I love end of year posts, like Scalzi’s and probably others whose blogs I do actually read but can’t think of, ha ha! This has been the year of transferring my nerdiness to generic pop-culture things like reading a ton of scifi and guzzling Star Trek, Doctor Who, Firefly, etc, to some real gritty stuff like some actual facility with computer systems. Very exciting.
I have made a zillion miles of progress and Big Life Decisions this year, and programming-wise, were and are incredibly impactful. My goal that I have been working toward for the last few years has been to teach high school math, I figure I have enough of an aptitude and teenagers are (don’t panic!) actually pretty cool to work with. And I knew I needed to be studying toward something that would get me an actual, adult, non-entry-level job, the contrast to which I worked in for four years, and let me tell you, hearing “well, we think you do deserve a raise, but there’s just no money” is pretty hard to hear/believe when you work for one of the biggest and most successful companies in the world, earning record profits quarter after quarter even in the most difficult of times (see 2009, when I saw coworkers’ 401(k)s slashed to 20-40% of what they had been).
Rant over, getting back to it, part of the coursework for the high school math teaching program at one of the graduate programs I was looking at included an introductory programming course. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, this really struck me and I joined a ladies’ programming group and stuck with it. After hearing that one definition of a master is 10,000 hours of work put into it, I tried to come up with a figure of how much I’ve put into python and related projects, and I think I’m right around 250h, give or take. So I have a long way to go, but I’m very pleased with having allotted that much over the course of a year. It’s 250 more than I had by last year, and that’s the only metric that’s important right now!
And now, for your handy-dandy list-format of what I’ve started and accomplished this year, under the cut. Wahoo!
- This year, I’ve worked through about half of Michael Dawson’s Python Programming for the Absolute Beginner, which I still use as a reference especially when trying to consider things in python 3.x rather than 2.7. Hmm, that would be fun to pick up again, I bet that at this point I could really breeze through many of the chapters, and each chapter is a game, which makes sense as Mr Dawson evidently teaches game programming. Neat!
- In taking the class, we learned all the way up to nested data structures, but didn’t get into any object oriented programming (or OOP as most seem to abbreviate it), though I know my instructors had wanted to. Lists, dicts (dictionaries), globals and more! As with all complex topics, though, I really wish we had talked about OOP a bit, I am finding it a bit daunting as of this entry.
- Back in February, maybe January, we had a phenomenal lecture that was JUST ON SOURCE CONTROL. Hey, experienced programmers, don’t you wish you had had that lecture when you were a freshie young programming aspirant? So I’ve been a member/user of github ever since, and all my projects get thrown there in some iteration or another.
- I also joined the aforementioned PyLadies PDX, the Portland branch of the fabulous PyLadies. I never expected to find so knowledgeable supportive a group of industry and hobbyist coder ladies, and I have no doubt I would not be where I programming-am without them.
- I also finally downloaded a copy of Linux Ubuntu (12.04) and now dual-boot my machine while learning the funny ins and outs of this operating system. I’d used it before, but I wasn’t programming, and at that time I had little reason to use it – plus the machine I was using was too weak to do much other than a bit of web surfing. Haha, does anyone say “surfing” any more? Now, it’s my primary OS though I still get into Windows to play games. You know how it is. I’m fairly proficient with the terminal, though I only mean “proficient” in a beginner’s sense – does that mean intermediate, then? Who knows : )
- I, of course, started the oft-linked Learn Python the Hard Way, and at 42 lessons in, am so so happy with this learning module. A handful of exercises in, a fellow PyLady suggested that I start a programming blog to track my work, and oh my god, what a fabulous suggestion. Going back to read my own thoughts on various challenges has been SO SO SO helpful!
And what comes next! Well, so many things! Like math, there is no ceiling on learning with programming. I don’t think I actually will do much with Learn You A Haskell for Great Good! any time soon, as it’s really not going to be very career relevant for me in the near future. Ruby is definitely next, and I was hoping to finish all of LPTHW before my winter break was through, and I may yet still do that, with a week to go and several long plane rides and me-time available to me yet. Was hoping to get a solid start on Learn Ruby The Hard Way but it looks like that will have to be a project for the coming year.
Also, it’ll be time to get a job come April, as I graduate mid-March, and I’m preeeetty sure I want to work in industry rather than in education. And jeesh, FINALLY. I have something like seven years of undergrad under my belt, somewhere around 260 credits, and that is Too Many to not have my degree yet. But I will, and soon, and get this – in French! Ha ha! I mean, I do love French and languages, but it may come as a surprise all the same : )
And I really, really need to figure out exactly how to run a Django app on the website I’ve bought. Right now it’s just barely more than an html placeholder, & no link until I get at least a semblance of a Django app on there. I may have to use Heroku, I might not, we’ll see. If I do use Heroku, I will of course link it up to New Relic just for the metrics-nerd factor : )
Wow, well, yeah, hey, great! This is seriously a huge list of accomplishments, and I’m really proud of myself for this. I have so, so, so far to go, but seeing that I have actually learned so much is very rewarding.
Annnnd now I’m done with self-congratulation, at least for this year. Stay tuned!