And here we go again. . .

I started working at Blackbaud in early 2014, and shortly after I did so – I stared at CTU to do a programming degree.  Why?  Thought it was a good thing to do.

I am currently applying for a new postion here at Blackbaud – a team that uses WordPress to set up clients, and works with them to guide the clients to success. One of the guys I interviewed with was suprised I was going to school – again.

His comment was that the only thing that matters in Computers is being able to do things – not how you got to that point.

I’ll be brutally honest here – I have a full time job and a family, and taking courses that are only peripherally related to what I want to do is tiring.  I don’t want to do it anymore.  What I want to do is program.

If I get this job – it might be that I stop on the road to being a programmer full time.  I think this job is a good enough fit for me so that I could do that.  But here’s the thing – I can use my programming skills as part of that job – to build dashboards, to query data, and to make that data available to our clients on their own sites.

So, that means I will probably go back to teaching myself to program – and to learn the skills I need to do my job to the best of my ability.

So after a long hiatus, here I am – getting ready to do this again.

Hopefully, I won’t get lost along the way this time.  I mean, how many degrees does one girl need?

Getting ready

I had a really bad day yesterday.  I realize I am only working part time right now, but there is just not enough money to go around.  I also said that by the end of the semester I would either get a real job (which was the plan) or I would accept as many classes as they would give me for next semester (it’s money, even if it’s not what I want).  So, I was applying for jobs left and right yesterday. 

I have applied for several jobs in the last month or so, and I normally get as far as the interview stage if not further.  However, the last few jobs I have applied for I hadn’t gotten anything from them except the automatic confirmation that the application had been submitted.  On one of the jobs, I did get some movement; I was asked to take some aptitude tests.  Then nothing.  So I was feeling like I would never have the skills required to get a job, and that really bummed me out.  I was all set to do a ranting post about how I work so hard, and I have all these skills, and nobody wants me anyway. 

Then I get a call asking me to come to an interview.  Not only that, but the interview is with a team manager that I spoke to at the networking event at Blackbaud.  I asked him how one would manage to get on his team once they were working at Blackbaud.  Apparently he liked that.  I was really intrigued by what his team does because it involves a lot of math and data mining for customers to allow them to get the most out of their product.  That just sounds awesome to me.  So I am really excited about this.  OK, so there is another job I applied for that I think I want more, but this will be a lot of fun.  So let’s get on with it! 

Of course, I need 3-4 references with the application.  I think that since it’s a customer service position with data analytics that I should ask people in my past that have experience with those items.  So, I selected the manager I had for the SAP roll out (team work and software life cycle; developing requirements and moving data), my Ph. D. advisor (data analytics), a colleague from my last job (work ethic), and a manager I reported to at the Princeton Review (ability to teach, customer service, and energy).  I mean, I know that it might be more relevant to give “current” references, but I think it is better to refer to those that have the best idea about the abilities I will use in this job.  I hope that is right, and it works for me. 

So, between that and the end of the semester here at Trident, things are moving along.  With all the grading I have had to do this week I have had no time to program, and it is killing me.  I hate days like that.  But, I have PHP class tonight so it should be ok, and after today I am done for the semester. 

Happy coding everyone!  I know I will be doing happy coding as soon as I can get back to it!

Damn this weather!

OK, so I know that I should be focused on the progress I have made on the 3 WordPress websites I am working on for my WordPress class, but really. . .what is up with this weather?  The weather here has been 80°C one day, and then 51°C the next.  Fine.  I can deal.  I don’t like that, but ok. 

However, my husband had to go to England for a 4 hour meeting.  He left last Wednesday, had the meeting Thursday, then went to his parent’s to visit for the weekend.  He should have been home Sunday night. 

He gets to the airport Sunday, and apparently a bird flew into the engine of the plane and they had to do major repair.  So his flight was cancelled.  All other flights that day were cancelled because there was ice rain in Dulles, snow in Newark, New Jersey and New York, sleet in Chicago, and no flights into Florida (they had already departed).  So he got a flight today getting him in around 7 pm.  He got a call this morning to say the flight was cancelled again because of weather.  So he’s on another set of flights tomorrow.

