10th Annual BarCamp Philly: My discussion on Self-Care

Here is the slide deck from my discussion on Self-Care at BarCamp Philly

It was less of me talking at them, but more of a discussion on how we can be more aware of our well-being, protecting our minds and our bodies from the effects of being sedentary. We know what we should do, most of the time but it’s up to us to make time and take time for ourselves.









Image of iMac and Second monitor

I completed the UARTS Web Design Professional Certificate Program

After a year of attending classes back to back, I finally finished the UARTS Web Design Professional Certificate Program.  After several starts and stops, once I got really into the Philadelphia coding community via Girl Develop It, becoming active in the #CodeNewbie online community and meeting new and seasoned developers at local MeetUps, I knew I had to finish to see where this skill could take me.  I’m currently in tech, as a systems administrator. Learning to code is a skill that has been quite helpful in my current job, albeit indirectly.  The problem solving skills in coding are some of the same skills I use in my daily life and learning to code allows me to understand more about scripting, dig deeper into how web servers tick and being aware of how the LAMP(Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP)  stack really works.

My last class was the capstone and the final project really tested the limits of what I learned and pushed me to step out and teach myself a new skill, WordPress theme development. I learned HTML and CSS over the course of the program, took a WordPress workshop (taught by a UARTS CE grad) and took a PHP course this spring. What I didn’t know was that I could parlay that into a custom theme starting with just a HTML and CSS file.  I hit road blocks, but I was able to call upon a code friend to get me through it.  Michael Kappeler, a developer and former co worker came to my aid and gave me a better understanding of how it all worked together. Explaining the hierarchy, the loop, template tags and creating functions, he showed me the why’s not just the how’s.  After talking to him, the light bulb went on and I was off and running to finish my project and pass the course with an A.

UARTS has helped folks I know change their careers and transition into a career as a developer.  Giving people the tools needed to make the leap has been what has helped me stay focused on my goal of transitioning into a developer.  I’m working on how to bridge my current career into development, using systems administration and programming together can be the 1, 2 punch I need to land that first job.

As I work on my resume and build my site personal site, I’m still learning more about theme creation and PHP. After a few more themes under my belt,  I’ll get back to JavaScript and move into Node.js.  There is so much to learn and that’s what keeps me coming back for more.  I have a few months until the certificate ceremony, where I’ll actually receive my ‘piece of paper’ and be christened a University of the Arts alum with all of its rights and privileges. Until then, I have the #100daysofCode challenge that keeps me up on my skills daily.



Suggestions for Coding Exercises

Photo of a wall with 2 clocks and a sign that reads, Ask more questions.

Someone posted a question in a Facebook group I belong to. She asked,

Does anyone have a set of favorite coding exercises that they do every day?


So many great responses were given, I had to share them (and save them).

One fellow mentioned that he practices CRUD each day.

One thing I am doing to help PHP concepts stick is by building forms. Form building in any language incorporates CRUD (create, read, update, delete) and doing it on a regular basis will help you gain knowledge of use of things like arrays, global variables, and building databases in MYSQL.


I’m saving these here for future reference. I don’t know about the validity of any of the services, but I’ve heard about quite a few and they are pretty solid from what I hear.

The more you code, the more you retain.

100 Days of Code Challenge Day 30

I haven’t been blogging much or updating the log.md file on the repo. I’ve been LEARNING!

Photo of Explore Pennant

This week has been filled with Java homework, chapters to read, terms to review, MeetUps to attend, code to code, podcast to listen to and so much more.

Since I last posted, I’ve been coding in Java, JavaScript, HTML/CSS(Bootstrap) and took a look at PHP. I’ve read about classes, methods, boolean relational operators, De Morgan’s Laws, algorithms, DOM and dynamic content. I’ve listened to podcasts about Woman programmers in the 60’s and  SVG images. I also attended two MeetUps, one for GDI Philly and one for Full Stack JavaScript. Being around other coders was invigorating and such a learning experience. It’s difficult learning a new skill in a vacuum. Having a community from which to draw inspiration, help when you need it and insight from is what I appreciate most about learning to code and using social media as a conduit.

