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Mark King
Mark King

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A Reflection On My CNC2022 Code More Journey

Name: Mark

Title: Freelance Developer

#CNC2022 Cohort: Code More #1

"Code More" Goal:

I want to be consistent in spending time coding to continue to improve on my skills to eventually do freelance work and/or work in the coding arena.

Introduction

Introduction

My name is Mark from The Triangle (North Carolina). I signed up for the cohort to start my code in public journey. My first intro to programming was using Basic. I have attempted Java, C#, JavaScript and Python. I landed on Python. My expectation for this challenge was to obtain an outline to improve on my coding consistency and network.

Hello. It looks like my original post was deleted :-(

Intro:
My name is Mark and I am located in North Carolina (The Triangle). I decided to participate in the challenge to help me focus on a strategy to consistently code to grow my skills.

What worked "coding-wise":
What works for me is working on projects that solves an issue and/or where there is a deadline. I definitely do better with a structured environment. I completed a couple of nano-degrees from Udacity.

What has not worked:
What has not worked in the past is completing projects I am not interested in working on. I lose motivation because the projects did not seem to solve a problem. I get I am constantly learning and everything will not be exciting; however, it currently is a "blocker".

Long term goals:

  • Land a job in tech and/or freelance work as a developer

Short Team goal:

  • automate task for those in my circle of influence
  • grow my dev network

Mission 1

Mission 1 was the planning phase for the cohort. It was to generate features I would like in my project and break them down to small user stories to work in my weekly iterations. During this mission I listed my assumptions and identified potential blockers to completing my goals.

Mission 1 went well. The assumptions can be viewed in the embedded post. The riskiest assumption was I would avoid burnout. To avoid burnout, I would not try to do all of my coding in a single day, take a break after work before I start coding and be sure to get food, water and rest.

  1. Why do you want to code more? I want to be more consistent in learning how to improve my skills to automate repetitive tasks and eventually generate a revenue stream through coding.

  2. How will you know when you've reached your goal? I will know I have reached my goal when I have successfully implemented some process improvements by creating applications that make my computer task more efficient(e.g. replace Excel spreadsheets and charts with web app, incorporating data visualization). In addition, I hope to create apps/scripts to help those in my circle of influence with my enhanced skills.

  3. What were some of the assumptions about reaching your goal that you identified? I have a few assumptions:
    a) Our family will create a menu for the week so we can eat at home more … saves the time driving/waiting at restaurants and money :-)
    b) I will stick to a schedule (work/family/coding balance); avoid burnout
    c) I will have the encouragement of this community

Mission 2

Mission 2 was about iteration planning. I had to make sure my task were small enough to complete and schedule the "right" amount of work (the appropriate tasks) to complete in the given week.

[Tell us what your Mission 2 experience was like. Tell us a bit about the schedule you created. Which tools did you decide to use? How did they work for you? How were your first work sessions? What worked and didn't work for each one? What kind of tasks or activities did you tackle in each?]

This mission was not bad at all. I was familiar with Trello to track my task, so that was a time saver. I also used Clockify to keep track of my time. These tools worked pretty good for me.

My first work session was not "overloaded". I have a hard time estimating the time it will take to complete a task. I guess that will improve over time. The web pages (templates) are definitely easier than the views (code that interact with the templates and the database). The forms and models fall in between. I tackled a little of each to not leave any particular level of difficulty out.

Hello all!
Here are my response to this mission:

1. Tell us about how your first work session for this mission went. What did you accomplish and learn?

During my work session I continued working on a Django project I started last week (see my planning board in #2 for accomplishments). I found the app Clockify to help me track the time I spend on each task; however, plan to use it in the next mission. You get a lot for this to be a free tool.

Also, I learned how important it is to use virtual environments for each project to make sure I am using the intended version for the specific dependency.

2. Share a screenshot or photo of your planning board/calendar/journal

I used Trello for my planning board

Have a great weekend!

Mission 3

Mission 3 was about retrospective and more iteration planning. I was able to look at what worked and areas I can make improvements on the "plan".

Mission 3 was a eye opener. My work environment was fine, so there was no adjustments needed. I realized as I worked on a page, and had it actually working...I would see something else I needed to add. For example, I list all of the expenses in a table with pagination. I did not originally have a filter for the list, so that was a new task added.

Hello folks.

1. Tell us what you plan to do differently in your next coding session
I plan to incorporate some small scripts and projects during the week (separate from the larger project) in an attempt to keep coding "fun". I want to find an open source project to contribute to as well.

2. How is your coding momentum right now? Give us an update on how you're feeling.
I have been coding at least 2 days a week since I started the cohort. I know it is not about how many days I code; however, I want to continue to learn and improve so it requires putting in the work. Like I stated at the beginning of the cohort...family/work/coding balance is a challenge.

I feel like "I don't know what I don't know". It's challenging to know what skills I should be working on...you ask 5 people, you might get 5 different answers on what you need to know. Overall, I feel good about my journey. I have come a long way since:

print('Hello World!)

Here are my updates this week:

  1. Project Board
  2. Time
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Mission 4

Mission 4 was about "keeping the main thing the main thing". It is about making sure you keep the long term goal in focus and make the necessary adjustments to stay on target. The plan might change, but the goal remains the same.

Mission 4 was a reminder to never give up. In life, there will be challenges/obstacles...make an assessment, make the necessary adjustments and keep moving towards your goal.

1. Do you feel you are making progress towards your longterm goals?
I do feel I am making progress towards my long term goals; however, I think I am too hard on myself. I need to celebrate my accomplishments more(really excited I completed the goals I set the previous week) and stop beating myself up...and enjoy the learning journey. Eventually, I will be able to solve people/orgs real world "pain" points.

I think the best advice I received was learn one language really good because once you learn to program, another language is just learning the different syntax. I know this helped me to narrow my focus on the longterm goals.

2. Tell us about any changes you want to make to your coding plan.
I need to carve out more time in the week to commit to coding. Sunday is my main coding day still, but during the week is hit and miss. I failed to account for building data into the database in order to work on the data visualization piece. I am using personal data, so it is not like I can obtain help to input the data for this project. I will need to add more time to my timeline to complete the overall project. I was researching how to incorporate using a message queue for sending an email, but that is being de-scoped to save some time.

Sticking to it

I have the Trello app on my phone, so when I get an idea for a project or someone else presents an issue that can be solved with coding, I will add it to my dashboard. I really appreciate the advice to revisit my task list often and prioritize.

Biggest Challenges

The hardest part for me is coming up with "real world" problems to solve with coding and finding large chunks of time to code.

The tip I would share is grow your network. I suggest finding a mentor in the industry to help you navigate the waters.

Highlights

My favorite part of this challenge was not being in it alone. I enjoyed the shared experience with all participants. Many similar struggles and victories.

Overall Reflections

I had a good experience with this cohort. I learned if you do not assign a date to a task, more than likely it will not get done. I am learning not to be too hard on myself. I feel pretty good moving forward on the coding journey.

What's next for me

I will continue to search for a solid Meetup group and I will look for projects to work on to add to my portfolio. I will definitely look to help others in my circle of influence automate or streamline any task I can for them.

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