All well and good, sure.  Except I don’t sleep when he’s not here.  My daughter and I have been battling since he left because I haven’t gotten enough sleep.  And now, she has to come with me to the digital corridor tonight because I can’t get a babysitter and I am not willing to miss class.

And, of course, since the weather is crazy I have no idea when he will get home. 

Have I been doing any programming?  Not while I am trying to get the fast forward class finished (they are done on Thursday), dealing with my child, taking care of the house, and waiting for my man to come home.  I have been working on my WordPress site whenever I have a minute, but I haven’t had a lot of them this week. 

Next week I am off, so it should be much better.  I would love to get back to some PHP!  Oh, and we have PHP again next week, so I should have some fun doing coding on my own and with others.  Yeah!

Hopefully, you are doing more coding than me!  Happy coding folks! 😉 

No headphones!

Don’t you hate it when you are set up to work all day at campus, and then you realize when you get your computer out that you left your headphones at home?  So you have to go all day with no music to work with?  Good coding is never done in quiet circumstances.

As you may be aware, I began a WordPress 101 class at CODECamp in the digital corridor about a week and a half ago.  The course is a lot of fun, and I am building my personal website while doing the course.  I am nowhere near done yet (content takes some time), but as the course progresses I am learning to make changes and make it look better.

Of course, I thought I had a lot of the website development stuff learned.  I took an e-commerce course at Trident Tech in the spring, and I thought I had all that sorted out.  I really didn’t, though.  As usual, I come to find the information I was given in the course about how to get my site higher in the search results was wrong.  I was told that each page should have more than 250 words (hence the mostly long blogs), but that is no longer the case.  Now, it is just several important key words mentioned a number of times (like repeating that CODECamp is great and I wish that was all I had done; CODECamp has been a much better experience for me than Trident Tech was).

At any rate, I think I will try to finish out my initial build on the website today.  We are taking another week off from the PHP course as the instructor, Ben Marks from Blue Acorn, is in California doing training this week.  So, I think focusing on the website is the way to go.  Hopefully I will be able to finish that out today, but we’ll have to see how much I want to tweak it.

Happy coding, folks! 😉

Forgive the interruption. . .

OK, so I know this blog is supposed to be about my road to programming, and that this rant has *nothing* to do with that.  So I am going to ask your forgiveness at this point in time. I apologize for this interruption, and promise to get back to the right stuff tomorrow.

When did Thanksgiving, a non-secular holiday we are supposed to spend with our families on a day off, become a day to shop?  When did the family fall out of Thanksgiving?  When did we stop being thankful for what we have?  When did it become the day when stores have to be open in case I forgot something?  The day that football must be played rather than the players being home with their families?  When did everyone in the universe have to be in the “parade,” which now stops every 2 minutes so people can sing and perform? 

I know that things change as time goes on, but I can remember when nothing was open on Thanksgiving.  When you spent time with your family, and that was it.  Of course, I am happy that I can get a soda refill on the holiday; that’s my thing.  But when did my need for soda come before the employees getting to spend time with their families?  We all deserve days off, and the idea that we can take the same day off as the rest of our families and spend time with them is a great idea.  But nobody gets that anymore.  I can’t take it. 

In most countries, people get more time off than we do in the US.  They are generally healthier and happier than most Americans are.  The people in the US work their fingers to the bone, and most have little or nothing to show for it at the end of the day.  Can we not have one day a year to just be with those we love?  To not stress out (except over cooking a big dinner!) and spend time together? 

I am thankful.  I don’t have the life I want (yet), but I am thankful for the one I have.  My husband, my daughter, our cat.   The school my daughter goes to.   The opportunities in front of me.  The job my husband loves.  Our extended family, those in California and those in England.  The sister-in-law I have never met, who is one of my best friends.   My friends all over this country and overseas.  The classic frozen turkey dinner we are having tonight ($10 dinner for 3, yeah!).  The people who read my blog.

Please, can we just let Thanksgiving be a day off with lots of good food, and spend it with those we love?  Is that really too much to ask?

Oh WordPress, you are so much fun!. . .

