It’s easy to forget about the little wins and lesser accomplishments while on a journey to some larger, grander goal. Don’t brush these small successes aside. Write them down, reflect, and remember where you were on your quests a month ago, a year ago, or longer. Oftentimes we overlook these minor achievements and hastily cast them away instead of appreciating how far we have come. Take your wins and hold them close. You don’t have to brandish them loudly. Use them as fuel to the fire of self-motivation and onward progression.
By keeping a small 3×5″ notebook with me everywhere I go, I can look at my daily progress whenever I need to. Whether academic in nature, for professional development or personal growth, it’s all there. I flip through the worn pages frequently, and look back at my notes from the beginning of Fall semester, recalling what my state of mind was only 16 weeks ago. Everything changes so quickly.
My notebook keeps me accountable for my (sometimes) fleeting ideas and inspirations, as well as my established milestones. It keeps me in a forward motion by providing proof of progress in the short-term. This method allows me to enjoy the process of getting to a destination, every little hurdle is documented and overcome. Somehow I discovered that writing things down helped me to organize and prepare for each day, and to stay on a path where I can continuously take little steps forward.
Take little steps, and celebrate each and every one.
It’s interesting to see how things change after you begin down any particular path. Doors open and close constantly. What I have discovered is many doors appear, too. Opportunities I didn’t realize were a possibility are coming into view. An example of this is the handful of positions I am looking at and being recommended for. Though they’re not developer positions, they’re roles that seem to perfectly blend my current experience. These roles are things like technical writing for software, project or product management with a team that requires deep knowledge of a programming language and agile process, etc.
Here I was, worried about my experience being too broad yet there are plenty of directions I can move in that would accept my current skillset with open arms. It is empowering and encouraging in this terribly emotional rollercoaster that is a job search.
Finals week is here, my last projects of the semester are due by the beginning of next week. I’m anxiously awaiting the release of the final project guidelines for Android Development this Saturday. Once this coursework is complete, I can focus 110% on my emerging job prospects. Not only will this week be heavy in coursework, but I have a few exciting conversations to look forward to, too! I have to be careful not to let my attention constantly wander through the “what-ifs” of life, but change is exciting! I’ll be a bit distracted, to say the least.
I will upload screenshots and descriptions of my final projects once they are complete!
The event in SF went great. The speakers all had a sense of humor, and the talk had positive energy throughout. I was able to discuss opportunities with a couple of recruiters from the company, which has me extremely excited. We will see in the coming weeks if anything materializes; I get to do that silly dance where I can’t come across as too enthusiastic. I can’t help it, I get so excited.
I’d like to draw a teeny bit of attention to my GitHub repository for my Android Development CSCI 235 class. I have each lab assignment on there, uploaded in a zip file (I wasn’t really sure what format to share them in). I also have a repository for my CSWB 110 class, with my personal class website, projects, and other assignments. Feel free to check them out. They are by no means masterpieces, but it’s work I have done. There’s no point in waiting until I have perfect work of code-art to share what I’m doing– especially since this is supposed to be about my learning process! Find my GitHub link (and everything else) in the footer of this page.
There are only 3 or so weeks of instruction left in both my Android and CSS/HTML courses; how exciting! The pressure is on for picking courses for next semester. I’m leaning heavily in the direction of Python and/or C#… I’m not so sure I could handle both of them in one semester right now though!
In more exciting news, I’ll be taking a long car ride to the bay in hopes of making new friends in the industry and maybe getting a shiny new job lead! I’m super excited at the new possibility of finally getting into a position where I can learn, and get some traction to excel!
Here we are, one year later. I have completed (or am currently enrolled in) the following courses in computer programming through Palomar College.
- Programming Fundamentals I (program design in C) CSCI 112
- Programming Fundamentals II (OOP design in Java) CSCI 114
- Introduction to SQL CSIT 150
- Android Development CSCI 235
- Web Site Development HTML5/CSS3 CSWB 110
Though I did drop one class this semester (3 was just way too many with a full-time job) I am still happy with my progress. I will admit though, I think I need a solid project to focus on to get REAL skills. Taking courses is good, but it’s not going to get me a shiny new job if I can’t showcase what I’ve learned and perform with industry-standard tools!
