It's OK to Not Want to Be a Programmer

This is probably my fourth attempt at learning to code. I have a good chance this time. There is a teacher. His name is Jon. He knows what he's doing and laughs at my jokes sometimes. I'm learning for my job—which I enjoy. It is 2014. There is a whole Internet out there dedicated to helping people learn programming. It is not just me braving too-thick books and my own boredom, mindlessly typing "Facebook" into the command line—no! This time is different. 

Or is it? In a ridiculously critical inner monologue, I have always told myself that my lack of stick-with-it-ness when it has come to coding is a character flaw. Rationally, I know this is some kind of raving, because if it were a deeply personal character flaw, why wouldn't we have more programmers?

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Learning to Program

Since I started working as a content person at the Flatiron School a couple months ago, I've had some pretty significant learning experiences. I've already learned a lot about the industry, about education, and about communicating why Flatiron School exists to everyone.

Now it's time to actually go through the curriculum myself. Starting this week, I'm going to be documenting my progress with our front-end development class. Can't wait to get started.

NB: I mostly want to learn so I can finish this game that games person Michael and I started. And I want you to love it so much. 

 

 

User Research for People Who Don't Like Talking to Other People

A few months ago, I gave an internal presentation on research methods for the folks at FreeAssociation who hadn't participated in research yet. It covers basics of the initial user research we did at the beginning of one of our more recent projects and (of course) contains goats. Need more context? I have a whole other blog post on the same project right here.

Update: this presentation was featured as a Top Presentation on Slideshare's home page. Neat!

I'll drink to that

My grandfather's 98-years are obituary-defying. He served in British-ruled India around the time Gandhi gave his Quit India speech and climbed the Himalayas decades before the first successful Everest ascent. He also managed to take a 7-year military tour in Brazil, raise five kids, care for a swimming pool with painstaking exactness, plant an oak tree illegally, and install several solar panels on his roof. 

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Quitting

The day I decided not to get a PhD in Shakespeare, I rode a bus across London twice.​

​It was the number 24, the one I took to class and to the rare books library where I worked. When I got there, I would climb a few sets of stairs to dust 18th century mathematics books. I would push a button, and shelves of maps and incunabula would open to me like sesame. Three times a week, I'd pluck them off and clean.

At the time, I had little professional experience beyond all that vellum, those yellowing ​pages that smelled like earth. But when I decided not to get my PhD, this didn't cross my mind. I just didn't get off the bus.

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What writing for the Internet taught me about writing

​A professor I had in grad school once told me that my papers were "caught up in your own rhetoric." I'm still not 100% on what this means, but here's what I'm assuming: I invited my readers onto this sick-ass roller coaster of 17th Century criticism, but did not invite them into my head. Too many words with too little explanation. 

After about 2 minutes in the real world, I learned that all my sweet puns and thesaurus adverbs weren't going to fly online. It was a good lesson that I've taken to all my writing.   

​I'm still learning, but between newbs, here are 5 things I have to tell myself every time I write anything.

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