Tag Archives: reflection

Class Reflection

In theory, I am excited about and happy with everything I’ve learned this summer in our Web Development class — in practice, however, it has been challenging ad very time consuming for a full-time working professional. That said, I knew what I signed up for, and I’ve said this before, it’s like learning a new language that is supposed to be challenging and time-consuming!

What I am most excited about is coming away from this class with a useful product: my new website. I am already eager to begin building it out more. I want to totally change the theme and add more to the menu, more custom pages, and eventually add content to my blog posts. I will challenge myself to do some coding, but for the most part, I see myself using available plugins.

To that point, I am happy with the amount of intro knowledge about web development that I have gained since day 1 of the class. I do want to pursue learning more about HTML and CSS, and perhaps teach myself Ruby on Rails or Swift (more on this next week). I feel like at this point I have a much better understanding of what programming is and isn’t, and could communicate asks better with any developer.

Another thing I found helpful was some of the early readings about the history of computers, how we talk to them, what the internet, a server, or URL is, and why all of this is important to know as a daily user of these technologies. I’m also now more freaked out by the inter-connectiveness and seeming vulnerability of it all and my online footprint — but that’s for a whole other discussion.

A couple of considerations for future webdev classes:

  • While Codecademy was a great online tool to learn how to code, I recommend doing some more in-class lessons as well. Walk through examples from beginning to end like Codecademy does. It’s like a math class in high school — homework includes reading and learning about a technique or formula, as well as doing some example problems, then in class, the teacher would go through them and some additional problem exercises to really drive the lesson home.
  • I might begin the lessons about WordPress very early on (before Codecademy) and get test sites up and running. Next, learn about HTML and CSS, then go into WP and explore how in the real world you can make changes to themes or plugins. That would give people a lot more time to think about website and make changes they want. Also, I think for a good chunk of the class I was having trouble understanding how, in the real world, I would use any of the programming languages I was learning.
  • Help everyone get their site up and live instead of making it a “learning process” Unnecessary waste of many, many… many hours. ;P
  • Recommend Python or Ruby on Rails over JavaScript or JQuery. But that could just be personal preference for languages? I found JS and JQ super confusing, hard, time-consuming, and then never used again.

In conclusion, I would recommend this class to anyone interested in this field of learning or who works with web developers in their job. For me, I fall into both those categories — but was mainly just curious about the word of computer programming. I said in my first blog post that I am more of an analytical thinker, so for me, learning and applying the languages were relatively easy. But getting into abstraction and wrapping my head around some of the more conceptual ideas of development were tricky, yet fun.

Thanks for a great semester!



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!