Code Camp Logo

So I started my WordPress class last night at the Charleston Digital Corridor, and my head is buzzing with ideas for my website.  I think that’s a good thing.  I knew that you could use WordPress to make a website, but I wasn’t aware how easy it was.  I also wasn’t aware how much customization is allowed, and that is exactly what I was looking for. 

The class is being taught by Larry Collett, President & CEO, netGALAXY Studios.  netGALAXY is a firm in Charleston that is the top four links on Google for websites.  So he knows what he’s doing.  The company used to use WordPress to make websites for people.  They stopped in October because they are now doing App development for people (which is more profitable).  So, they are looking for someone to take over that work form them, and Larry is teaching WordPress to find that person. 

I know enough HTML and CSS to be dangerous – I mean, I could make my own website from scratch, and I guess it would be better to do so.  I have always thought so, anyway.  And I keep putting it off; it’s a lot of work, and I don’t want to start on it and then go do other stuff and then come back to it.  It’s a pain in the neck if I can’t work on it like it’s a real job.   So I keep putting it off.  I know I shouldn’t do that, because that website should be the home of all the links to my electronic footprint, and I should give that to people as an illustration of my talents.  I mean, you want a job, you have to show them the goods, right?  But I keep doing it.

So last night, rather than talking about the server side of the blog (what I thought we were going to do), we talked about building a website using WordPress.  We started doing it with a hosting company called 1 and 1, which they set up for us (I use them as well, but don’t really like them; it’s just cheap).  It was easy.  It was fun.  It’s very customizable.  I love it.

So, I am totally running amok with ideas about what to put on my website.  I can’t get my head to calm down enough for me to make a coherent plan, and that’s a bad way to start.  I am running in about a million different directions! 

I guess, like all things, I should sit down and make a plan.  Dump all the thoughts out of my head and try and organize them into a coherent plan; if that can be done.  So that’s what I will do today; try and get my head straight on this project and then get it started.  Happy coding, everyone!  Look for a post on my new website soon! 🙂

Let the WordPress fun begin!

So I start a class at the digital corridor on WordPress tonight.  Given that I already have a WordPress blog that I have been using for a while, people have asked me why I am taking this class.  Good question.  The answer is simple; I can always find new things to learn.

I have a habit of taking classes that are subjects I have some experience with.  But let’s face it; no matter what you know or study, someone else has a different perspective on it than you do.  They know things you may not.  You may know things that other students can benefit from.   Thinking you know everything about a subject is a fallacy; no one can ever know everything about anything, especially when it comes to rapidly evolving technology. 

There’s something else: classes at the Corridor are very different that other classes.  You don’t take them to get a grade.  You take them because you are interested in learning, and because you want to learn from someone who does this every day.  It’s like having a good mentor; one who is willing to teach you what they know.  There are no tests, so there is no way to “prove” your knowledge; other than going home, taking what they taught you, and turning it into something else you can add to your electronic profile that you show to the world. 

That electronic profile is like a portfolio for an artist.  You may have many talents, and not all of them will be used in any given job.  And it may be that the job you get requires skills that you do not yet have.  However, your profile shows your dedication, your passion, and your willingness to learn and put yourself out there for critique. 

That’s really hard; if you are not confident in your work, it’s hard to allow others to view your work and give them an opportunity to make suggestions and comments about it.  But riddle me this, Batman. . .if you can’t show your work to others to allow them to comment on it, how can you possibly allow it to be part of something that goes out into the world?  In my opinion, even that level of invisibility that comes with being part of a team is not enough – if you can’t let others look at your code when they know who you are (no matter how simple or stupid the code may be), then how can you allow anyone to review and comment on your code somewhere else.  You must be willing to show both your strengths and weaknesses.  And, if you know what those weaknesses are and seem to be doing something about them, then that is all the better.  

So here I go, off to learn more about WordPress tonight and PHP this afternoon.  Yet again I will stick my neck out into the world and post my simple PHP scripts to my GitHub account (https://github.com/Hartlna1) to show what I have done up to now.  I can only hope that no one will cut my head off in the process – but I won’t know unless I put my neck out there for all to see, will I?