New Year, Fresh Start

It’s a new year, and I’m beginning my first full-time development job.  Today I pushed my first code to productgirl jumpingion.  I could not be more thrilled!

2014 was a big year.  I quit my job, went back to school at Fullstack Academy, learned how to do big-kid javascript, built 13 full-stack applications, and learned how to work with many emerging technologies, from d3 to tessel to CSS animations.

As I approach my new job, I want to make sure that 2015 is an even bigger year.  My current goal is not to get broader by learning a bunch of new languages, but instead to solidify my understanding of what I’m doing now — front-end JavaScript, CSS3, HTML5, and their associated libraries.  I propose the following set of goals:


Increase proficiency with git, completing all 50 levels on githug

Continue to push at least 2 commits to github per week (personal projects)

Become a regular contributor to one open-source repo

Present at 2 Meetups or conferences


Create a new d3 web app based on a current news event or issue

Read EcmaScript 6 — all of it

Learn reactJS

Learn coffeescript (necessary for my current role)

Learn to work with a templating language other than swig, such as handlebarsJS

Solidify knowledge of promises and use them in a project

Be able to implement all JavaScript array methods without having to look up documentation online

Learn how to write and run effective unit, integration, and e2e tests in jasmine and mocha


Play around with 6 emerging technologies or libraries, including CSS animations, polymer, handlebars

Test out and review 10 of the hottest mobile apps this year

Create a personal project using PhotoShop and Illustrator, so that I’m able to use basic features effectively in both programs (necessary for job, useful in the future)


I’ve included several public-facing goals that are not directly related to learning, such as presenting at meetups and contributing regularly to an open source project.  These help me stay accountable to my learning by creating pressure to be able to explain what I’m learning, subjecting my understanding to scrutiny.

The fun goals in the list help me stay up on the latest technologies outside my specific realm, but they’re all things that I’d enjoy doing anyway.

What did you set out to accomplish in your first year?

Making a Portfolio — from SCRATCH

Growing up, we made everything from scratch: birthday cakes, sandwich bread, bookshelves, cleaning detergents — but like most millennials, I’ve lost confidence that I can beat the commercial brands anymore.  I feel disconnected from products, and I rarely consider the prospect of DIY-ing very often these days.

So when Fullstack told me I’d be making a professional portfolio from scratch, I was actually kind of excited to try it.  Team Treehouse has a great tutorial to help out with it, so I started the process about a week ago.

Overall, things went very well.  Under Nick Pettit’s tutelage, I created a functional, three-page, fully responsive website using HTML5 and CSS3.  Even though I’m generally familiar with the basics, I was excited to try some new things, such as setting up a jQuery-like “on hover” command using CSS.  It was also exciting to see how easy it is to embed google fonts into any website.

Mobile Version of Site

Mobile Version of Site

Wide Version of Site

Wide Version of Site









My only complaint is that Treehouse uses a Normalize CSS file right off the bat to set things up.  I feel that this step adds an unnecessary layer of mystification to the website development process, and it takes away from my sense of accomplishment.  I’m not sure why this was necessary in the first place.

All in all, I consider this experience a success!  Thank you Team Treehouse!

Stuff Coders Probably Think is Obvious (But I Didn’t Know)

Over the past few weeks, I’ve become elbow deep at The Coded in solving problems that most people probably don’t think twice about.  I feel like a dummy a lot, but I keep in mind the advice of Adam from The Flatiron School: just keep going.

For example, one of my biggest problems has been how to test my code.  I’ve been using CodeAcademy‘s dinky interface to stuff my code in and try to view the results.  But apparently you can use Google Chrome to load local content, even HTML files.  As *ahem* everyone should know.

Then I thought, “But how can I include my CSS, PHP, JavaScript, etc?”

I didn’t know that you can put CSS and other languages into HTML with “<style>” and “<script>”-type tags.

As a result, I now have all kinds of possibilities before me.  I can try to code ANYTHING and test the results.  It’s really quite daunting.