EOY 2014

Whew. I thought 2013 was fast. 2014 was bananas. I think I’m a bit rusty from not writing as much as I ought to, so let’s just jump right in!

Grad School?

In February, I received a letter of acceptance from my absolute dream graduate school to teach high school mathematics. In what has become a theme, it was something I’d worked incredibly hard for over a long period of time to achieve, and I actually made it. I knew what I would do before I even got the letter, but that didn’t actually make it any easier – I turned them down, not only because it would have increased my debt by 130% from what is already a serious amount of money, and not only because I never would have made anywhere near enough to have repaid this ~$100k of loans, but for a host of other reasons as well. With a heavy heart, I emailed my amazing advisor and advocate at the school, a nearly two year relationship, to let her know I wouldn’t be enrolling.

So I threw myself into computer science study. With PyLadies, and my last quarter of school to complete my French degree and Math minor, I busted the proverbial it to get a job, which I did, literally the day I was done with my final FINAL exams, hopefully ever : )

Interne-towne

The job started as an internship with lots of hands-on pair coding with my boss, “how would you solve this problem,” “let’s refactor together,” along with some “hey would you reach out to this person to sponsor (x),” which was great! I got to use a way nicer computer (macbook O2) than I had (a lovely old giant brick of a PC laptop on which I installed Ubuntu 12.04), and I finally started using git at the command line. It became pretty quickly evident that we worked together fabulously, and we started to think about what kinds of projects we could do together, so we started working on new ideas, largely centered on education. It was, actually, an incredible collaboration.

We thought topics and people for Security in Python, Data Science in Python, Twisted, Django From the Actual Beginning, and a few more that I’m sure I’m missing – it was rather a fire-hose of ideas! My boss was the kind of person who had six good ideas before breakfast, and it was a fast-paced, sometimes stressful, REALLY productive space for six months.

While there, I learned git to a granular degree and now lead a monthly workshop on it and plan to lead/teach the PyLadies annual course on it as well, and while I didn’t improve my Python chops much, I learned a lot about how computers are really working, under the hood – well, under a relative hood, I got into no hardware, lol, not at all. The os and sys modules, jeez! I’ve been saying lately that it’s those two modules that turn Python from an expensive calculator into something really powerful.

Codecademy played a little role, too, as you can see if you search the javascript tag on here – while I don’t code in JS, it’s a fairly ubiquitous language & I’m glad to have some familiarity with how it handles different kinds of problems.

I also, god-willing, learned a bit of project & people management the hard way. I don’t ever want to do that again, hooray! It’s good to know, especially considering that women are often directed from engineering career paths to soft-skill positions – now I know what to push back against.

Tutorial Creation

We settled into a Python tutorial with a local $TOPIC_IN_PYTHON expert, and worked really hard on outlining, scoping, creation, refinement, refactoring, presentation, program executability, git monsters, project jupyter/pip/virtualenv & dependency concerns, and so many other logistical issues.

After we flew to the place to film it, the company we’d signed the contract offered a counter-contract, letting us off the hook, and decided not to publish it after all. While honestly heartbreaking, there was a serious amount that we all learned.

UNEMPLOYMENT OH NOES

While scrambling to find a new gig after my internship ended, I stumbled on a number of really awesome opportunities, and though I only was offered one – obviously I stopped looking once I got an offer – I met and now keep in touch with many of the folks I interviewed with, because while it didn’t work out, these are all really neat people at really cool companies, so that has been really validating.

I was strictly unemployed for all of two weeks before I got an offer from Puppet, where I’ve been since mid October, and totally in love with my job. 2014! WOW.

2015?

This year, I will be learning the ins and outs of system administration, I’ll become Puppet certified, I’ll learn Ruby, and I’ll be dipping my toe into web app development as well, all while being part of the neatest leadership team of ladies ever with PyLadies PDX. I think I’d like to get Red Hat certified, or close to it, as I’ve come into Puppet without any sys admin background, and that’s something I’d really, really like to be good at at the new spot. I continue to be amazed by how well I am treated in my new career and how much I can do for people, even while clawing at so much more – frustration at the not-knowing-enough is a constant underlying anxiety for me at the new job, and I suspect that will continue for some time, and which in fact is a good thing. Studying math, and trying to stay aware of what’s Going On in tech, is a pretty good primer for the huge amounts of Not Knowing involved in working in tech, for probably at least the first few years.

