[UPDATE] January 2016: What I’ve been up to…

I keep meaning to get some work done on this blog. Funny how after setting goals to stick with my frequency of posts, is exactly the same time the frequency just plummets… Anyway, I thought I’d hop on and just bring up some things I’ve been up to, and let you guys know what I’m working on.

First of all, the reason I’ve sort of been disconnected from the blog the past few weeks, is that an “almost work opportunity” came up. A non-profit from a near by city is looking into making an online learning environment to teach primary health care in remote areas of the world. They reached out to me with the possibilities of helping develop the LMS or installing and configuring Moodle (what UoPeople uses).

So, like the inexperienced developer I am, I started doing pretty heavy research so that I was as informed about their needs as much as possible. I looked into all of the options that were already implemented, and invited a friend to come help me with the project in the even that we got the contract. He is a gifted developer on the MEAN stack, so he was hoping to use that for this project. Since the whole time I was in talks with the organization, I didn’t know for sure what technologies they’d want to use, I was learning Moodle, and the LAMP stack (never worked in PHP), and I was brushing over some stuff in Angular (the A in MEAN).

This along with a few frustrating slumps at Khan Academy, (which I’ll probably write a post about soon) I found myself much busier than I usually am on my school break, and hence the lack of posts from me lately.

So, what I’ve been doing in regards to my blog is a bit messy actually. I had hoped to get out my week 8 and 9 learning journals from last term. I also still intend on reviewing the previous term too. The LJ’s needed to be edited before posting, and the last couple weeks of that course were absolutely crazy. I went way over the average number of hours for a course, just trying to catch up in all the reading material to prep for the final exam. Last term was challenging for me, and although I learned a lot, I came out the other end like a mushy piece of hot plastic hanging out of the end of an extruder. Or at least, that’s what my brain felt like.

So, I have two learning journal posts sitting in draft, that I’m not sure if I should even post at this point or not (maybe it’s too late?). I’m also still working on getting information about transferring UoPeople degrees to other colleges and universities. That project has been slow, and came to a stand still by the last few weeks of the previous term, but I’m hoping my current course will be a little less time consuming, so I can continue my research.

Some other things I’m working on is related to my career as a professional programmer. At the beginning of 2015, it was very uncertain what I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted to do something or anything that involved programming. Now I’m pretty confident that what ever it is I do, will be largely integrated with web technologies, and whether that means building web sites, or web apps, or API’s, or even games, it’s going to be some sort of web development. Knowing just basic HTML/CSS and JavaScript has been so enlightening to me this past year. It really feels like the direction I want to be going, so I’ve been largely focused on that.

Through Khan Academy I work mostly in JavaScript, and I’m also slowly working away at a free front-end developer certification through freecodecamp.com which is an open source web development course aimed at full-stack development using Node, ExpressJS, MongoDB, and ReactJS among some other technologies along the way. Here’s a sample of what I’m working on as a part of my journey to earning a certificate. http://codepen.io/DanJFletcher/full/WrEPXw/

It’s just a simple calculator, and at the time of this writing it still has some bugs in it. But it’s letting me show off some of (limited) front-end skills, while adding to my portfolio of completed works, and getting me a certificate at the same time 🙂

Last thing I wanted to mention is that I finally made it to a coding meet up. It was one through Free Code Camp. I joined the Facebook group for my local area, and right away arranged a meet up with one of the other members. No one else ended up showing, but even just the experience of meeting up with one other person who codes was great. We’re going to try to schedule another one soon, probably in March, and hopefully get some of the other group members to join us too.

I’m also going to another meetup next week for a .NET developer workshop with a buddy from high school. I haven’t seen this guy in a long time, and didn’t even know he was a programmer until fairly recently. We’ve been meaning to meet up for a while, and finally are managing it. He just graduated from a program in Computer systems information programming something something or other… heh, seriously the name barely fits on his diploma!

Anyways, a part of my goals this year is to up my networking skills by going to these meet ups, and other technology events. I’m really trying to get myself to the next level, confidently calling myself a “professional” and I think I’m at a point where the only way is by learning from other people. Books, and school, and online tutorials can only carry you so far.

Anyways, sorry that this post probably doesn’t seem as well written or thought out as many of the others, but honestly I’m just using this as a filler/update post, so you guys don’t think I quite the internet while I work on other things. I’m going to get back into the swing of things, and you’ll be seeing another post later this week on my first week of term 3 for 2015-16. See ya guys then!



2 thoughts on “[UPDATE] January 2016: What I’ve been up to…”

  1. Hi Dan!

    I hope and trust you had a wonderful festive season. I enjoy reading your posts. However, I am far behind you in the studies at UoPeople, therefore, I hope your old posts will still be accessible for use as study resources and I hope it will be fine to reach out to you for queries. I am doing Globalization this term and I am planning to start the Progromming modules next term. I am a novice in computing and I would like my time at UoPeople to count.

    Best wishes for 2016!
    – Robbie.

    1. Hi Robbie, hope your festivities were wonderful too. All of my old posts will remain accessible, and after seeing your comment, I think I’ll post my last two learning journals as well. I realize that some students may be following these posts in order to help them with their own studies, so maybe it’s still worth posting those LJ’s even though they’re late 🙂

      Feel free to reach out to me for help. I try to get back to everyone as soon as I can.

      Cheers 🙂

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