So now I move on with a new set of goals in mind. I hope to create my first portfolio items. I’ll have one for fun and one work-related. The fun one might be with regard to games and learning C++ or a game engine like Unity. The work one will likely be exploring how to create test scripts to test web-based applications. Wish me luck 😉
Final exams are less than a week away, and I’ve already registered for next semester. In a frenzy, I’ve also become obsessed with student internship opportunities, particularly with Blizzard– I can dream, can’t I?! Am I jumping the gun? Either way, I’m prepared to take my next steps forward and have found a fresh push of enthusiasm for building a game programmer portfolio!
Next semester will be an interesting mix of introductory SQL, Java programming, and computer application concepts (couldn’t possibly be any more ambiguous).
I’m facing a bit of lingering imposter syndrome. Am I pushing myself into something unrealistic? Have I destroyed any hopes of a real career? I ask myself these things every day, and sometimes the demons get the better of me. Perhaps the better question would be: what the heck would I be doing otherwise?!
My midterm was yesterday night. It was a long night. I took almost the full 3 hours to complete it! Grades came out today, and I aced it! Barely. I got a 91%, and though I’m really excited I’m a little peeved at myself for missing a few of the multiple choice/short answer questions. The programming part of the exam I scored a solid 100%, though. All in all, I’m happy! This afternoon I’ve browsed through the list of computer science courses in the fall catalog in anticipation for the semesters to come.
In other thoughts, I might try the 100 days of code challenge. Though I’m not confident I can do an hour a day on the weekends, I can likely commit to an hour each weekday. I struggled for a while with what exactly I should focus on for this challenge; you’re supposed to have direction or an end goal. Myles mentioned he is going to build a website portfolio completely from scratch. That’s neat, and relevant for him, but I don’t think I want to be a web developer. I get really excited about games, and perhaps that’s the direction I should move in. Why fight it if it’s something I naturally enjoy?
With high spirits, I move forward; though a little afraid of the course material to come!
It’ amazing how enrolling in an official class can hold one accountable for consistent learning. It’s too easy to be lazy, otherwise. Consistent hard deadlines and someone to answer my questions push me forward in progress whether I like it or not!
I will admit, this class got moving pretty quickly, and it’s quite difficult. I’m trying to learn as much as possible, and though I’m learning a lot, it’s not nearly as much as I had hoped. Nor am I learning as quickly as I had hoped. Maybe it just feels that way.
Midterms are in about a week and I’m not so sure I’m prepared for them. I’m doing all the assignments (almost obsessively), but this is all so new and different to me. It will be a mostly questions-based exam with a little coding. The final will be the opposite of that. The part that has me concerned is the weekly assessments are tricky, and if the midterm is like those assessments I’ll be getting maybe a “C+”. I have to do better than that!
A few days ago, I was reading an article the mentioned Linux’s awful work culture. In that article, it was mentioned the Linux Foundation president has made the comment (forgive me, I’m paraphrasing), “[…] women are always first to throw in the towel”. When I read it, I wasn’t irked or offended so much. I found myself repeating them in my head, committing them to memory, and determined to not prove them right. When I run into problems each day I work on class projects, I take the time to step through my code and keep at it when I otherwise feel like giving up. Don’t get me wrong, I know when to put it down and approach it later with a fresh perspective!
Ultimately, I likely won’t be the best in the class. But I know I’ll learn enough to continue moving forward. And hopefully, that knowledge will be enough to keep pushing me forward to accomplish my bigger long-term computer programming goals!
This week marks the beginning of class #1 in my journey of 7 classes, maybe more. If I continue on to get a 2-year degree instead of only the CSCI certification, I may be in for double the number of classes. Either way, the journey has begun and I’m already fretting over which 2 electives I want to take. I really want to do every last one of them! However, if I could only pick 2, I think I might go for Java GUI programming and Android development.
- Linux Fundamentals
- Java GUI Programming
- Android Development
- Video Game Programming I
- iOS Development
- Discrete Mathematics
Tonight there will be a live streaming event put on by my professor. We will go over the basics of week-one course concepts. I’m actually pretty excited. The class uses #Slack to communicate, and it creates a very friendly environment to ask questions and interact with everyone. This experience has made me take a moment to think a lot about my mindset between now and when I first began college; empowerment and enthusiastic versus lost and inferior, respectively.
Online education has come a long way from classes I took online in 2009. Granted, there are still lots of confusing things to keep track of: login for my college eServices, login for Canvas (learning platform), login for #Slack (for communication, student email account, MyProgrammingLab account, and so much more. One can easily overlook a task or important information.
My hopes are high. I continue to read about hackathons, and articles discussing proper or efficient coding technique. Though much of it remains over my head, a few things are beginning to sink in. And that’s progress!