Here’s a fun fact: the woman that Saron interviewed on Episode 125, replied to a tweet about a blog post I did on women in code. It was the SAME day I’d listened to the podcast. So, when she replied to me, the name was so familiar. I went back to the podcast and low and behold, it WAS her. We exchanged a few tweets as she spoke about the report my blog referenced. She suggested I read her book and reach out to her for encouragement  whenever I needed it! What a super cool coincidence.


Next Up!

I’m taking this blog post to catch you all up on what I’ve done since day 21.

Day 22 •  FCC Tribute page finished!!!

Day 23 • Started FCC bootstrap portfolio… work in progress

Day 24 • Still working on FCC bootstrap portfolio page. Also, Java readings for class.

Day 25 • Homework assignment- Java Celsius to Fahrenheit app for class

Day 26 • I paid for Codecademy Pro and did a few projects: Continent & Cities app, Loan calc app & OOP lesson.

Day 27 • I did the Java Codecademy calculator APP project.

Day 28 •  I went to a JavaScript MeetUp and  we learned about JavaScript ‘use strict’ & had a  DOM code challenge. I was sufficiently challenged.

Day 29 • I had Java reading on Theory from my textbooks & I Started droid project.

Day 30 • Today was the Codecademy Droid project.  I struggled a bit yesterday when I added the main method before the instructions asked me to. Today, did a rip and replace, working on it in NetBeans to keep the formatting pretty. At the end, it worked.

All and all, a super busy week. My next course (PHP/MySQL) starts Thursday, so I’ll probably keep my posts to once a week for the remainder of the challenge.  Here’s to a great semester!


Here are some of the resources I used this week:

Introduction to Java Programming

Free Code Camp Personal Portfolio

Coding Tutorials 360 on YouTube

PHP and MySQL Web Development Book

Learn Programming in Java on YouTube

Java Constructors





Girls vs Boys- Why woman stopped coding?

Grace Hopper's Google Doodle from 12/9/2013

Grace Hopper’s Google Doodle from 12/9/2013

I’m listening to a podcast from NPR called, “When Women Stopped Coding”. It was recorded back in July 2016 and a friend just posted it to Facebook. With the success of Hidden Figures and learning about the women pioneers in programming, like Grace Hopper in my adult life, I had to listen immediately to find out, what gives?

The narrative where computers were for boys was hammered into my head as a child and I had NO idea THIS was why, for all the ‘smarts’ I had, I didn’t know computers were for people like me. Back in the 80’s all the commercials for computers were targeted for boys. Not one commercial or marketing  campaign was directed towards girls.  So, at that young age, I didn’t even make the connection that computers were something I could even understand. They seems so ephemeral, like Unicorns, Leprechauns and the Apple Lisa.

Besides the fact that we couldn’t afford one in our home, my mom did office work and at one point, had taken classes at Community College of Philadelphia (CCP) and even graduated with a certificate in computer programming from Computer Learning Center (CLC). I remember when my mom took me to class with her at CCP and she was using this huge computer and had stacks and stacks of punch cards. I had no idea what she was doing or that one day, this would be my life.

Fast forward many years, 1994 to be exact. I started my first REAL job as a secretary for an insurance company.  I had an IBM PS/2 on my desk. I used Lotus 123 & Word Perfect. My boss was a programmer by trade and really encouraged me to learn more about computers. He let me take training in networking and hardware. I learned so much, I was became the department hardware/software tech. As I learned more and grew more, I found my first job in tech in 1997.

Fast forward a few more years and I went back to college to major in Computer Science. Programming in C++ was foreign to me. I had no frame of reference and struggled. I was so intimidated and overwhelmed, I dropped out of the computer science program and got my bachelors degree in business.

The problem I see and I’m hearing repeated in this program, women were not groomed nor encouraged to be computer scientist. The verbiage, the prerequisite skills, the foundation or  familiarity to even know that was a field that existed wasn’t taught to me. It was a ‘boys’ thing. No girls allowed.  I went to a vocational high school and there was a computer tech major.  In the beginning, the ratio was 55/45 (boys/girls), but by senior year (1990), that dropped down to 80/20.  My husband was a computer science major in college and the same numbers were repeated there. Girls were dropping out of computer science and moving into other curriculum.  We were were raised by single mothers and couldn’t afford to buy computers. This was just the norm where I came from. We didn’t our own computers until we were adults.

