October 31st, 2016

It’s definitely been a minute since the last time I wrote a blog post. We are now in… gosh, I believe it’s week 6 at Academy. We started HTML/CSS today. This is one subject I had lots of experience before coming to Academy, as I have made 3 different websites before attending. It felt good to be able to help out my peers. I know this feeling of “ahhh everything clicks” won’t last too long, as we are soon going into JS/Angular, Rails, MVC, and more.

This is what I’m so excited for though— combining front-end and backend knowledge to make web applications. I never was able to bridge the gap in the months I was teaching myself front-end knowledge so I’m excited to see what’s in store. It’s going to be challenging, but oh, am I ready!

Another thing I guess I’m a little worried as of right now about finding a job. It’s not a matter of me doubting my abilities, it’s more so a matter of me thinking employers won’t realized the amazing skill set I actually can bring to their company. And that’s a shame because I have a lot of really great skills.

I guess I’ll go over just some of them.

Front-End Skills

I’m advanced in CSS, including bootstrap, responsive web design, animations, etc. I have experience with SVG as well as Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. I have made 3 responsive, dynamic websites from scratch. The experience of making these websites have improved my front-end skills like no other, and it has been extremely valuable.

I have also had 2 of Halloween CodePens “picked” to be on the main page of CodePen.

I’ve had freaking Chris Coyier follow me on twitter!! That was pretty awesome, the face of CSS-Tricks, himself.

I have had multiple people compliment my website and have received critiques on it that I have taken into consideration and changed.

I understand that although my styling skills are great, I have yet to learn much more about JS frameworks and making web applications with them. I want to eventually learn node.js as well. I think being humble about my skills is extremely important in this field. There is an incredible amount of information to know and nobody is an expert on one thing. I will continue to improve my skills, help out others as much as I can, and continue to be motivated and inspired by other developers whose work I admire.

Backend Skills

I originally went to Academy Pittsburgh with the intention of just learning programming fundamentals to help with JS on the front end. I have actually grown to really like backend. C# is an extremely powerful language and I’m glad I’ve overcome my fear of learning new languages. Before Academy, I always believed in knowing one language in and out very well— it’s just not necessary to know more than that, I thought.

However, John has definitely helped me realize something with programming languages…. when you break it down, they all really do the same thing. When asked which programming language he liked the best, John just laughed and said “They’re all the same.” I, at first, was flabbergasted by this response— how could they possibly be the same?! At this point we were learning C# and I thought maybe he was just lying to influence us to not have biases.

Then, we learned Ruby. I fell in love with the clean syntax and the amazing community. It was tricker to learn than I anticipated, what with being used to C#’s syntax for so long. I think we had our expectations set low by the community in general always talking about how “easy” Ruby is. Then when I went back to program some stuff in C#, I started to realize that things I didn’t before. Ruby’s clean syntax helped make classes and a few other concepts that were a little fuzzy to me before, more clear.

Ruby is great. C# is great. Every programming languages has its advantages and disadvantages. Saying you’re not a real programmer unless you do “x, y, and z” is a toxic concept that I am happy to see slowly dissolving in the programming community.

Because if you really break it down to the level some people do when they say programmers “should do x,” I always thought, “Well, shouldn’t all programmers know how to “code” in binary to get their programs to work?

I don’t know any programers that program in binary.

Skills I’ve Learned the Hard Way

Not a skill learned at Academy, but I must say that I’ve learned take rejection pretty well over the years. At first, whenever I wouldn’t get accepted at a certain job or didn’t get a certain scholarship, or whatever the case may be, I would take it very personally. I always believed it was a lacking on my part rather than the company’s/person/etc. As the years have gone by, I’ve come to realize that’s not the truth at all. Just because a company/a person/whoever may fail to realize the potential I hold, doesn’t mean that I don’t have potential. They just didn’t see it.

Another skill I’ve learned over the years is that I’m really good at taking criticism and feedback, positive and negative. Positive feedback makes me swell with happiness, but negative feedback is something I’ve learned to be open to. I’m always looking for ways I can improve. Other people can see things that I don’t necessarily, so it’s essential to gather this information.

I consider criticism to be different from negative feedback. I see criticism as being harsher than necessary, or just plain rude about a process one has chosen or something they did or made. Criticism I think will always kind of initially surprise me at first. I think my natural reaction to criticism is to want to defend myself, to want to tell the person they’re just plain wrong. I have learned however, that sometimes taking a step back, looking at the situation through a different perspective, and focusing on your work rather than letting your emotions get the best of you has been an invaluable skill I’ve learned. Easier said than done, of course. Sure, it’s never pleasant when someone criticizes work you’ve made. It can hurt. But again, I’ve found changing my perspective has always been very beneficial to me.

In Conclusion

I’ve learned a lot of skills and a lot of, well, life lessons in a short period of time. I love learning. I will continue to learn strive to be a better me everyday. If nobody else can see that, well, that’s their problem, now isn’t it?