Month 1:  Thoughts

Month 1: Thoughts

    The honeymoon period for coding is officially over!  No longer am I learning about variables and

strings ( I miss those days ) but now I have to start using my brain and putting concepts together and it is

really really HARD!  I try to keep telling myself that Django isn’t that hard.  To simplify it in my own

mind I try to think of it as simply putting a website together that utilizes databases and api’s.  How hard

can that be?  Well I wish it were that simple and I think once I get more experienced that it will be, but

for now I have to trudge through the dark and muddy forest of web frameworks. Since I’ve been  getting

frustrated with my ability to learn web development I’ve been thinking about why I am even attempting

to learn web development in the first place?  Why am I torturing myself to learn these new skills when I

was a pro at my last job. I was really really good at what I did.  Why would I give that up?  I’ve been

asking myself this a lot, this last week.  Here is what I came up with:

1) I see a need to empower individuals who are interested in all things tech but for one

reason or another have never given it a shot.  For as much as I complain and as little experience

as I have I REALLY DO THINK CODING IS FUN.  I think everyone should be given the opportunity

to see that it is FUN.  Situations that have prevented me from seeing the joy in learning these skills have

been uber experienced tech professionals that have a difficult time relating to beginners. To beginners (

and me ) it is super intimidating. I’ve had to realize that tech professionals are just that, they are tech

professionals.  They aren’t paid for being great communicators or teachers they are paid to solve coding

problems extremely well.  So what my goal is with learning development is being able to BRIDGE THIS

GAP WITH BEGINNERS.  I know what its like.  I’ve been there. I know how scary it is to use your

terminal the first couple of times, changing in and out of directories. I know how much anxiety is

involved with learning Github. I know how overwhelming it is to look at job postings and think you won’t

ever be able to learn all the necessary skills to be a developer, I get it.  I want to be a tech ambassador.

 Obviously I’m not going to know everything, I’m still a student, but I have the skills to articulate it to you

in a way you will understand and be able relate to relate to.

2) I’ve always had a desire to learn to code but had this idea ( I wonder why??? ) only super

smart nerds did it.  As much as a miss my job some days and want to go back I know I wouldn’t be

happy there forever.  I would always be wondering if I’m making the most of my existence when I have

the potential to do so much more with it. Learning to code has helped me to appreciate the talents I

naturally have and realize how valuable they will be in my future profession. It also helps me to know

that I’m doing all I can to make the most out of my life this planet.

3)  I’ve always admired technical people and have always secretly wanted to be one of

them.  Who doesn’t want to secretly be a hacker?  Enough said.

4) I want to be an example and pioneer for those individuals who don’t fit the highly

educated technical mold.  I want to prove to the world that anyone who strives to  can learn to code

and be successful. In my opinion as well as others ( Katrina Owens, look her up ) Learning to code is a

skill that can be learned.  You don’t have to have an innate ability to do it

These reason are what keep me going.  They help me to remember that I’m not just doing it to have a

sweet job and make a sick money. I’m doing it because I believe I can make a difference with these skills

and live a truly authentic life.


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Coding Campus : Week 4

Day 15

Friday was a very stressful day for me. I know it seems like every day is a stressful and hard day which is probably true but Friday was especially hard. I would consider it my first meltdown of the program. What made it so difficult? I’m at the point in the bootcamp where we are learning so much that I want to be able to learn faster and I mentally can’t do it. You can only learn at the speed you can learn. Basically my desire to learn is starting to out way my ability to pick up subject matter in the way that I want to. To make matters worse. There are two students in my class that are very experienced in computer science and comparing my ability to theirs is not very fair of me to do but obviously I find myself doing it. I talked to my teacher about it and he was very encouraging. He reminded me that these two students are very experienced. For someone who hasn’t been doing computer science/ web development for a a while I’m actually doing very well. I’m exactly where I should be with learning the material and I shouldn’t be worrying about it. He also told me that I have an innate ability to debug. Which doesn’t surprise me because I kinda had the suspicion I was good at it, but it is nice to have someone see it for themselves and validate you.

