Author Archives: Susan Szymanski

The Gallery of Entertainment

Even though it’s the long weekend, it seems like it’s been a lot longer. A “much more than expected” time was spent on researching and reading online content in order to get some more knowledge on the jQuery and JavaScript. As it turned out, there’s a lot of resources a programming-beginner could count on. After I left the safe nest (for some known as the Codecademy), I tried to get some more practical knowledge that could potentially help me in creating the gallery assignment.

First, I reached out to YouTube, as seeing someone create code from a complete zero helped me figure out exactly which parts I missed out on during my study. As it turned out, I got some inspirations, which came in quite handy since the final format of the gallery was not specified. I considered a wide range of options, from slideshows to a lightbox gallery. In the end, I decided to go with the first one, which initially seemed a bit easier to create.

The second source of wisdom was online content in the form of websites – presenting lines of code that other programmers used to create their own photo galleries. Their tricks were very helpful and aided me in figuring out how to make my own gallery more interactive.

In the end, I did not have much of an issue creating the HTML and CSS files. A puzzle began when I moved on to working on JavaScript. What helped me a lot during the entire process was constructive criticism from one of my classmates. Pointing out some of the mistakes I made eventually gave a real kick to further effort and with a deadline approaching it could have been considered as a form of a great motivation. Overall, I feel like it was an interesting experience; however, next time a slower pace would be very helpful in reducing the stress level surrounding the assignment.

jQuery: I need somebody (not just anybody)

Even with a lot of work both on the professional and educational side, I feel like I was able to make a big step towards gaining “jQuery proficiency” this week. Codecademy explains everything quite clearly and turned out to be a great resource, even though at first it seemed quite scary and overwhelming with information. In my opinion, the website is very good if you are a beginner in a given field, since the courses available on it provided me with a foundation that I am excited to use in the future. Also, this week I had the opportunity to complete the jQuery course on that website, which turned out to be quite straightforward, but rather stimulating experience. Another part of my study involved finding commonalities between HTML, CSS and jQuery, as combining them all together would surely be helpful to produce a great piece at the end of the course. As of today, I still need to watch more videos and do some research on this area of study, in order to strengthen the knowledge I already have and the language skills I might gain through completing another set of lessons next week.

Moreover, in the last couple of days I was able to reach out to a developer (through a friend) with a fascinating background in programming. I believe his interesting experience and knowledge can be a good resource for a programming novice such as me. Right now, I am working on some specific questions to ask him and drafting a profile that might be helpful to both me and students who will have the possibility to read it in the future. To conclude, I am looking forward to conducting an interview with him and excited to learn more about programming and the ways it can benefit my future career.

Achilles’ heel

With today’s sun warming our bodies and souls, it is easy to forget how dreadful the past week has been. With the weather that caused our in-person class to be cancelled, we had to settle for a Zoom meeting. What’s unfortunate is that we missed one of the most important classes (at least for me) and had to learn JavaScript by ourselves.

But before I jump into the “journal” part of my post, let me give you some context. JavaScript is a dynamically typed language. It is frequently used in creating websites, as it, for example, provides interactivity of pages, validating forms or building navigation elements. This use of JavaScript makes it easier to use a library such as jQuery. However, JavaScript does not create standalone apps. In the most common case, JavaScript code is located in HTML documents and allows us to enrich websites with interactive elements that would be impossible to obtain using plain HTML code. Even though it may seem that learning JavaScript is quite easy, mastering this language is quite demanding and time consuming.

I believe that online learning is great in a way that students can take a course or participate in a class from the comfort of their home. Online classes often offer alternatives to live meetings like forums, emails, and chatrooms. I am taking an online course right now, PR Writing. Thus, with some experience in writing press releases, op-eds and so on, it is easy for me to catch up with any additional readings or assignments. However, with more engaging and complex classes, allocating additional time for more practical exercises is something that I believe would be beneficial to some students. Unfortunately for me, this week has been very confusing and even though I was able to complete the online course on Codecademy, my knowledge of JavaScript leaves much to be desired.

