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.