Hacking My (Dot) Life

Come on Baby light my (Bon)fire;

I finally made it to the Bonfire section on Freecodecamp. I was very excited until I hit the first real one. It seems simple enough, just reverse a string. They suggest reading material from the Mozilla Developer Network and suggest that you may need to convert the string into an array before you reverse it.

Seems simple enough.  I first decided to use the waypoint samples to guide the way I write the syntax. But that didn’t work.  I see that when doing the waypoints, you miss out on understanding the syntax because you don’t fully type in all the code to make you progress to the next wayline.  You just learn to understand the basics.

I read the literature that they suggest (in case you’re interested it’s: Global String ObjectString.split()Array.reverse()Array.join() ) .  It’s a little too technical for me to comprehend most of it, and that made me feel stupid for about a good 10 minutes.

I went back to the bonfire and read the instructions.  Then I read them line by line, as I was taught to do in my Project<code> class, and it started to make sense, the gist of what some of the steps that I have to do.

  1. turn the string “hello”, into an array.
  2. return it so that it reads “olleh”.
  3. it must be returned in a string.

I went back to seeing the waypoint sample lessons and looking at the code we aren’t allowed to alter and started putting that into my text editor and nothing.  I was tempted to jump on the FCC Gitter Channel and ask for help, but decided to google the exercise and see if anyone had the same concerns I did in Quora or some other forum. Instead I was pleasantly surprised to come across Wulkan’s blog.   Wulcan’s blog had the answer, but most importantly (and sacred) to me, it explained the Mozilla literature in plain English!  I sat there are read Wulcan’s paraphrased definitions and reread the MZD information and it’s starting to make sense to me.

Off I go to try to see if I can come a full circle.  I was too excited to wait until I figured it out to share.

 

Instinct leads me to another flow…

I not only went back and did the chapters on Freecodecamp that I had previously done before they revamped their lessons, but I also surpassed what I had done.

At first I was a bit nervous since they give an estimated time of how long each section should take to complete. I breezed through the HTML, CSS, jQuery, and Bootstrap waypoints.  The Basic Javascript chapter wasn’t too too bad, but I started getting challenged when I hit the Object-Oriented Functional Programming chapter.  It started off okay, then got a bit more difficult, not in terms of content, but in terms of how you think about code and creating “objects”.  It’s hard for me to learn to envision how something can be utilized when you don’t really understand what it is.

What I found made it difficult for me was not understanding what certain keywords meant. For example, I know what “parameter” means, but in terms of coding, I didn’t.  There were a lot of things I didn’t understand as I went along, but I wrote down notes and questions for me to research when I finished the lesson.  I could’ve probably stopped in the middle and researched it, but I get distracted when I do that. I finished the chapter and realized I FINALLY made it to my first Bonfire! I was so excited, until I got to Bonfire #2 and didn’t understand what I was supposed to do.  At this point, I was 2 hours into coding and decided it was bedtime.

This morning during my commute, I pulled up my Javascript and jQuery by Jon Duckett and realized that the part I couldn’t get passed reading is EVERYTHING I had been working on last night.  Reading about concatenations(joining new strings), what’s a parameter (a variable within a function), and constructor function(function that describes the object being made) made sense.

I think my study style for  Javascript has finally clicked:  I work through things, even if I don’t understand it. When I finish the lesson, then read up on it. For some reason when programming, if I read something and THEN put it to use, it never clicks, there’s just no connection. But if I do it first, and then read about it, a light bulb goes off.

I’m really excited. I’m starting to get this.  Now off to check out this bonfire before bed.

A long December and there’s reason to believe

I might just be able to accomplish most of my goals, as I’m not going too overboard.  This week  I decided to restart FreeCodecamp.com and I am about 5 waypoints (mini-lessons for those not familiar with the site) away from where I left off in Javascript.  It was a little boring to go over HTML/CSS and bootstrap but it was a nice refresher.

I enjoyed redoing the jQuery chapter (I think I have a little crushing on that library) and I’ve been mentally toying with the design of this blog.

Listening to a free webinar titled “Building A Personal Brand” by one of my favorite vloggers, Roberto Blake.  He’s a Freelance Graphic Designer and Digital Artist. Despite my not being a graphic designer I love listening/watching him because his content is resourceful and has tips that can help any front-end developer. He gives tips on working with clients, work, types of machines he recommends, branding, and just real-world advice from someone in the tech world.   I highly recommend you check him out.

Tech Goals and Resolutions

For the past 10 weeks I have been taking the NYPL’s  Techconnect: Project Code Phase 2, jQuery, Bootstrap and Javascript.  We are the first round to take this second phase, aka the guinea pigs.  The class was good, but about 3 weeks in I had a feeling I would be falling behind,not because of the curriculum but because my personal life has been going through major changes.  I really thought I would be able to juggle classes as well as all the changes I have been going through.   I tried my best, and I’m happy I didn’t quit and didn’t squander the opportunity given to me. I just wish I knew then what I knew prior to accepting the invitation to join and perhaps passed it up and maybe joined the next cohort. I was just so eager to jump in and learn that I didn’t stop to think of the workload and how I would’ve managed my time and everything else that was going on.

