Who are you? Where are you from and what is your backstory?
I have a passion for teamwork and love of problem solving, which makes software development so exciting to me. Because of my background in the nonprofit sector and working with diverse populations, I am extremely passionate about web accessibility.
What made you get into programming?
I remember working on old MySpace layouts as a teen, changing the HTML and CSS. I continued to dabble in HTML and CSS on Blogger and WordPress on my own time. During my senior year of college, I took a basics in coding class where we created static websites. It was a three hour class on Thursday nights, which when you have senioritis, is really hard to stick to, but I loved that class. (I still have some of those projects on my Github.)
About a year or so ago, I became pretty lethargic in my job as a volunteer coordinator. I found that there weren’t learning or growth opportunities for me at my job and so in my spare time I tried out free coding tutorials online. I remember hearing about coding bootcamps back in college from CS majors and so I decided to do a quick web search and then not long after I was on my official coding journey!
Tell us more about your latest project?
Most recently I worked on SimAlchemy, a choose your own code school adventure for the command line. It was a strictly backend project (using MongoDB, Express, and Node) and because of this, my team and I wanted to create something fun and interesting. We decided to create an adventure game and thought it would be fun to turn the tables and write the story from the perspective of an instructor.
Let me explain: you log in/create an account and you get assigned a cohort. Throughout the game you have to post different assignments to your cohort with various difficulty levels, which then impact their sleep, stress, and knowledge levels.
What was unique about this project was the fact that my team and I mob programmed for most of it. It was enlightening to learn from my fellow developers on how they solved problems differently.
What does your process for learning to code look like?
I have a few tips on learning (probably things you have heard before):
Docs, docs, docs! Look at the docs! If you are new to coding, this is essential in understanding how things work. Most documentation is extremely well written with great examples to help you get started.
- When there are harder or new concepts I am learning, I like to search for videos on YouTube. There are a ton of awesome coders out there willing to share their wisdom with #CodeNewbies. For example, if you type into Google “var v. const v. let” a TON of videos pop up (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vBYfLCE9-Q was a favorite of mine).
Talk with others! Either hop on Twitter, join Slack channels, or go top local meetups and talk with folks. It is helpful to hear from others on how they understand concepts, hear their analogies and tips for how things work.
If possible, teach to others! I have heard from other developers and have found myself that it is most helpful to learn and solidify concepts when teaching other folks.
What does your process for building apps look like?
First and foremost I normally wireframe and draw out my component architecture. This is essential if I am working on a team, so we all have the same visual and understanding of the final product. It’s pretty chaotic, but I normally look for vertical slices from there. Have a button you need clicked? Just console log it before adding functionality to the button.
You know the skateboard to car agile model? (here) Working in vertical slices and making sure functionality is factored in throughout. You can still use a skateboard, a scooter, a bike, etc. at each step.
Do you face any particular challenges when building over a period of time?
Interpersonally, I would say imposter syndrome is something that always comes up. For that I really just talk with other developers and see how they cope. I also try and code something when I feel like this (normally it’s a round of CodeWars) to remind myself that I am a coding badass (just kidding).
I personally love debugging because I have always loved puzzle games growing up. There is a surreal satisfaction when you figure out a bug and fix your code, it’s awesome! Normally I simply copy and paste the error message and peruse the internet finding out what the heck is means as most errors like “Unexpected syntax at JSON Position 0” is extremely unhelpful. I have noticed some folks are hesitant to code as they don’t want to see these errors, but breaking code is the only way you are going to learn how it works. Go ham! Break some code!
Are you currently learning anything new?
I’m currently learning React with Redux! I have a few projects on my github of me dabbling with strictly front end React. My first build was a photo gallery of pretty planets (yes, I did include Pluto). Here’s a link: https://vigilant-stonebraker-f8104c.netlify.com/
Luckily the React AND Redux docs are well-written and easy to follow. Having a background with VueJS is also a plus in taking on React, but I wouldn’t say it’s essential! I’m also interested in building a blog with GatsbyJs.Their documentation is also intuitive and seems beginner friendly for folks looking to try to learn something new.
Advice for those learning to code?
Try online resources! FreeCodeCamp, Khan Academy, etc. there are a ton out there!
Be patient with yourself. This is learning a new language! It will take time and it is difficult.
Imposter syndrome is completely normal, for everyone. There are resources to combat this and move forward. One of my personal favorites is @selfcare_tech on Twitter
Stay hungry! Look for things that interest you! Join communities online and in person that excite you! Keep learning new things. If you have been coding in your spare time already, try CodeWars and challenge yourself. Check out the solutions for some of the easier problems and keep refactoring. Keep learning.
What’s your tech stack?
& I use VSCode :)
What does your hardware setup look like?
MacBook Pro 2017 / Processor 2.9 GHz Intel Core i7 / Memory 16GB 2133 MHz
Not too much special about my set-up!
What have been influential books, resources and links that have helped you?
Honestly Twitter and Slack have been huge resources for me. Just talking to folks online help me gain new ideas, learn from others, and engage in the community. Here are some of my favorites:
Code with Veni is a great resource if you are looking for information about diversity in tech!
Adelie Developer Group on Slack is pretty awesome! They are a pretty small community, but you can email their admin, Kevin, to get an invite.
Where can people learn more about you and your work?