Author Archives: Catherine Miller

Final Touches

My portfolio site is really coming together and I’m pretty satisfied with the outcome. I’m excited to actively use it and show it to my friends and even potential employees. I added my resume and a small gallery of some photoshop work. It was a little intimidating looking at other peoples websites and comparing them to mine. Overall, its amazing to see all of the skills I’ve learned in this class be put to use to create a final project.

What’s Next?

We’ve finally made it to the finish line! Coming into this class, I wasn’t sure what to expect. My perception of web development was complex coding and lots of nerd talk. My misconceptions were debunked after our first class. I was a little nervous about jumping in, because the only experience I have in the digital realm is with Adobe Software. I really enjoyed learning about the different coding languages and doing the Codeacademy assignments. Even though I don’t plan on becoming a developer in the future, I want to build on my current skills. I want to keep up with Codeacademy on a weekly basis. My main goal is to learn how to manage my time more wisely and asking for help when its needed rather than waiting until the last minute.

JavaScript or Bust?

Whew! JavaScript definitely caught me off guard. I had a pretty strong understanding of coding until we got here. Java is kind of like the cherry on top of a sundae. It ties a website together to make it fully functioning. I got lost with the functions and variables. The syntax wasn’t as easy to read as HTML and CSS, so that was my downfall. With JavaScript, the coding looks so complicated; in reality, you could be executing a simple task like making a list drop down.


I found that I was a quick learner when it came to HTML and it was a basic programming language. CSS added a slight complexity but it wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle. With HTML you’re setting a basic framework for your website, so it doesn’t look that fancy. When I made my prototype HTML page, I added so much HTML code and it looked complicated through Sublime. When I put the file into my browser, it was such a simple page. I thought I accomplished so much, but I just made a paragraph with a title and posted an image. With CSS you can really see a page come to life. While working on the Codeacademy assignments, it was helpful that the coursework moved step-by-step. There’s many aspects to CSS and multiple ways you can manipulate a page, so sometimes its hard to keep track of what you’ve changed. After learning CSS, I can only imagine how long it must take a web developer to design a more complex website. Now that I know how to inspect the styles of websites that I go on everyday, it’s interesting to see the work that someone put in to creating it. CSS is definitely my favorite programming language I’ve learned.

In’s and Out’s of WordPress

We finally made it to WordPress! It’s unbelievable that during this class we’ve learned the ground basics and now we get to put them all together to finally create a site. I’m a very indecisive person, so seeing all the themes threw my head for a spin because theres so many things I want to create. I noticed that WordPress uses a lot of PHP, so I can already see where my skills will lack.

Diving Deeper

I have a love/hate relationship with Codecademy, and this week I really missed it. PHP is very similar to JavaScript (which isn’t my strong suit), so it would’ve been helpful to have Codecademy to provide me with extra examples. The PHP website doesn’t give you hints when you make a mistake on your code like Codecademy, so I was never sure what to fix in my initial code. I didn’t start struggling in the PHP lessons until I had to make a function that returned every number squared. It was helpful to see the screenshots and read the explanations of each task, but at times I struggled with using critical thinking skills to figure out which skill set to carry out.

After reviewing the WordPress site in class, I was shocked at how many websites are built with it. When looking at their themes, I noticed the templates looked familiar to websites I’ve used before. WordPress reminds me of Weebly because they provide templates you can follow to create the website for your needs. It differs because you get more creative freedom by being able to code behind the scenes. Seeing all the different themes got me excited to create my website and I’m curious as to how it will turn out.

Its crazy to think in the last 7 weeks I’ve learned HTML, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, and now PHP. It’s interesting to see how the different coding languages interact with each other to create just basic visuals and output. This week I played my favorite game “Snake” on this random website. If I wasn’t in this class, I wouldn’t have realized the game was created in JavaScript. The creator even uploaded a link to his code that led me to his GitHub account. I was amazed that I actually understood some of his coding.

In case you feel like playing here’s the link 😉

The C Stands for Creativity

What/why: In high school, I was in the television production program. During that time, I managed to create quite a bit of content: promo reels, documentaries, commercials, and graphic art. I’ve chosen to create a portfolio website to highlight my best work. I made one over the summer before senior year on Weebly, but it looks very amateur. Weebly doesn’t allow much creativity besides following a template. I’ve also learned a lot between now and then, and creating a portfolio site is the perfect place to showcase my new work. My film teacher always expressed to me the importance of having a portfolio to sell yourself as a prospective candidate.

Who: The audience I hope to attract with my site is potential employers. By seeing my work, I expect opportunities to open up once employers can see my media and observe that I made the website as well. I also want to attract other creators, so I can build a network to collaborate with others and improve my craft.

Where to Start?

I was overwhelmed when I first started this project. My biggest challenge was finding a web developer. I was thankful to get in contact with a woman named Jessica who was a software developer but still had background knowledge in web development. I was so focused on finding someone that worked in the media, so when that didn’t work out I panicked. I had to broaden my search and thanks to my sisters experience as a nurse, she informed me on the presence of developers in the healthcare community.

I was nervous before the phone call, because I wasn’t sure if I would ask the right questions to get me the answers I needed. I learned some interviewing skills when I worked as a producer for my school news channel, so I was able to put them to good use. Jessica was very helpful and guided me into a part of computer science that I knew nothing about. It was interesting to see the many ways developers utilize code to complete a broad range of tasks. I didn’t think I was going to hit 800 words after we completed our conversation on the phone. It was kinda quick and her answers weren’t too long. Doing outside research on the programs she used did help with allowing me to reach my word count goal.

