun.
As my first week at Ada Developer’s Academy comes to an end, I look back and realize how much I’ve taken in throughout the week. Currently I’m laying the foundation of what will come in the future. I’m fully committed to the task. Being a novice, I find it both frustrating and exhilarating. I’m frustrated at my lack of knowledge and exhilarated when I can manage to find a solution to my homework problems.
Right now, we’re delving into the world of Ruby. It’s a user-friendly object oriented language written by Yukihiro “Matz” Matsumoto. Discovering new methods in Ruby is my mission for the next week. I plan on going through the documentation and taking notes. Recently, I found that the regex method is helpful with finding parts of a string. The notation is slightly difficult but rubular.com is extremely helpful.
Other than class, I’ve been going to meetups. Seattle.rb is a friendly group that I plan on frequenting. I learned a lot of fantastic information at the Mozilla Dev Roadshow. At times I felt that I was in over my head, but the people presenting brought things to a manageable level. Today I studied with people from “Girl Develop It.” We shared our experiences and our code. I’m grateful to be a part of the Seattle tech community.
I wake up at 4:30 AM and stare at the ceiling of my school bus which has been my dwelling for almost a month now. It’s parked on the side of the road in the suburbs of Seattle so that I won’t get any tickets or undue attention. Zac (my partner), and Mr. Tickles (the cat), and I have gone on an epic journey in this school bus named Odysseus. We’ve crossed every major mountain range in the United States. I learned how to drive a manual. Friends and family made for welcoming pit stops along the way and we drank in the beauty of nature. Odysseus is starting to feel like home and that thought scares me a little bit. Although I know that I have an application submitted for an apartment, for the moment I am technically….. homeless. The thoughts of how the day would play out streamed in my head like some dramatic Netflix show. Will they pile on an overwhelming amount of work right away? Will the Adies be friendly? Will I find out if I will be sleeping under a roof soon? Will I fall asleep because I’ve gotten up so ungodly early? After the usual scrambling around in the morning, Zac fought his way through traffic and navigates to the Ada Developers Academy Headquarters. Stepping out of the car, I realize that I desperately need caffeine. The Starbucks had a line out of the door, but the Cafe Migliore in the financial building where the headquarters is located looks inviting. With my coffee in hand, I head to the elevator to the tenth floor. Inside the doors is my cohort. I’ve never met a lovelier group of people. Everyone is a new story with unique experience. Everyone feels as I feel: apprehensive, excited, ready. Introductions are made and we go through our first day in class. Near lunch time, I get a text letting me know that my apartment lease is ready to sign. Success.
As I lay down on my air mattress in the bus for a final time, the buzzing and whirring of vehicles passing on the highway was a comfort, because I know that tomorrow is a new day and opportunity is knocking.
I’ve been a bit apprehensive when it comes to writing this announcement. There are some great things on the horizon for me, but I still feel as though it may be a dream. I have been accepted into the Ada Developers Academy. There, I said it. Does that make it any more real to me?
In February, I submitted my application for cohort 8 of the program. It’s a selective program, but I was optimistic. The essays that I had written were read and reread until I was satisfied that they were perfect. Then I got invited for the code challenge of phase II and interview in phase III. My confidence was slowly growing. I found that my biggest obstacle in most things was my overwhelming doubt. By completing the challenges, teaching myself to learn, and utilizing my resources, I could accomplish almost anything. I told a few close friends at work that being accepted into the Ada Developers Academy was a possibility and kept my plans to myself for the most part.
Finally, I got the notification that I had been accepted. I bought the mandatory Apple Macbook and am learning to use it day by day. I’ve got to move to the other coast of the country in a month and I couldn’t be happier.
As uncomfortable as it is, we need to get out there and learn from people. There are several resources readily available to anyone who wants to use them. Where I live, there’s a free newspaper that lists the local groups that get together. Meetup.com is a fantastic way to go to a number of tech or coding meetups. When you go to one of these meetings, there are people that see things from a different perspective and may offer some insight into how to learn more efficiently. Generally, they are helpful, polite, and friendly.
Through Meetup.com, I have recently attended a front end developers crash course from The Iron Yard in Greenville. Although fast-paced, I found it easy to follow. It was an experience that I would not have had on my own.
Had it not been for the crash course, I would not have any experience with front end development. I’m grateful to the Iron Yard for holding these classes and contributing to my learning experience.
If you want to become a great learner, networker, and developer, get out there. It doesn’t have to be every day, but make an attempt to interact with the community. There are so many things you haven’t learned yet and people you haven’t met. Possibly, you could become a mentor or help someone with a problem that you already know how to solve.
The instructor demonstrates HTML and CSS code
You need to know yourself. Always. Especially, know what you don’t know. When getting into the journey of coding, it can feel so cumbersome. Luckily, anything that may seem confusing can be easily searched for and code libraries are easily found.
There is a phrase, “standing on the shoulders of giants.” This means that everything you can do on the journey of coding has been built on the work of others. It’s comforting to know that I can find definitions of modules fairly easily.
For the Udemy Course, Programming Foundations with Python, there is a project where you have to learn to draw a flower using the turtle module. I am comfortable enough in my knowledge that I know that I don’t know how to draw a flower with the turtle module as well as I would like. Possibly, I could draw something that might resemble a flower abstractly, but that wasn’t good enough for me.
I decided that I needed to learn how to draw flower in Python that could conceivably be considered a flower on paper. In this pursuit, I utilized Google. Through the list of lackluster flowers, I stumbled upon something that suited my idea of the visual interpretation.
I could read the Python script, but I didn’t quite understand it. This is where the Python Standard Library comes in handy. After figuring out what the code meant, I modified it to fit my idea of a flower. As it turns out, things get simpler when you break them down.
While I was earning my undergraduate degree in chemistry at Loyola University of Chicago, I came across many great teachers. One in particular was Dr. Daniel Graham. He had the ability to elicit interest in a variety of subjects seemingly unrelated to chemistry. While taking his course, “Physical Chemistry Lab,” I was introduced to an old version of Python. He gave our lab group a fundamental manual of Python code, an ancient computer, and told us to make the computer into a calculator using code. By putting together the ideas contained in the manual and slightly winging it, we managed to create a program that would output correct calculations when numbers were input. This was my first taste of coding. I learned that computers are amazing things and can do what you want when you know how to talk to them.
This was several years ago and I hadn’t thought much about coding since then. Although I was able to complete the small task my teacher had placed before me, I thought of coding as something monumentally difficult. I don’t know why coding had this connotation, but it did. I felt as though it was a wall that was impossible to scale. Things started to change about a year ago. I started looking into learning some type of code; but what type? There are so many languages that it’s a bit daunting to find a place to start. The need to take control of my future impelled me forward, so here I am. I’ve started “Programming Foundations with Python” from Udacity and couldn’t be more excited. I don’t know where this journey may take me, but I’m glad I started.