Author Archives: Isabella Basco

An Update on my Slideshow and Midterm

I feel a little better about code this week because I finally figured out my slideshow. After staying with Greg for 45 minutes after class, the Javascript on my slideshow was not working for some reason when I would put the link into an HTML preview. Considering that I am the kind of person and student that always wants to figure things out instead of let them go, I went home after class and experimented some more. I figured that when I downloaded or cloned my GitHub repo, my slideshow worked. It made me excited because I figured that all those hours of coding were not a waste.

I thought I would never be able to figure out how to do my slideshow, but it felt so rewarding to have it actually work. It may not be as pretty or as nice as I would want it to look, but finally publishing it felt so good. It reminded me that those “Eureka” moments are worth it when you put in the long grunt work.

My favorite part of this class was interviewing the two developers I found. It was a challenge finding people. I relentlessly reached out to people via LinkedIn, email and Twitter. Luckily, my efforts worked and I found two developers who said they would help me. One is a web developer and the other is a mobile developer at a startup. I love interviewing people. It is one of the reasons I wanted to pursue journalism, and both had such interesting paths. One decided not to pursue a traditional university path because he found a passion in coding and the other tried several career options before taking a 12-week intensive coding course. I always find it fascinating how some people land in the same career but take different journeys to get there. They were helpful in their advice about coding. Both basically said anyone can learn how to do it but it takes a specific mindset: You have to like problem solving and you have to enjoy learning how to figure things out. I’ve never considered myself a problem-solver but I would love to start now!

The Challenges of jQuery

This week, I started out with completing the jQuery exercises for Codecademy, which was really challenging because it didn’t provide the code. I had to really concentrate in order to find it. I worked on it for 8 straight hours.  What is rewarding about code is that when you get it, you feel so accomplished, but what is frustrating is the process. It feels never-ending. I have more respect for web developers’ patience the more that I code.

I am currently on the search for a web developer. I had a lead but he just went out of the country, so now I am scrounging Linkedin for some possible people. I would love to speak with a developer from a major news outlet like the Washington Post or NPR, because they are working where I would love to work.

Completing the slideshow exercise is no easy feat. It took me at least 3 hours on Saturday night to try to make a file on Sublime, especially since I had to miss class Wednesday. Luckily, my classmates helped me out by reminding me I have to put the photos in the same file to link the images. I’ve been depending on W3 to help me out with code and while I have started the file on Sublime, I’m still trying to figure it out which will unfortunately take me a little longer than I thought. Learning web development sometimes tests my patience and it’s frustrating because I like things to happen fast. Hopefully, after I speak with a developer and keep practicing, I will become better at this with hard work and drive.

The Struggles with JavaScript

I now see why everyone had difficulties with JavaScript. Completing the exercises on CodeAcademy this week was brutal. I spent five straight hours trying to code for it.

The problems I have with it are that the code is fickle. In journalism and public relations, creativity is key. No one can copy your voice, your thoughts or your reporting. In coding, the answers are the answers. While there is a little creativity in how you create your code, knowing how to do it is straightforward. In other words, you cannot BS code.

What was challenging about the exercises was that you had to remember every little thing in order to do the next exercises. I kept having to do hints to help me remember how to code or what to press or what to do. I’m honestly scared of what comes next, but I just have to keep working hard in order to master this. Once I can do it, I’ll be so proud of myself.

As a feminist, it is so important for me to learn how to code. On Linkedin, I always see tech employers discuss how they get hundreds of applications for a tech job opening, and very few are from women. There are so many male coders, but not many female tech employees. There needs to be more representation of women in many industries, but especially in tech, considering some of the workplace drama that has been happening in startups and tech enterprises.

There were days this week when I was tired from work, extracurriculars and schoolwork. Still, I need to remind myself to keep striving, keep pushing and remember that anything worthwhile requires time, effort and patience. I’ll just have to keep practicing in order to get any better.

One thing I am excited about is working on our developer profile. One of the reasons I enrolled in the Journalism program is because I love interviewing and learning about people and why they decide to do what they do. I’m already researching some leads on Linkedin and cannot wait to get started.

My First Ever Coding Experience

This week’s assignments were challenging, to say the least. While the Codecademy assignments were helpful, it was still challenging to take what the instructions gave you and apply it to the exercises. Coding is a foreign experience to me. I never considered myself technically adept at anything until I enrolled at Georgetown, so completing the exercises can be daunting. I have no idea how people learned to code without Codecademy, but I am so grateful it exists as a resource.