After the conversation, Jessica asked if I was interested in entering the programming field and I was unsure. The programs she uses sounded complicated and I barely have a grasp on Javascript. She did put me at ease by explaining that it wasn’t something she learned overnight. Her skills were learned through trainings and lots of practice. Her first job hired her, even though she only had a little bit of experience from taking one introductory course to coding in college. She expressed the need for diversity in the workplace and that it produces a more productive environment. Here is the profile:

Healthcare and Computer Science

Jessica Jacques

Entering this class, I wasn’t sure what to expect when it came to web development. Prior to this class, my only knowledge of any form of web development was making websites on Weebly. I was unaware that people had careers in constructing the code necessary to complete various projects.

I had the opportunity to speak with Jessica Jacques. She was born in Manhattan and  relocated to the suburbs of New City, N.Y. during her elementary school years. She graduated from the University of Maryland at College Park in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in Neurobiology Physiology. Working with computers was never really an interest of Jessica’s during her younger years. Jessica was a pre-med student and had plans to “go through the medical track.” She recalled that during her time in college there weren’t “too many blacks or Hispanics” in her program. After graduation, Jessica worked as a research student until she would soon find her career in a completely different field.

In February 2018, Jessica was hired as a software developer in the IT department for Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx. She was able to incorporate her passion of working in the medical field with her new career as a software developer. The role of a software developer is to “create and maintain computer programs.” Her department is Healthcare IT and her major role is to create new and innovative ways to configure the software to fit the hospital’s needs. Jessica focuses on enhancement, solutioning, and troubleshooting. The hospital uses pre-developed code from their vendor Epic. Epic Systems is a healthcare software company that is privately owned. The hospital uses it to manage their medical records. The company is popular amongst the healthcare community because “hospitals that use its software hold medical records of 64% of patients in the United States and 2.5% of patients worldwide.” The coding language that Jessica primarily uses is MUMPS cache and its mostly utilized in hospitals and banks. She also uses SQL as a healthcare database. The program is used to “get a broader picture of medication adherence, patient demographics, where patients are, and population analysis.” It can inform hospitals about common diseases found in particular areas of a town. By working with the database, Jessica is able to provide the hospital with statistics, analytics, or whatever information the hospital deems as necessary. Her career allows her to continue to be involved in the medical community while keeping up with technology.

I wondered what factors led her to stray from the path of being a medical student to working behind-the-scenes with computers. After graduation, Jessica was a research student and was interested in applying for an open position as a research assistant at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. On resumes, you have to advertise yourself as the most qualified candidate. Jessica wasn’t very proficient in coding or computer software other than an elective computer science class she took in college. She listed that she had a computer background and immediately stood out to her employer. Mount Sinai hired her in 2011 and her career in IT began. Although she never had the intention of working in IT, Jessica enjoys her current career as a software developer and says she hasn’t left since she started. While diving into a new territory, she faced some challenges with some programs. She described Python to be the most difficult and its currently still a struggle at times. That program is her least favorite.

As we move forward into the future, being literate in technology is necessary. “I think definitely now the way technology is going, I think it’s important that people are at least exposed to minor coding and so on,” she said. “It’s just a good skill to have.” The starting salary for most programmers is around $79,000 and, although software developers will see a decline in job growth due to jobs being out-sourced, there is an expected 27 percent  growth in web developers over the next 10 years. She spoke out about the lack of women in the computer science field. College Board found that men outnumbered women by 4:1 on the AP computer science exam. In society, our technology is advancing at a fast pace, and there is a dire need for individuals that can maintain the programs used to perform tasks. At Montefiore, Jessica became part of a more diverse team, and she says that diversity plays a factor in a healthy work environment.

Overall, Jessica provided me with a view into a world I knew nothing about. I’ve always assumed that software and web development were mainly used in the communications field or for engineers who create robots and such. We fail to acknowledge the developers behind the technologies that improve our everyday lives. I also admire her ability to be successful in field that she didn’t expect to work in. Life may not always work the way we expect it to, but it’s up to us to adapt.


jQuery made CSS and HTML look like a cake-walk. Managing the organization of my syntax in jQuery was my biggest struggle. I would get confused on where to put my semi-colons or brackets. It was helpful that Codecademy highlights the matching pairs when you select one of the parentheses or brackets. I had no issues targeting classes and ids. I still don’t have a clear understanding on how “next( )” and “closest( )” work, but with practice, I will recognize their purpose and see the correlation. It was also overwhelming learning all these new tags. HTML doesn’t have as many abbreviations to remember unlike CSS and jQuery. Through jQuery, I was able to get an inside look on how simple tasks like making a button rotate, a list drop down, or a picture to toggle are done. On a website it looks so simple, yet behind closed doors you have to target select a class and then add a specific characteristic to it. It was cool to know you could directly use CSS in jQuery because in my opinion, it saves time. Instead of going back and forth between your CSS page and JavaScript, you can easily make changes right there.

Aside from my troubles with the coding itself, I found jQuery to be interesting because it really made the website come together. In metaphorical terms, CSS would be the icing and jQuery would be the sprinkles. There’s a lot that goes into a website and the more detail you add, the more coding you have to do. As a Film major, I mostly use Adobe Premiere to edit videos, but if I want to add extra animations to enhance it then I pull the project into Adobe AfterEffects. Similar to jQuery it adds to the project and you watch it come alive.