Talk is cheap. Show me the code.

Although this week has been filled with a lot of hard work, I believe that, through the projects, I was able to learn a lot of valuable information. There is a saying that the only way to become a good programmer is a great amount of practice. Thus, I like the fact that this field of study does not demand too much theory, but it requires practice to consolidate acquired knowledge.

The main assignments for this week were Codecademy’s lessons and prototype homepage on GitHub (using Sublime Text). The first one allowed me to gain the basic understanding of the direction I should take my GitHub project. The second platform has taught me how to play with the code. The homepage project itself was interesting, but I felt a bit unsatisfied, because the weekly lessons did not teach me much about the visual side of an HTML document, i.e. the CSS. As I was able to learn, even experienced programmers do not have everything memorized, which is entirely not the point. The art of programming consists also of the ability to utilize research and search for knowledge on the web. Moreover, learning from one’s mistakes is the most effective way to gain knowledge. Thus, by seeing my work “change” on the Google Chrome browser, I was able to tell if there is something wrong in my code or if I need to make other corrections in order to improve readability.

To conclude, I feel like I made a lot of progress in my programming studies. However, I will be going back to some lessons on Codecademy or Khan Academy, so that I won’t lose the progress I’ve already made. I believe that learning everything at once is not a solution. There is also a need for systematic work on developing programming skills, not coding from project to project, once a month or several months.

Programming Language 101

Just as I was last week, people who have never had any close contact with programming are afraid that it is extremely difficult. However, it is worth realizing that programming is nothing but a process of learning a new language. Obviously, beginnings are always difficult, but once we learn our first programming language, studying new ones becomes easier. Right now, we are not learning programming because of the need to change a profession, but because it is important to guide our minds to a resourceful way of thinking, which is essential in the field of communication. Even if our careers are/will not be related to programming, these compact skills will help us to better understand the problems that can stand in our way in the future.

What’s more, learning programming involves not only acquiring new knowledge about coding in different languages, but is also a great way to work on ourselves. It is as effective as solving logic puzzles such as sudoku, which helps to train your mind. In addition, programming teaches consistency and organization. Namely, while writing a line of code, we must plan and implement next steps necessary to achieve a goal, which includes application of the most efficient solutions.

To conclude, a good programmer has to be like a writer. He/she should not only know programming languages – most of all, one must be able to think in an analytical way, to break down a problem and prepare component elements from which a given program can be later developed. Just as a writer creates his work to make it interesting for the reader, the programmer creates a program that is supposed to be as effective as possible. Thus, the ability to understand a problem, which often involves the need for interdisciplinary thinking, is essential. However, it all comes down to a programmer facing the need to translate the gathered knowledge into a programming language.

Behind the Curtain of PR

Although I have been “functioning” in the PR field for quite some time now, I did not fully realize how much I owe to the codes that make up the foundation of my everyday work. However, the IT revolution is a fact, and we are surrounded by a whole range of electronic devices. Each of them is programmed in some way; therefore, it is significant to know how they work. Such an understanding increases the chances of professional development, without the necessity of becoming an expert. Regardless of the industry in which one works, we spend more and more time using the Internet. In my opinion, knowing how it is created can one day help me in the future.

This week’s readings present that programming is omnipresent. If you drive a car, you must have some knowledge of how the mechanics behind it. That is why I have a similar approach to learning web development and programming techniques. As a result of my work this semester, I can not only become better at my job, but also create higher quality projects for future clients.

Learning the language of programming can also be helpful in acquiring the knowledge of other useful skills. Logical thinking, the ability to create and examine solutions step-by-step as well as anticipating consequences are just a few of the benefits of gaining coding-related knowledge. Also, it is a kind of mental exercise, thanks to which I will be able to communicate more efficiently – since the organization of thoughts and ideas in a logical way undeniably helps in this process.

Moreover, after completing three lessons on Codecademy’s platform, I have a better understanding of web development and its significance in the field of communication. Thus, I am looking forward to this class and all the exciting things I will learn.