Creating my prototype homepage was not easy. It took me at least a solid hour and a half to complete the readings and apply the information from the readings to coding on Sublime. I had no idea how to use Sublime either. I made sure to save my coding on a word document just in case I did not save the Sublime document correctly. Luckily, that paranoia worked because I lost my original Sublime information and had to go back to my original code. While I wish I could have made something more complex, I am honestly just proud I was able to complete the assignment. I did my best to do CSS, googling the different HTML codes for different colors to make my code more “fancy,” but I was having trouble linking it. I also had the hardest time linking an image. Nevertheless, I am still proud I was able to code something simple on my own, even if it is not anything extraordinary. I can’t wait to see the progress I make from beginning to end.

Getting my code on Github was not easy. I had the hardest time uploading it to my Desktop app and had to google other links to find it. I made sure to save my prototype through Sublime to email to Greg just in case. Luckily, I was able to do it, after many Google searches and trial and error.

I found the readings on Responsive Web Design very helpful in making my code, even more so than Codecademy. It helped distill the information even more.

Overall, learning to code isn’t easy. But I am excited for what lies ahead. I am already making progress!


Learning How to Code: Potential Challenges I Might Face

Codecademy profile

Test repo

Completing this week’s assignments was not difficult. But obviously, I have no experience in coding so I had no idea what I was getting myself into. It turns out that coding is like learning a new language.

After going through all the readings, I made thorough notes on the biggest things I need to learn. I wrote down the tags and the meanings of what terms like <!DOCTYPE html> and <html> meant. Codecademy did a great job of trying to synthesize coding to be as simple as possible, but it still took me a solid hour and a half to complete the exercises. As a tech-loving millennial, I am used to things being fast and instant and I have to remind myself that learning to code will take time. I can’t get good at it right away.

One of my favorite excerpts from this week’s readings were from “Get started with Web coding. Part 1: HTML and CSS,” because the author mentioned that like anything, we have to code every day for us to get better at it. I apply this to all the other skills I have learned in the past: speaking Spanish, singing, playing instruments, and editing video. Obviously, I wasn’t great at them when I started out but after practicing and working at it diligently for a while, those things became muscle memory to me. I realize that if I continue to be diligent at learning how to code, it will be the same for me. We all have to start somewhere, right?

Doing the Github exercise by making my own repository was pretty straightforward. The reading did a solid job of helping me understand how to navigate it better. One thing I love about the Georgetown program is that I have grown from being someone with not a lot of digital skills to learning how to navigate all kinds of programs. After all, that is what I love the most about learning: growing from becoming an amateur to an (almost, maybe, kind of) expert.

“Meet the Web Inspector” was helpful for what we did in class Wednesday. It is going to be so cool to be able to go into a web page and learn how to change things. This will be so helpful in helping me understand how to build content and websites. “How to inspect styles” also build on the details I learned about web development.


Analyzing The Evolution of the Internet

Github profile:

I found all of our readings very interesting because I never get challenged to learn about the history of the internet or web development. In this increasingly internet-driven world, this is content that will benefit us in the future going forward, especially as a woman who wants to learn how to code.

“How the Internet Works” was a great video because it condensed complex information into content that was easy and useful to understand. When I press “send” on an email, I never realized that computers break down the information into packets to make tweets, websites or photos. I also loved that they mentioned that the Internet is a “wire” — to think something so complicated and ubiquitous as a wire dumbfounded me because I realize the Internet really is something that makes life easier and may not be as complicated as we perceive it to be.

The “timeline of software languages,” and the “timeline of networking and the web,” were fascinating because learning the history of how technology evolved from Telex messaging to the mobile web and Plan Calculus to HTML5 and Heartbleed Bug was fascinating. As a millennial, the internet has always been fast and available to me but learning about its origins made me realize that like anything, technology had a long process before getting to where it is today.

“Computational thinking and journalism” were also fascinating because it got me to realizing how I can apply a background of web development and technology to journalism. How do I improve my audience’s experiences? How can we evolve, grow and reshape our thinking processes? It reminded me why I am still in school — it is essential for me to always be learning, growing and evolving as a reporter and thinker.

I enjoyed looking over the WordPress philosophy because it acknowledges that many WordPress users (including myself) do not consider themselves technically oriented. All they want to do is post content without any problems and not face too many complicated issues. I love that one of their points is to “strive for simplicity” — that is what technology is all about, making tasks easier for our users to get them from Point A to Point B.

I loved that the GNU Operating System outlined four essential freedoms of free software. Again, I never realized technology had so many philosophies and missions because when I use programs, all I think about how to navigate them. I never think about their underlying goal and what the companies’ goals are for creating these programs.

Finally, the Unix Philosophy was one of my favorite articles because it discussed the importance of writing elegant, robust code. It reminded me that no matter what I do, even in a field as fast and instant as technology, that I have to put sufficient time and energy into making something of any respectable quality.

I honestly am thrilled to learn more from “The Zen of Python,” and am excited I get to refer to the “Pragmatic Programmer Quick Reference Guide.” Overall, I am thrilled to take this course and am excited to see where the “doors of technology” will lead me.