The commonality  between the commercials for computers  back in the 1980s and real life, computers were marketed to just boys. Men were the ones that were learning about and using computers. It seems like an exclusive club where women just weren’t openly invited. They weren’t turned away, but the grooming and cultivation tended to exists for males.  Could it be that women were being ‘left out’ of the club?

A quote from the episode really rings true:

Once you have something like this happening, it reinforces itself. Computers are for boys. They are boy toys that boys use to do boy things. And this became a narrative, this story we told ourselves, like an actual story in movies. — Steve Henn, NPR

Even the movies we were growing up with were focusing on boys and computers. Hollywood, marketing and the media just continued to perpetuate this belief and it tended to follow young girls and women into their lives.

Image of Player to listed to podcast


Jane Margolis, an education researcher has done studies on the disparity of women in coding. She speaks about the culture of how women are being told they are not good enough for this,  “this belief that men are just better at this and they fit in better, a lot can shake your confidence.” She is so right about this. It’s pointless for us to try to fit our selves into spaces that don’t fit us. I don’t think we’re asking for men to conform, but to be inclusive, be open, listen and understand that we all have so much to contribute.

Fast forward to today. I’m a bit of a Unicorn in Information Technology (IT). I am a Systems Administrator. I manage servers, storage, networking and virtualization.  I go to tech conferences and I can usually count the number of women I see and if I see another woman of color, I play a game of punch buggy with myself and smile.  On the web development side, there are SO many woman. In my circles, I’m surrounded by so many smart, driven, talented women.  I’m hoping that all the new focus on teaching STEM at an even earlier age will not allow the mistakes of the past to be repeated. Coding is for EVERYONE! We all have a part to play in this field. Let’s make it a more welcoming and inclusive place for woman.







100 Days of Code Challenge Day 21


Homework, pages and pages of readings.Videos to watch, Learning Bootstrap… The past 48 hours have been A LOT!

I finally sat down tonight to attempt the Free Code Camp Tribute Page project. I just sat and stared at the pen. I forgot how to use bootstrap! What!!! My brain just.STOPPED.

Java • HTML • CSS • JavaScript • Bootstrap • jQuery

As a new dev, I just felt the cacophony of a bunch of technologies that haven’t taken hold in my brain sat me down for a moment. I had to breathe, concentrate on the task and RTFM. After re-watching the FCC assignment video, reading up on the Bootstrap web site, watching a YouTube Video, it came together, bit by bit.  I did the site first in HTML then copied it to CodePen. I’m not done, but I got a lot of the elements down and I think I could finish it tomorrow.

I also read more in Java, took my 1st chapter quiz in the college CMS (20 out of 20).  What a day! I learned so much and it’s only the tip of the iceberg.



100 Days of Code Challenge Day 19

Photo of Light Bulb


I approached  my Tipcal app today and got it working. My light bulb moment finally came! Things were clearer and I figured out what I needed to research. I’m marking today off as a WIN!

There are a few other things I want to add to the app:

  • Add bootstrap or make responsive on mobile
  • Media Query to remove slider div on mobile
  • Create favicon
  • Add comments to code
  • Create my own 404 page

A clearer head prevailed.


Contributing to Open Source

Today, in the CodeNewbie twitter chat, we talked about contributing to open source There were so many great questions posed.  The answers were even more revealing about what we thing about when we hear the words open source.


For me, it’s fear of the unknown, imposter syndrome and being in over my head. I found out, I wasn’t alone. Many of us new coder have to deal with what we think we know verses what we have to offer.  What I discovered was that I do have something to offer and there are projects for me out there, I just need to know where to look. A great thing happened, call it serendipity,  @CodeForPhilly was on the chat and commented on one of my answers.



I’ve wanted to join A Code for Philly MeetUp for sometime, but they are always on Tuesday evening. That’s when I teach a class at a local gym, so I haven’t had the opportunity to go. It’s been on my list to find out about some of the great things they’re doing right here in my back yard and tonight drove it home. I signed up for the Code for Philly site and I can’t wait to see where I can make a contribution to projects that affect my city.

Docker MeetUp

All in all, a very productive evening. I also went to a MeetUp in Wilmington, DE with Docker Wilmington. Learned a bit about Docker, had a great meal, networked, and came home with some super swag! Today was WIN-WIN-WIN! This tech girl is TIRED! Until tomorrow…