Week 0 Wrapup

I meant to post before today, but the picture I wanted to use in this post wasn’t available yet and I managed to get a cold… Everyone at Hackbright was getting sick and Ava’s husband also got a cold, so I guess my time was nigh. Thankfully Ava’s an amazing nurse (she’s strict though, she won’t even let me have a Diet Coke).

I did have a fun week rest of the week in spite of how I feel today. Thursday we stayed at home and Ava got some awesome work done on her final project and I just played around some more with Angular tutorials and double checked her semi-colons in JavaScript. Thursday night though, was awesome. We did this:

Geek Girls

I got to go to my first ever geek girl dinner! Ava hooked me up and I really hope I can go to more in the future. We went to San Jose to visit CISCO‘s main campus. It was super inspiring and totally pumped me up for next week. Also they had tasty food and gave us T-shirts and I got yelled at by Ava for saying I was a student and not an engineer. I won’t make that mistake again!

Yesterday I trekked through three different transit systems to get back down to San Jose by myself to visit my other bestie and have dinner with her family. We had lots of fun and visited the giant library next to the SJSU campus. She and I share a ridiculous love of reading and I think she just wanted to rub it in that I will have no time to read for a long while.

Hack Reactor starts on Monday and I’ve been drinking tea and sitting around in my pajamas all day in hopes of feeling decent by Monday. Wish me luck!

Girl Power!

I’ve spent the past few week inundating my friend Ava, the one who starts Hackbright on Monday, with women in tech articles and sites online. She suggested I try to collect them all in one place, so here we go:

Big Sites:

  • Ada Initiative – Conferences, lobbying, mentoring. Lots of good stuff. Articles and video on Impostor Syndrome.
  • Systers – I just joined their mailing list. Lots of interesting discussions. Some of them don’t really apply to me, but it’s all inspiring. I really want to go to the Grace Hopper Celebration someday.
  • Skillcrush – Articles and teachables by women for women. Ava especially loved the Confusion is your friend blog post.
  • Women 2.0 – All sorts of career/education/tech stuff for women.
  • She’s Geeky – General geekiness for women, lots of rotating meetings/’unconferences’.
  • ChickTech – Currently focused in my hometown, they’ve done some amazing things for high school age girls.

Individual Articles:

[This will probably be a continually updated list for a while. I’ll sticky it to the top of the page for now.]

Everything I Own Is Pink

Pink Electric

Early on in my transition to girl powered coder-dom I made a conscious decision to get everything I could that was pink. I like to flaunt my girliness and for as geeky and tomboyish as I can be, I love pink. My phone cover is pink, my tennis shoes are magenta and now I have a pink cover on my MacBook and a cheapo pink wireless mouse. Next on my list is some sort of bright pink thumb drive. I like to be geeky chic, if you will.

Everyone’s On It

I just made something! For the first time ever I made a stupid little ruby program to do something that a PivotTable was giving me fits over at work. I had a spreadsheet like so:

Spreadsheet of Traits

But what I really needed was a text file that I could print and hand out to people like so:

Formatted Strengths

And I did it with the power of Ruby! I was so proud of myself. I’ve never taken a real world problem (from my work no less) and made a tiny bit of code do exactly what I want it to. It just adds to my love of coding.

require 'csv'

contents = CSV.open "strengths.csv", headers: true, header_converters: :symbol
File.open("out.txt", 'w') do |f|
  contents.each do |row|
    headers = contents.headers
      name = row[0]
    strength = {}
      i = 1
    while i < row.length
      if row[i]
        strength[(row[i].to_i)] = i
      end
      i += 1
    end
    f.write("#{name} \n")
    stren = strength.sort_by { |k, v| k }

    stren.each do |k,v|
      f.write("\t #{headers[v].to_s.capitalize} \n")
    end
    f.write("\n")
  end
end

And yes, those are my StrengthsFinder top 5 in the second picture. Everyone at work had to do them and I think mine are very accurate.

