Monthly Archives: July 2014

Learning the Front End

Recently I’ve completed quite a few courses on Codecadamy, Treehouse, and Code School. I’ve achieved many points and badges, but it will take more than watching a few videos and gaining achievements to become a developer. Old bad habit die slowly…I guess.

When I started this blog I was focused on learning Ruby until I was given some really good advice from a developer I met at  Women Who Code. She told me it was a better idea for me to get a good foundation and grasp of the front end before learning the back-end. I still really want to learn ruby, but I also value her advice and respect her opinion. She has amazing experience.

Today, I was reading a blog post by Matt Steele and he reinforced things I’ve heard before.  He said,

“You must build every day. This is a must. You’ll never make it unless you have a few sites under your belt and can prove that you know what you’re doing…”

I don’t know why I haven’t put more effort into building things. I have given myself tons of excuses like I don’t have enough time, my computer sucks, I’m waiting to purchase a Macbook Pro, etc.  Excuses don’t produce results. What am I waiting for? I guess I’m afraid all my projects are going to suck. There it is again…good ole Imposer Syndrome (never quite goes away).

I have put in a lot of effort and it will all go to waste unless I utilize the tools and skills I’m learning.  So I’ve decided to refocus. I’ve created a  few lists to figure out where I’m at.

 

Skills I’ve attained:

  • I am able to write valid HTML5 and CSS3
  • I have knowledge of the command line
  • I can wireframe a website
  • I am able to deploy a website to a web host
  • I can manage a domains DNS settings
  • I’ve learned how to use a content management system (Hello WordPress!)

 

Where I  still need  improvement:

  • Using JavaScript and JQuery
  •  Bootstrap/Foundations
  •  Responsive Web Design

 

What I still need to learn:

(This is a never-ending list really but I’ve narrowed it down considerably)

  • SASS/COMPASS
  • Git/Version Control
  • Photoshop
  • Illustrator

 

Building things will help me solidify my skills and better define my strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, focusing on being more pragmatic and getting out of the habit of haphazardly learning will be most beneficial (this is actually quite difficult).

On a positive note, I am on the right track. I’ve been going to Meetups, learning  through websites, connecting  with developers on twitter (looking at you CodeNewbies! 😉 ). If I incorporate the use of a timer and teaching others (with a few websites out there) I’ll master the front end in no time. So I will start logging my coding hours every Saturday night/Sunday morning.   When I finally get a Macbook Pro I will consider starting a video series too!

Wow…that was a long post. That’s all folks!

Computer Science Degree vs Programing Bootcamps

It is still to be determined which is the better option. I can not decide anymore, because I see the pros and cons of each. What I can say is that a computer science degree paired with a programming boot-camp would make anyone’s resume golden. I bring this  up because I find myself in this dilemma.  I’ve been working full-time and attending college part-time for the past few years working on my bachelors degree. When I began school again I was still uncertain of what I wanted to do, so I chose business. Ironically enough taking business classes has led me toward a major in Computer Science.

I have given a lot thought about the type of work I’d enjoy and the culture/environment I want to work in. I love reading and teaching myself new things everyday. I enjoy blogging, technology, creating things, and challenging myself (while moving past frustration).  I’ve thought about continuing on with a bachelors in business and attending a programming boot-camp later on, but I’m not sure how practical that will be in a few years. Additionally regardless of  how popular boot-camps are the price tag almost makes many of  them inaccessible.  

I still have  a slight case of Imposter Syndrome, and feelings of uncertainty. Sometimes I question if the top boot-camps really would admit a business major. But I would like to work in the tech industry and a bachelors in Computer Science seems like the ideal way in for me. Math is definitely not my favorite subject, and half of computer science is basically a math degree. But  I was given some valuable advice from a lovely young woman I work with,” you may not love a particular subject, but if it helps bring you closer to what you want to do learn to like it.”

It’s always good hearing other people’s stories and experiences because it helps put things into perspective. I know that by switching majors it will probably take me another year to finish my degree, but I believe that having a computer science degree will be and advantage in the future.  I know that  as an applicant without one I might be a harder sell to potential employers. So, I can’t say I’m fully on-board the boot-camp bandwagon, but I do believe in the material that is taught, and the skills that are attained. And I think they are a great supplement to a computer science education.