There are only a few weeks left to 2015 and it’s made me make a list of my tech goals and resolutions I want to work on in the upcoming year.  Here it is, in no particular order:

  1. Update the blog once a week.
  2. Finish FreeCodeCamp.
  3. Start making small sites for profits.
  4. Focus on design, color and composition.
  5. Not focus on learning a subject. Learn based on what I want to make.*
  6. Go to a few tech meetups.
  7. Go to a tech conference.
  8. Start using Github on the regular.
  9. Contribute to open source projects.
  10. Update this blog and add a portfolio section and customize the design. Bye, bye stock layout.
  11. Get business cards printed.
  12. Read more programming/design books.

If this year alone taught me one lesson, it’s that learning, for the sake of learning, is good. However, if I’m not currently building anything with what I’m learning, then it’s almost a waste of time. I am taking the time to learn something, I’m not utilizing at the moment to build something, while putting what I want to build on the side and not working on that project.

I feel that the things I’ve retained are based on learning them while I was actively building/creating said thing.  Time is my most valuable commodity.  I may not know javascript inside out the way I’d want to, but what if I learn a few Javascript/jQuery tricks/commands and learn them REALLY well in to make my sites functional and do what I need them to do.  Isn’t that more effective than filling my head with things I won’t remember to do if the time ever pops up that I WILL need it?

 

 

Always playing catch up on this blog

Don’t think I’ve neglected this blog.  I think about updating about every other day.  I’m not coding as much as I would like.  Things have happened in the real world and unfortunately I’ve had to focus more on family issues that are occurring, lack of time and stress levels make it hard to sit down and work.

I’ve been listening to podcasts to keep myself in the zone somehow. I can’t stop thinking of coding and websites.  This is the only thing in my life right now that’s consistent, and I’m hardly doing it, but it’s always there, in teh back of my mind, waiting for my return.  Some cool things that I’ve experienced since my last blog post, but prior to my family drama occurring:

-Went to my first real networking meet-up on June 23rd.  MotherCoders was hosting an event at EtsyHQ , cohosted by Codenewbies, Steamrolers and DevBoot Camp.  I met a lot of amazing women. It was so exciting that I wanted to write as soona s I go home that night but I was SO excited and fan-girling like crazy that I wanted to wait a bit so that I could iron out the details of the event and jot them down.

-I have become a contributor on the Codenewbie Blog, curating the Front-End Roundup, a bi-weekly post. I freaking love it! Come check out it and the other Roundups.

-Have started a company with some colleagues from my library days.  I’m both excited and scared about this, as I don’t feel I know enough, but in the past I have worked with people that didn’t know ANYTHING in their perspective fields, yet they were signing my paycheck.  I figure I at least love what I do.

-Decided that I will be Front-end developing after all.  I’ve come to terms with the fact that I can’t just learn and DO.  I have to work and learn as I go along.

-I’m currently working on a friends site.  I am building the case-study for it.  and will be moving on to the UX/UI and then build from there.  Maybe not in this order, as I am playing around with color schemes and nav-bar layout.

-Up until about 4 weeks ago I was going on a pretty steady course on Freecodecamp.com.   I love that site. LOVE.IT!

-Updated the laptop to Windows 10.  Haven’t really been on to judge it, but I’m liking it a lot more than Windows 8, as of this moment, it feels like 7.  Time will tell how much I love it.

Topic Links:

MotherCoders

Codenewbie Blog

FreeCode Camp

My Goal List:

-friends site

-company site

-redesign LipstickandCode.com

-Code more, read more about UX/UI

-Make that money.

I Git it!

Last night I didn’t upload the code I had worked on this weekend in my repository.  I went over my notes and tried to do it on my own, but I felt a disconnect.  So I went on youtube and looked through vids and came across a youtube video that walks you through the process very clearly.  I followed along and within 45 minutes (I was taking more notes and doing everything step by step) I got my code into my repository.  This is VERY exciting stuff. I’m smiling from ear to ear. I’ve added the video I followed below.  It’s only the first 20 minutes and the rest covers two people working on the same repository.  For now, I’m keeping it simple and just worrying about how to update my code.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8TXME3bzNs&w=420&h=315]

On a side note: my picture did make it into the web article that I was interviewed for.  You can check it out here:

NY Daily News NYPL Tech_Connect Classes

Puh-Puh-Puh-Push It Real Good… to Github

I stayed up late last night making those changes to the site and all day it bugged me that I couldn’t figure out how to upload them to Github.  After I got home and settled in, I started the Github Course on Codeschool, (if you can afford it, check it out, i LOVE them!) and completed the first level.  This first level is free, just create a free account on Codeschool.  I’ve come to see that getting my little badges speaks to my little gamer-girl heard and is reminiscent to the good old days when I would whore my time to obtain WOW Achievements.

