Author Archives: Allie Foard

My Interview Process with Greg Collins

The web developer that I interviewed was Greg Collins. Greg is the former chief information officer at EarthLink. Due to unfortunate circumstances EarthLink went through a series of layoffs, which left Greg without a job. Greg now works as a freelancer in the Atlanta area.

Interviewing Greg was very interesting. I found him through linkedIn as a friend of a friends. I asked him if he would mind speaking with me on the phone for half an hour and he said he would be glad to.

As we began our conversation I was instantly amazed that Greg didn’t begin his career in tech, he actually worked in retail as a store manager. His interest in coding and tech began much younger however.

Greg grew up in the suburbs of Tennessee where there were no real coding or web development programs in place. He was first introduced to the web world when a new teacher came to town with a web development background and began a coding club. He was instantly drawn to the club and became a regular at the meetings.

After high school and into college Greg self-taught through different books and mostly trial and error processes. As he was working as a store manager he thought that he might have some talent in the web development business. He sought out a job as a coding expert that came with employment training. From then on, that is what his work has consisted of.

Throughout our conversation I was very interested that the first type of coding language was BASIC, something I had never even heard of. He said that HTML was too futuristic and he didn’t learn that until his employer trained him.

Later in his career Greg turned to app development, which is what he focused on at EarthLink. He claims that the type of coding is very different, but still likes to focus on creating clean code.

Overall I learned a lot from Greg!

Greg Collins, Former CIO of EarthLink

The developer that I interviewed was Greg Collins, previous Chief Information Officer at EarthLink. He developed an interest in coding during high school, began his career in web development and later switched into more of an app developer role for EarthLink. As an app developer, Greg’s main focus as a freelancer now is to create easy to use, goal-oriented apps for his clients.

(Q): How did you initially get into coding? Were you taught by a class/teacher or did you self-teach?

(A): Growing up in suburban Tennessee, there was not real push for kids to learn coding growing up. However, my sophomore year of high school, a new teacher came in with a web development background. He created a coding club at our school, and I went once just to check it out with no real intention of becoming part of the club. I was instantly drawn to the idea that you can create your own website through writing a new language in a certain way. Needless to say, I quickly became a very active member of the club.

We initially began with BASIC and FORTAN, throughout my sophomore and junior year. My senior year we were introduced to HTML, CSS, and Javascript. After high school I focused on self-teaching through online courses and after college was formally trained by my employer.

(Q): What was the hardest coding language for you to learn?

(A): At first, it all seems very different and foreign. With that said, I think that the hardest language for me to learn and self-teach myself was Machine Language. I also think that it was the most interesting to learn since it is really writing commands directly into the CPU.

(Q): What project are you most proud of?

(A): The coding project that I am most proud of probably has to be my first own version of BASIC in machine language. It was the most difficult project I had been a part of at that time. It took me weeks to finish and I was very proud of my efforts and happy when the coding finally worked. It was extremely interesting to me to write a higher level language in the most base language there was.

(Q): What is your favorite site online today?

(A): This changes a lot, but as a technologist I spend a fair amount of time looking at various technologies and therefore enjoy TechRepublic lately. With technology constantly changing and improving, it is very important to stay current with the newest trends either in coding, or just technology as a whole. New types of technologies can change the way a developer writes their code, for instance, with increased usage in mobile phones, we have to make sure our code is cross functional and optimized throughout different platforms. I try and stay as current as possible through and other online tech publications. 

(Q): What has shaped your work?

(A): In the beginning of my career I was always interested in looking at the coding behind websites that drive a lot of visitors. For instance websites like the Washington Post, Amazon, ESPN, among others. I wanted to see which websites had the best layout and processes and tried to replicate that for my clients in order to create a user-friendly page that would drive traffic like those of such large capacity.

As my role has changed into app development, I am inspired by apps that create simplified actions. Some apps try and have too many options, but I am motivated and drawn to those that narrow down their functions to a few, very basic actions. Users don’t want to be spending time searching for through an app to find what they need or want. The best apps are those that have extremely simplified clear and concise functions.

I spend many hours with my clients to evaluate their core functions in order to create a simplistic app that has functions that are so simplified, a fourth grader could figure out how to navigate it.

(Q): What advice would you give to coding beginners?

(A): The advice that I would give beginning coders would be to dip your feet in all types of coding languages and truly find out what really interests you. When I first began coding, there were hardly any tutorials online, and about half of the languages and functions there are today. Luckily, as technology has grown, so has the need for IT, tech, and coding specialists. With that has come the increase in learning opportunities. There are online tutorials and coding program websites for just about any type of coding someone would want to learn. But I would just recommend truly finding the language that implements the functions you are trying to create. Play around with a few of them, I bet you would be surprised at what might interest you.

(Q): What are some best practices you can share regarding web and app development?

(A): When it comes to best practices for both web development and app development, I would recommend keeping your code clean and keeping up on new development in languages and techniques. If you fail to do so, your website or app may end up with problems like slow loading, bugs, and others. You want to ensure that your website or app is as up to date as possible and ultimately optimized for visitors.

JavaScript & jQuery: Still Having Trouble

This week has been very difficult. I still haven’t fully understood Javascript, and then being pushed into jQuery has been difficult. I feel like I am forgetting things I thought I knew about HTML and CSS since we are moving at such a quick pace. The jQuery assignments on Codecademy were much more difficult and didn’t give you the answer after a few tries so you could easily see what you did and wrong learn from it. I found this to be extremely annoying, and unhelpful.

As far as the assignment goes, I am not pleased with my performance. I spent an enormous amount of time on this assignment as well as Codecademy and still haven’t been able to get through them easily, or with understanding. I could never get my code to work completely for my slideshow, and found that very frustrating.

