Sink or Swim

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!

Week 1

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.

Elective Options

  • 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!

Hit the ground, walking briskly

Somehow my brain has conveniently forgotten the woes of buying college textbooks. It’s a scam; you’re getting swindled and you know it. There’s nothing pretty about the process. The sour part of remembering all this is I’ve managed to pay more for textbooks and supplies ($297) than for the class itself ($208). What the actual hell?! Whatever. We can’t get too upset about these things in life.

Cost of Textbooks > Cost of Tuition

The books and lab supplies I purchased for my programming fundamentals course revolve around C. Thus, I think it’s only reasonable to dabble in aC tutorial for a week or two until class starts. I’ll have a little extra time to process and understand what is going on and get a head start. Something about old dogs and new tricks…

As far as FreeCodeCamp progress goes, I have successfully completed the challenges section for the Responsive Web Design Certification. Additionally, I have worked through 2 of the 5 projects for that certification (build a tribute page & build a survey form). Some HTML attributes are a little elusive, and I realized I need to do a little more reading to distinguish when exactly each is appropriate.

“You’re a wizard, Harry.”

Though I’m not feeling like much of a wizard in terms of the recent HackerRank hackathon, it was fun seeing what kind of problems and questions I might run into during an event in the future! I do however feel pretty good about the progress I am making with FreeCodeCamp. For work, I was tasked with creating a promotional landing page for a featured product. I think I surprised my boss with what I could do to customize over the current CSS theme for the site. It made me feel pretty good! Though it’s a minor win, it’s still fuel to push me forward in my learning!


Landing on my feet headfirst.

It’s official! I’ve been given the green light to take “Programming Fundamentals I” at a local community college. I was concerned about being dropped for missing the first two class meetings (traveling for work), but the professor says as long as I communicate and can keep up it’ll be fine. Rejoice!

In other news, HackerRank is holding a 48-hour Hackathon beginning this Friday. I signed up to participate (it’s free) even though I have next to no idea whatsoever what will be happening. Perhaps I can learn a thing or two about what to expect from an event like this in the future. Maybe It’ll be boring, but maybe it’ll be a fantastic experience I can take lessons from.


Baby steps > No steps

I have completed sections 1 & 2 of FreeCodeCamp covering basic  HTML, HTML5, and CSS. Most of it is a simple review, but it feels good to make progress no matter how minor!

Look what I can do!

Small feats aside, it might not mean much to have a  lone certification from CodeCamp. But that certification along and cumulative projects involved, as well as certs and projects from other learning resources might add up to something (Udemy, Edx, CodeAcademy, etc.)! What’s even better is all these sites offer a free version of learning.

I’ll be making donations to the sites as I work through them to show my support and gratitude. We live in a wonderful time of technology and free information! For the most part, all you have to pay with is time and effort.

A single baby step is better than no step taken at all.

Hello world!

After fleeing my hometown of Tracy, California in 2012, I attended Humboldt State University in the far reaches of northern California. In my time at HSU I studied applied biology and completed coursework in electron microscopy, bacteriology, genetics, and independent research. In 2015 I graduated with a 4-year degree and entered the workforce as a histotechnician. I happily sat in front of a microtome for a couple years.

After a job-hop-gone-wrong (actually, 2 bad job-hops), I decided I needed to reassess my career direction and how it would work into the lifestyle I longed for. I discovered there was a very short list of things I wanted from my career:

  1. Flexibility to work remotely — commuting consumes one’s soul
  2. Stimulating and tech-related — learning new things is important
  3. Feels good & is rewarding — agrees with my “moral compass”

I know, I know. I couldn’t possibly be more vague with my list. But face it, that’s what I came up with. And the more I thought about it, the more my subconscious pointed me toward the world of computer science.

It is only fitting that the beginning of my journey into the world of computer science starts with a post titled, “Hello world!”. The purpose of this site is to hold myself accountable for the hopes and dreams I have held for some time now. Not only will it serve as a reminder of my long and short-term goals, it will be a living portfolio. I’ll discuss my journey of learning new skills and breaking into a new industry.

And so the journey begins.