Everything Will Be Amazing

Someday I’ll be a better writer of my thoughts. In the mean time, there is a lot to catch up on. My bestest, best friend got into Hackbright! She starts in September. I am so ridiculously happy for her, not in the least because I feel like I taught her most of what she knows about coding currently and I can’t wait to be able to have deep, nerdy conversations when she’s all done with the mind-meld that is programming. It’s a little bittersweet for me as I was the one who initially sent her the link. I’d been thinking about trying for it myself, but the timeline just wasn’t right this year.

Hackbright became my gateway drug, however. I found out they weren’t the only game in town. There are all shapes and sizes of programming bootcamps and after reviewing a lot of them, I’m currently in the process of applying for App Academy. Application and first coding test are a check. I’m literally taking a break from studying for the second coding test to type this up. So second round of coding and then (fingers crossed) a coding interview left to go before I wait with bated breath to find out if I get the best birthday present ever (birthday – Nov 14, start date – Nov 18!).

Besides hopefully an entire life shift I’ve been sticking to my routine of Coursera class. Startup Engineering is at its halfway point and I have a shell of a crowdfunding idea here. Oh yeah, the Code Girls and Octavia are real things, sort of. They are mostly in the brains of the three of us (aforementioned bestest, best friend and my other best friend) but I’ve said out loud to myself that I want a working project within 5 years, so obviously I have to do it now.

Other than that: quietness. I spent two weeks in California earlier this month and spent most of the time falling deeper in love with the Bay Area. I came back and bought myself a Mac (for those keeping score, I now technically own 4-5 laptops, but two have been handed down to my parents, one I received for free and it doesn’t really work anyway, the 4th is a tiny fun Linux netbook and the 5th is the new shiny MacBook Air I lovingly call “Monster”). This Mac represents my promise to myself it is my first true “dev” machine. The first things I installed on it were Ruby and Python and all the little bits that go along with that.

Wish me luck. I think I should probably be studying.

#Hashtag Redundancy

I couldn’t even finish the first Coursera course without starting another one. This time it’s Data Science. Yummy, yummy data that I get to program into submission. We are starting off with a trip through the Twitter API and I finally learned that JSON isn’t as scary as I thought it was when I didn’t know anything about it! Go me! We did a number of things with Twitter and some Python programming. The last part of the assignment was my favorite, the most popular hashtags. Some of my code (for a different section on finding tweet locations):

And my hashtag results from a 10 minute snapshot of new tweets to Twitter:

In theory I understand hashtags. In practice they bug me, especially the ones like the above “#YouWillNotBeTakenSeriouslyIf”. Ugh. Anyway, I actually went wild and crazy and Googled some of the hashtags, because most of them mean nothing to me. I even learned some Spanish! Seamos sinceros = “let’s be honest” which sounds just like another of the type of hashtags that bother me.

A Light in the Dark

I’m about a week and a half away from the end of the school term and these last few weeks are devoted almost entirely to final projects in both of my classes. The more “important” class involves a lot of OOP theory and some lovely easy Java programming (except the final which is in C++, which for some reason I can’t find the love for). The fun one is my game design class. It doesn’t really count for anything for me and it’s not really programming, even though I’m eeking out as much code as I can in GameMaker (we have to use it).

My final for the fun class is to create a an original game and write a giant design doc on the process, but I’m hopelessly enamored with the actual game now. The problem with this is that I want to really, really code it. Not just mess around. Enter a vague knowledge that there are things out there more advanced and a few Google searches later I’m staring at Visual C# 2010 Express and some online tutorials on XNA.

I’m really trying to put the brakes on this. Not forever, but just until I can finish up the term. I have no plans to continue with school for a while. I’ve done everything I can online, now comes getting a new car and an actual will to drive into Portland so I can finish my 2nd Bachelors and I don’t think I will see those goals met before 2013. I’m studying for the CompTIA A+ exam, but I think maybe it’s time I designed a computer game. Also June is National Game Development Month, which is not helping because my projects aren’t due until June 14th and I really would love to design a game this month.