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.

 

 

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I’ve had a very productive Fall learning about Web Development

I’ve been a very busy girl this fall. Immersing myself into all things web development has all but consumed me. I’ve gained a few pounds, missed several workouts and my meal prep is all but non-existent. However, don’t pity me, be happy for me! I’ve been getting busy, learning so much about so much, I don’t know where to start.

I guess starting at the beginning of the semester is a good place.

This fall, I took a Usability and User Experience class. We learned theory of UX, lo-fi and hi-fi prototyping, colors, story boards, icon design, user testing, onboarding, style guides and so much more. Our final project was an app rebranding for a bike share company.

The instructor, Michael Estok, was a joy to learn from. He works full-time as a freelance UX designer in the Philadelphia area. I took this class because the one I wanted to take wasn’t being offered, and I’m very glad I did.  He made UX approachable, fun, social and less of a mystery. I’m not the design-y type, but he encouraged and pushed us all into making some pretty cool projects.

App loading screen

Loading Screen

Here is my final project.  I passed the class!

Also on my schedule this fall was classes with GDI. I’m a member of Girl Develop It Philly and I TA’d my first class this fall. I also took a few classes with them. I took Intro to Git & Github and HTML/ CSS 202: Flexbox Layouts.  I met some nice ladies and was introduced to Github! How DOPE is that!

I also gave my 1st talk!!! I attended BarCamp Philly and threw my hat in the ring to give a talk. Thanks Michael for bringing it up just 2 days before. I faced a room full of people who came to hear me (ME!!). My topic was called, ” If you sit at a screen all day, what is your self-care regimen?”. If I was going to say anything, it was going to be something that is familiar to me.  I was nervous, chatty, but the group was fun and very engaged. after 45 minutes, I survived! We came up with a great list of things we could all do to raise our wellness IQ (see below). At the end, we stretched.  The sounds and groans of stiff bodies warmed my heart! They listened and even learned a thing or 2.

 

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Self-Care Regimen

While this was going on,  I also signed up for Coursera’s Full Stack Web Development Specialization online. With a 6 course program at $79 per course, I needed to make sure I did some coding while I waited for my next CS class to come along.  I liked that it was project based. I had to turn in something each and every week along with reviewing the code of 3 or more other students in the course with me.  I took the HTML, CSS and JavaScript course first. It was interesting. I  made a few simple projects and even learned a few things. The most recent class was Front-End Web UI Frameworks and Tools. Before this class, I’d never used Bootstrap! Where has it been all my life. I’ve heard the term used and I never ‘got it’! I am truly a convert. What a quick and easy way to get a site up and running FAST & RESPONSIVE!

HTML, CSS and JavaScript Certificate

Front-End Web UI Frameworks and Tools Certificate

I’m taking a week off to decompress. The next course is Front-End JavaScript Frameworks: AngularJS.  Let’s see what unfolds.

During the week off, I’ll be clicking around JavaScript30, knocking out some of those projects, or at the very least, looking at some really cool code. Also, checking out this course on Udemy, JavaScript: Understanding the Weird Parts.  Yeah, right.. week off!

*Update*

I found out the course I really wanted to take next semester isn’t available. I just signed up for a class at the local community college to take Java I.  I’m considering getting my Masters in Computer Science, but since I was a business major, I have quite a few prerequisites to make up.

  • 1 year of Java
  • 1 year of Calculus
  • Data Structures
  • and many more

Classes I need to take before the Masters in Computer Science

I’ll putz around the next year or so and decide what’s next. In the meantime, I have so much learning to do. Let’s see what unfolds.

Here are some links we covered in UX

 

 

My last web design class was a blast

Last night I finished up my Web 3 class at the University of the Arts Continuing Studies program. I can’t begin to tell you how much I’ve learned. My instructor was a really cool dude and showed us how to make web sites responsive. After 10 weeks, I can honestly say, I LEARNED SOMETHING! I mean really learned something. Web 2 was not a growth experience for me and for the part I played in that, I own it. This class and the way in which the content was delivered was a bit better to grasp. We didn’t use tools that we should have been using like CodePen or JsFiddle or even a good code editor like Sublime Text or Brackets, but it worked. The student hosting site never worked for any instructor that tried to use it,  but we made it through. My assignments went from a 2 column layout with media queries and a background no one liked to a site with responsive navigation and images, grid system, flexbox, php headers and footers and things looking like I knew what I was doing.

I’d gotten to class early last night and the instructor was rearing to go. He reviewed my site and we went over how it had progressed and how I’d managed to get every assignment topic into the site. As I sat back and basked in the glow of achievement, I knew this was only the beginning. In order to be ready for the next course, introduction to programming, I’ll need to teach myself JavaScript and jQuery in order to be at the technical level I should be by the beginning of the semester.

introtoprogramming

I purchased a few books that I heard (either in a podcast or on a blog) were great text to have around if you’re trying to program in JavaScript; Eloquent JavaScript & JavaScript: The Good Parts.

jsbooks

I also have subscriptions to Pluralsight, Lynda.com and Safari Books Online (job perks), so I know I’ll have the resources to dive in over the summer and consume as much as I can. So as  my life returns to normal after a whirlwind 10 weeks, I’m looking forward to what Web Design can show me next.

Here is my project site for the class.