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December 17, 2018

I’m running a 5k in May and true to my past collegiate athlete self, I’ve put together a full training schedule for myself that I’m sticking to. Given my past, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to register for a race and just show up to the starting line without knowing that I put in the time, effort, and miles to give my best effort. 

Obviously my best effort now will still be a couple minutes off my college best when my training was nearly a full time job, but I’m not too worried about that. Just getting back into a regular training schedule with a goal in mind, with real workouts and speed work, has reminded me how much I miss running competitively. The idea of racing used to send some of my teammates into nervousness and anxiety, but I always relished the idea of competition — not only against others in the field but also against myself. The smell of hot rubber at the track, the lightness of brand new racing flats in my hands, and the chill of post-workout ice baths at Criss...

March 25, 2018

My team has recently been focused on a huge backend migration, and as a result we haven't been doing much frontend lately. Seeing as our sprint tasks were finished, I picked up what I thought would be a tiny little CSS fix from the backlog. I've been eager to get some CSS experience in. I also had just finished a couple great tutorials in this series, HTML & CSS Is Hard, where I learned a little bit more about advanced positioning and Flex. 

The task? Make the image in a side panel in our embedded checkout modal fixed at the top of the panel, so that with enough content, the image would stay fixed while the rest of the content scrolled behind it. Essentially, the image should be sticky and not scroll away when scrolling.

Below is the before behavior. As you can see, the entire panel scrolls, the image going with it. There's also a fun unexpected little right border on the image. 

When I started investigating a fix, I saw that the side panel used display: table, which I thought was curious...

March 23, 2018

My very first tech conference experience! Three days of intense knowledge trying to squeeze itself into my brain. It was so good getting some time to focus on frontend learning after so many weeks of working on backend projects at work.

Day 1 was the Fundamentals Conference, a good lineup of basics in React and related technologies, while days 2-3 were for Advanced topics. The Advanced days were more challenging for me to understand, partly because a lot of the talks seemed to be about very experimental or far-out there technologies or ideas. The practical ones were great though!

 A few links to some of my favorite talks' slides: 

March 7, 2018

I got a great 2.5 hour lesson in data structures from my manager yesterday. 

I had asked for help with data structures because I've only encountered about three types (list, dictionary/object, set) in my programming but recently came across another type I wasn't familiar with -- the QUEUE!

We went through this resource as a starting point and also to narrow down the data structures into the most commonly known ones. 

I've learned that I'm a visual learner, so I've started bringing these giant sheets of paper to our lessons. Then, throughout the lesson I'm taking notes and drawing visuals, ensuring that I actually understand what is being discussed. It helps me reinforce what I'm learning and also gives me the opportunity to ask clarifying questions I otherwise may have been hesitant to ask. If it's not clear enough for me to articulate into words or a drawing on the sheet, then I know I need to ask more questions. 

Here's what we ended up with, three giant sheets of beautiful notes on 13 d...

February 23, 2018

It's been about 4 months since I officially switched over to full time development from managing the QA team. 

On one hand, I feel a little disappointed that I haven't been able to really develop my frontend skills as much as I'd hoped for, or expected I would have by now. I've only worked on a few small bugs on the frontend and a little bit with our old legacy frontend code. I haven't worked in React too much yet, even though I tried starting work on my own for a small work related React project. It turns out when your day job involves a ton of backend code and running integration tests locally, it takes a bit of time to switch to a Docker profile that is meant for frontend. Doing that every day is just not feasible for me. 

So while I'm a little less afraid of curly braces, I don't think I'm close to being comfortable with React and Redux just yet, or with frontend systems altogether. 

But on the other hand, I'm pretty proud of how far I've come on the rest of the work -- the backe...

January 11, 2018

I'm starting to find that I end up with a lot of downtime at work -- in between waiting for my Docker profile to build, or for the container to start, or waiting for code review feedback. These minutes don't add up to anything substantial enough to really put toward the next JIRA ticket, and so I usually find myself browsing Slack and catching up on conversations. Not really meaningful. 

So I decided to come up with a list of small exercises I can work on while I'm waiting, for whatever it is. Here's my list of resources so far!




This website is fantastic, I'd highly recommend it. They offer several different languages, but I've been working through the Javascript series: exercism.io/languages/javascript/exercises



Ok so this one is a site for elementary aged children. But it is a ton of fun, the exercises are short and simple, and incredibly adorable. And hey, if they can learn this stuff, so can I! codeclubprojects.or...

December 16, 2017

One of the problems with being a new developer is that I have so little confidence in my skills, even when I should trust my gut.

My team is currently working on an engineering wide initiative to convert our codebase to a new Permissions model. This week I've had the task of taking a particular scary bit of code and migrating it over.  

Today, I was working on a Python integration test failure that didn't make any sense. By all means, this test should have been passing. I spent a couple hours on Wednesday struggling over this code, trying to figure out what it was that I was doing wrong. But I couldn't see anything! Naturally, I figured I must have missed something. I made some mistake, somewhere. I'm new at this, after all. I must have done something wrong.

But after spending 5 hours digging into deep layers of this code, three services away from the code I modified, getting the help of two of my teammates and my manager and then finally an engineer from another team, we f...

December 14, 2017

I've officially made the transition to become a full time software developer!

For the next few months, I'll be focusing extra time and effort on studying and learning for this new role. I'm gritting down and choosing to prioritize this over everything else. I'll be using some agile and scrum practices and dedicating extra hours to making myself better every single day. I'm hoping to share a little bit about my journey here with you.  

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