For future classes, I am hoping that we really go through what we need to know for assignments. I felt as though I still wasn’t able to complete this because I wasn’t completely sure of the right things to be plugging in. I understand it is a learn-as-you-go type of class, but I still think that we are going at too fast of a pace to really learn-as-you-go because of the turnaround on assignments and lengthiness of the Codecademy homework. Unfortunately with a full-time job and weekend part-time job I am unable to give this homework the attention it needs. However, when signing up for this class I didn’t realize that the “introductions” were going to be so fast paced and I would be continually spinning my wheels to try and keep up. I hope that in future classes now that we have at least kind of gone over the “basics” we will be able to move slower.

Assignment on GitHub:

Javascript Confusion

After reading everyone else’s post thus far, I feel a little better. This weeks CodeAcademy exercises were very frustrating and confusing. I felt really good at first that I was really understanding everything. That was all until logical operators and functions. The functions were easy at the start, and I was able to comprehend and write in comparison operators and if/else statements. However, I became very confused when logical operators and functions came into play. I think it might be because there wasn’t great visualization on the CodeAcademy exercises.

Later in the course, I thought that the Array was very easy to understand. I found this to be a simple concept and way of creating lists. However, I’m not exactly sure what those lists would mean when put onto my HTML website. I think I am having trouble deciphering HTML, CSS, and Javascript and what they all mean separate from each other, and added together. I am praying that one day this will be made into an easier process.

I am worried that I will have trouble with the rest of this class and am starting to get a little stressed. I spent about 3 hours trying to learn this language, and still have a low understanding. I think that it will help me in the future to have classes that really walk through the basics. Last class was lost on me as I am a visual learner and don’t think just talking through the different things JavaScript can do was of much help to my learning type. I really do like the CodeAcademy that it walks you through the basics, and think bringing it down to that level in class would be extremely helpful.

Overall, I think I still have much to learn when it comes to Javascript and hope to learn more in the next class!

Creating My First Real HTML code

This week’s homework was very exciting. Although the Codecademy modules took a long time to get through, I learned valuable ways of coding to create a fundamentally sound and aesthetically appealing website. When creating my website, I wasn’t sure where to being, and what type of website I should create. I began thinking of my favorite things, one being going to my country club Gibson Island on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. I have been going there since I was around four years old for different camps and such. It truly seems like a hidden gem that more people should know about, it is a beautiful place. Therefore, it is in my thought process to create a better website for Gibson Island when it comes to my final project. Although  my coding on that particular website needs a lot more detail, I think it is a good starting point.

When doing this week’s modules, I found myself a bit more confused about the different types of things going on. I can’t exactly say that I completely understand what a “class” is or what the true purpose of a “div” is other than to create a grouping, but am a little unsure as to why there would need to be different groupings.

During the readings, especially in A List Apart- Responsive Web Design  I was kind of shocked that you need to code in different ways for different devices. I guess that makes sense, but it opened my eyes to the fact that not all screen sizes can read code in the right way, which is the reason some websites don’t look correct when used on a cell phone. It is because they are unresponsive I have learned.

Overall, I am becoming more and more comfortable with the language needed to create an HTML website with the use of CSS.

HTML, Structuring Page Content

Codecademy Link:

Test Repo Link:

After our first class, I was feeling very apprehensive and overwhelmed by all of the content and vocabulary that web editing and creation brings to the table. However, after the readings and assignments this week, I feel like I have gained a basic understanding when it comes to HTML programming.

The Getting Started: HTML & CSS article and Basic Intro to HTML/CSS article were extremely helpful when explaining the tags, and creating a list of the most basic tags that one will use when coding in HTML. The metaphor about a website being like a house was very helpful when looking at the land as a server, and the structure of the home being HTML. It allowed for me to put things into perspective and understand what before was gibberish.

Prior to these lessons and readings, I didn’t really comprehend that HTML and CSS work together. I originally believed that they were two separate languages. When in reality, CSS can be inserted directly into html tags.

As a PR professional I felt a direct connection to the Getting Started articles concept that to introduce web development to journalists and PR professionals, you must think like them, and how they care about headlines, content, and timing. This is very true and will help me in the future if I need to communicate web development with clients. The Getting Started article also touched on how we forget how to code faster than a foreign language, so I did my best this week to space out the time working on the assignments so that I can continually refresh my memory on the subject.

As far as the assignments go for this week, I found the Codecademy to be very hands on and helpful. However, I didn’t fully understand GitHub. Although the formula was easy to follow, I can’t say with full certainty that I understand the need for using it and how it can help my coding abilities.


An eye-opening introduction

GitHub Profile:


My daily basis is spent wiring about different computer processes, due to working as an account coordinator at a PR agency that specialized in Federal IT programs. Although I am able to create content and understand keywords in the website sphere, I have only been aware of one side of the process. As someone who has no true experience in coding or web development, the assigned readings prior to class have helped illuminate a well-rounded background of all that goes into creating and maintaining websites.

In a world where websites and internet connections have taken over, it is easy to only think of the future instead of thinking about the past and what has brought us to this point. I was amazed while reading the timelines of computer software and computer networking to see how long ago the thinking up and first trials of these processes began. The first modem was created back in 1949, this was the year that segregation in the military was ruled out, to put it into perspective.

I was impressed that only 25 years later, the SABRE system was created for American Airlines. This was the first program that allowed travelers to reserve their airline tickets online. Today there are dozens of apps that allow the buying of flights to happen through phones and other devices, making this seem like a casual everyday thing.

Along with the upbringing of the technology, I was also surprised to find out how many different languages of coding there are. To the untrained person like me, it seems as though all websites would use the same type of coding language. However, this is not the case at all. The different languages create different types of systems and processes.

Overall, I look forward to training myself to see and understand the other side of the website curtain.