So, I tried to upload my code with the little intro to github I got, nope. No cigar, no Senor. Maybe I’m tired, and my brain isn’t putting two and two together right now, however, I took a LOT of notes and have a better understanding of the pull/push/branch commands. So yay for learning and comprehending something new.

Capture

And on another note: I came out in today’s NY Daily News.  Please excuse the blurry picture, the article was printed on the first edition of the day and my mom was the one who was able to find a copy and sent me a pic. I’m very excited about my 30 seconds of fame.

  • NY_Daily_News

github

Seems like I’m going to need to read up and do some github tutorials. I understand the concept, but I only downloaded the GUI and that’s harder to understand than just doing it through the command line. I think it’s time to call it a night. At least I finally spruced up the site I was workingon a little.  I got a little jQuery slidershow action going on, however the edges of the pictures are multiplying.  Not worrying about that tonight, just wish I could’ve uploaded so that the changes would show.

Whatever, all in all, a productive weekend, coding-wise.

Learning Vs. Doing

This weekend I had a plan to work on the projects I currently have.  I was extra pumped. I wanted to fix up and polish the first website I ever did.  It was the personal project I worked on during the New York Public Library’s: Project Code class.  The website is for a friend of mine and I always felt it was lacking.  I used my design skills and the code I had learned but it always felt like there was something missing.

I really haven’t looked at the code much since I turned in the project and the first thing I noticed when I opened it up was ID’s EVERYWHERE.  Not classes.  It made me chuckle a little and then I did an internal groan, thinking of how long this code was up on Github.  For a split second I imagined the hundreds of people that probably looked through my code and probably chuckled.  Ah well, I least I caught it.

I changed all the ID to classes and it somehow broke the layout and everything was a mess. I started making the site responsive and using Bootstrap to fix it and then I reverted back to leaving it as a static site for now, because I kind of want to show my learning transition.  So I tried the best I could to fix it without Bootstrap, and it’s so much harder to do that.  Holy Moly. I spent what should’ve been 2-3 hours fixing this site, to almost the whole weekend, and it’s not even finished yet.

It seemed a challenge because I had to go back and just rethink of how to do things and it made me wonder: Am I really learning while I do the tutorials or would I be learning more if I just jumped in and did a project?  I feel that with the tutorials, I learn to see somewhat of the bigger picture and can comprehend things when I eventually dig in. With the learning as I go, I discover new things, but I don’t necessarily understand what I’m looking at.  I feel like I’m hunting for code to copy that will give me the desired outcome.

At this time in my career, does it matter?  Is it enough to be able to design what and figure out how to make it work and look exactly how you envisioned? Is THIS impostor syndrome? Does this mean I’m actually on my way to being a real developer?

It’s been awhile…

I always make promises that I will post regularly, I promise this post isn’t about that. Maybe I’m just the type of blogger that blogs every so often.  At my job we have this philosophy: If we spend all our time having meetings and talking about the projects, there won’t be time left over to actually do the work. That’s kind of how I feel sometimes.  It’s like, I can get excited because I discovered what the DOM is, and I try to explain it here, but, would it mean the same thing to you?

Well, if I were to explain what the DOM is, maybe you might.  I know that after countless months reading up on the DOM and not understanding what it was, I finally understood it, thanks to the help of CodeSchool‘s jQuery course.  According to Codeschool the DOM (Document Object Model) is “A tree-like structure created by browsers so we can quickly find HTML elements using Javascript.”

I used to think that the DOM was, in a way like a programming language, based on the books I was reading.  I feel like I couldn’t wrap my head around it.  If you share the same train of thought as I did, I’ll be the first person to I’ll tell you it isn’t.   So your HTML opens up in your browser and starts loading into the DOM, the tree like structure. The DOM, reads your HTML elements and turns it into nodes.   There are two types of nodes:  Element nodes and Text nodes.  Element nodes are our tags: <html>, <div>,<h1>, <p>, etc.  Text Nodes are the text that fall between the tags, aka the content such as the words inside the <h1>, <title>, <p>, etc.

If this makes no sense to read, you can check out the video that enlightened me:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j67fKGFnPJE]

So what else have I been up to these past few weeks, in no particular order:

  1. Getting interviewed for a very public newspaper regarding my experience with the New York Public Library Project Code Class.  It should be published sometime soon, I’ll post that here when that happens.
  2. I took on two clients and am working on their sites right now, which I’m VERY excited about.
  3. Listening to podcasts and engaging in Codenewbies Talk on Twitter every Wednesday at 9 EST (I’ve missed these last two Wednesday *Sad Panda*).  To follow along just search for the hastag #codenewbie.
  4. Trying to come up with a design for my this page.  As a developer, I shouldn’t be having a generic WordPress theme.  I want some fat, curvy font with personality.
  5. Finishing up the two sites I’ve already worked on but that could use some polishing, considering that I have a few more tricks up my sleeves.
  6. Getting back into the groove of things of going to the gym.