WDI Day Three: CSS and the Tech World

Today was yet another review day for me, yet I still had several fun takeaways, not to mention that they had a panel that spoke to us about the tech industry in the DC area. It was great hearing about useful Ruby Meetups like the ones in Silver Spring and Arlington. Also, I liked hearing about how it’s useful to take your previous, unrelated work experience and find a way to spin those skills into something that’s a great asset to your work as a web developer. The book, “The Passionate Programmer,” was also recommended which is something I’ve heard about before and now will definitely read.

With our CSS lesson, I learned a lot more about flexbox which is something I need to fiddle with more. Previously, I had heard of it but had never used it, simply because my work usually involved making sure older browsers could support my CSS styles. Flexbox is a fun way to create clean layouts and center elements. The lesson also reminded me that box sizing is a great thing to use since it makes it so I don’t have to worry about all the math and calculations involved with padding and margins.

Some helpful resources related to the CSS work included:

WDI Day Two: Git & CSS

It’s amazing how it’s only been two days, and already we’ve covered quite a bit of ground. Although I was already familiar with Git, and have used CSS extensively as a web designer, today was still a day where I learned a few new tricks.

First off, there’s the text editor that I use quite a bit, Atom. I’ve never really looked into the keyboard shortcuts involved with it, and realized how there are so many ways that I can improve my workflow:

  • ⌘ + , Open preferences
  • ⌃ + g Go to line
  • ⌘ + p Go to file
  • ⌘ + r Go to symbol
  • ⌘ + ⇧ + p Toggle Command Palette
  • ⌘ + ⌥ + Left/Right Toggle Files/Tabs
  • ⌘ + w Close Current Window/File if Saved
  • ⌘ + s Save current file
  • ⌘ + ] Tab Right
  • ⌘ + [ Tab Left
  • ⌘ + z Undo Change
  • ⌘ + y Redo Change

With Git, I learned a little more about discarding changes made to the staging area – something that I’ve never really played around with much before.

With CSS, I learned a few new things about animations and selectors. First off, playing the FlukeOut game made me realize how many advanced selectors are out there that I haven’t had a chance to really implement in any of my previous work as a designer. And as far as animations go, I realize I have quite a bit of research to do to really feel comfortable with them.

And lastly, I discovered how fun and easy it is to build blogs with Jekyll.

All in all, it was a really busy and productive day. I can’t believe it’s only been two days – it feels like I’ve been coding away at WDI for weeks. It’s safe to say I’m pretty please with the curriculum thus far.

WDI Day One: The Command Line

Today was the first day of class, and I was definitely feeling a bit nervous and giddy. I’ve never done something like this before, taking leave from my company just to delve head-on into learning something.

For the most part the day was filled with team building exercises and getting to know my classmates. The instructors reviewed the format of the course and how GA works. It was all the usual introductory type of day.

The coursework dealt with the command line interface (CLI) and a few of the commands that would really come in handy throughout the duration of the course. This included the following:

ls // list directory contents
cd // current directory
touch // create a file
mkdir // create a directory
cp // copy files
pwd // print working directory

I haven’t had a chance to really jump into navigating the terminal, so even though today was more of a review day for me, I still had a few take aways that will come in handy in the future.

General Assembly’s Web Development Immersive Program: Taking the Leap

It was a tough decision, but after toying at the idea of going through GA’s Web Development Immersive (WDI) program, I finally decided to take the leap and will begin the program at the end of June. The decision involved a lot of weighing the pros and cons.

Pros

  • It can help me become a full-stack web developer. I’ve felt like I’ve been in a rut with my coding. I’ve worked for a handful of nonprofits over the years in a variety of web roles, and taught myself how to code with CSS and HTML, however I’ve felt stuck when it comes to moving into other areas of coding. WDI looks as though it can help give me more direction when it comes to advancing my skill set.
  • Structured learning. I’ve attempted to teach myself programming via online courses like Code School or Free Code Camp. Although when it comes down to it, it’s difficult to take the concepts taught and actually apply them to making something. WDI will force me to start building things, with the help of instructors that I can pester with questions.
  • Code reviews. At every organization I’ve worked for I’ve always been the only person who really does what I do. Which can be great in many regards, but at the same time, it makes it difficult to know if I’m ever coding things inefficiently. It will be super helpful having these reviews as I explore more advanced topics.
  • Networking. This year I finally started going to tech meet-ups for groups like DC Women Who Code. I haven’t been the greatest at “getting out there” with networking, and GA’s events and programming for WDI sound like they’ll be perfect for this.
  • Community. Everyone I’ve spoken to who has already gone through the program speaks highly of the GA community and the friends they’ve made there. I’m excited to begin the immersive course with like-minded individuals.

Cons

  • Price. The price tag is a lot, although I was initially saving up for grad school which would have been far more. So when comparing GA to the alternative, of degree programs, it is much cheaper and not as much of a time commitment.
  • Will it actually be useful? I did quite a bit of research on the program before enrolling, but there’s always the fear that it might not pay off in the end. From what I’ve heard, it sounds like you’ll get more out of it if you’re willing to really put in the time. And I’m definitely ready to put in the time.

Anyway, I decided to put together this blog as a way to track my progress and reflect on the program as I go through it. So stay tuned, there will be more to come.