WHOO! Onward and upward, or as they say, “Up and to the right!”

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Beachmeals

It’s been a month – the longest I’ve gone since I started this blog back in, hm, September 2013? About a month ago, my friends and I decided to rent a house for a weekend. There were nine of us, so I wrote a program to assign people randomly to each of the four meals we would be preparing that weekend – Saturday brunch, weekend snacks, Saturday dinner, and Sunday breakfast.

At first, and I knew this would not be my final draft, I made a loop to ask how many people would attend & another to ask all their names. Then, I made an empty list for each meal. Then I made a for loop to assign each person to a given meal, for the number of people attending. Each chunk of the code looked much like this:

appender = friendForIndex[-1]
brunch.append(appender)
print "adding guy above to brunch"
list.pop(friendForIndex)
newIndex = newIndex - 1
print "brunch folxxx: %s" % brunch

Later grawnkps (a very technical term, that) had an altered meal, so rather than brunch of course it would have breakfast or whatever.

It worked, which is fine, but you know me, I had to keep fiddling – 80-odd lines is too many for something that seems so much simpler than this! And since each grawnkp was essentially the same block of code over and over, well, obviously SOMETHING can be done about that!

So I set to re-writing. Another week or so of off-hours fiddling led to the final portion of the code as follows, a (sometimes) triply-nested conditional loop, that rather than needing one individual grawnkp for each meal, it iterates over a list of meals and picks the next one if the indexing value is over 0, and after each iteration it subtracts from the index within the bottom-most conditional, so it doesn’t iterate unnecessarily, which is what I was nervous about, but I did it right!! Check it out, I am quite proud. meals is a list of meals with brunch, snax, dinner, and breakfast as empty lists declared within. and shuffledFriends is a copy of the list of friends which has then been randomized:

k = len(shuffledFriends)
while k > 0:
	for j in meals:
		appender = shuffledFriends[-1]
		j.append(appender)
		list.pop(shuffledFriends)
		k = k - 1
		if k > 0:
			pass
		elif k <= 0:
			print "brunch fixers: %s \n" % brunch
			print "snax fixers: %s \n" % snax
			print 'dinner fixers: %s \n"; % dinner
			print "breakfast fixers: %s \n" % breakfast
			print "good job now make the food you dooks"
			exit(0)
		else:
			print "error"

ed: fixed tablature error with [ code language = “somelang!” ] codehere [ / code ]

So I am really excited! The next step for something like this could be to import a file with some of this information, but it works REALLY WELL for what I was trying to accomplish. Here’s the repo if you’re interested in how the whole thing fits together. The first version is the master branch in there so take a look if you’re so inclined, though like I said, it’s not nearly as flashy!

yahoo! & by way of an update I think I’m done with Learn Python the Hard Way. I have learned a lot & now am finally getting into some of my other projects.

Rinance

In trying to set up a proper website for myself, which I won’t link til it’s at least somewhat how I want it to look, I have been a little frustrated, so as a side project, I am trying to make myself an eventual budgeting program, based on my brother’s Brinance, and by based on, I don’t mean based on at all – I am going to write my own, ha ha! and then see how his differs from mine and in the process learn how to read a bit of perl. Exciting!

Here‘s what I’ve got so far.

I want to try to bang out the rest of LPTHW over my winter break, which has just begun. We shall see if that is doable! Then I want to move on to Learn Ruby The Hard Way, as Ruby is super-sexy right now.

brb trying to install django

wish me luck!

EDIT: so. this installation has been Really Hard. finally, having installed wsig, virtualenv, and virtualenvwrapper, I finally installed pip to handle python-related downloads, and while muddling yet again (really – for like the tenth time over the last couple days) through trying to just download django, my friend suggested, “well, why not just sudo pip install django?” HA! beautiful! so that worked, immediately, and now I have django on my linux box. woo-hoo!

now to USE it, to make a django-structured (probably wrong terminology) personal site, to showcase my ~tAlEnTs~! aaaahhhh