I’ve also noticed that I’ve been procrastinating when it comes to working on projects. I know exactly why too. Who wants to spend 90% of their time trying to figure out why something isn’t working and 10% of the time actually doing something about it. However I just have to suck it up because girl, this is the world of programming. This is what it is all about. Don’t fight the way it is, you can’t change it. No matter how proactive you are with making sure your code is right, something will go wrong. No amount of over engineering and paying attention to detail will make things run smoother.  This sounds completely ludicrous to me but I know it’s true. You just have to plug things in, run it, and fix it. I think the sooner I accept this, the easier things will be.

It reminds me of when I was working at OneExchange for the first time and I wanted to see if there was a faster more efficient way to complete applications. The process was long and frustrating but you had to do it and you had to do it right. You know what happened though, as I got better and the process started to change I became more efficient at completing the applications. The way I did them didn’t change much but I knew what was important to focus on verses what wasn’t. I think the same thing will happen with coding once I become more experienced and have the process down. I will know what to focus on and what I can breeze through.

Day 18

Wednesdays are my longest day!!! I get to class around 9am and I don’t leave until after 630-7. Then I had a python meetup that I attended and that lasted till about 830. I finally got home around 915.

( Oct 23rd, 2015 )



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Coding Campus: Days 11-14


This week we have been working on another project called the “Cereal Project.” Its basically the same thing as the Django States project where you utilize a csv file and upload it to your database and then pull information from it based on what you want to see on your website. I can say I’m not having as much anxiety about databases as I was two weeks ago but I still feel like I need training wheels ( aka T.A. help ).

This week we have been spent time on deployment, requests, and scraping. Here is a little recap for you:


1) Deployment: Unfortunately everything you may or may have not heard about learning deployment is true. It sucks!!! My experience may be a little worse because the hosting company we were using was having a freakout about all of us using the same ip addresses and trying to connect to their servers at the same time. In the end it all worked out and we were able to proceed with deploymentI’m about 98% of the way deployed now. I can use my domain name and see the website I’ve created but only with manually typing in certain views. So hopefully in the next day or two I can get if fully deployed.

2) Requests: That is what we worked on today. I thought it was pretty cool. I have a few app ideas that would involve using an API so it was something I was interested in learning. We used a music API that we could get data from and then we imported it to our database and proceeded with building a web application. A lot of what we did was a review, but utilizing the API was new.

3)Scraping: Urllib2 and LXML. In short scraping is where you can go to a website and manually “scrape” data off of the webpage. Its an involved process where you are finding the xpath and then inputting it into the webpage you are building. I wasn’t super involved in this lesson because I was behind on my other projects. It is definitely something I will need to go back and review when I can.

That is all for now. More to come tomorrow 🙂


( Oct 15th, 2015 )



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Coding Campus : END OF WEEK

Coding Campus :  END OF WEEK

-Day 9-

Thursday was more of the same.  We spent time working on our project as well as diving deep into templating.  Django has what is called a templating language.  This language is to be used in conjunction with the HTML pages you create.  What it does is allow you to pull information from say your “” into a regular HTML formatted page.  It also allows you to load static files like CSS and Bootstrap as well as your base.html page. Its really not that tricky to do.  Basically if you want to incorporate a variable you would type this {{ variable }}.  If you want to make comments you and for loops you do this: {%comment %} stuff in between {% endcomment %}; {% for this in that %}what you are looping through {% endfor %}. 

 By the end of the day I was pretty worn out.  Went to bed earlier than normal 🙂

-Day 10-

I’ve officially been in @ Coding Campus for two weeks now.  Only ten more weeks to go!  I can’t believe how fast the second week went.

Today we continued working on our first Django  project.  I finally got to a point the in the project where I had all my views and urls organized and grouped in a clear readable way.  It’s made the project a little bit easier to deal with. I’m to the point know where my html pages are linking together with one another and showing information to the user.  That’s been the fun part. Seeing it all come together.  I’m still struggling with the concept of for for Loops and how they connect to the context variable in the  I can tell you what the for loop does when it’s already there and what information it’s looking for but when I go to do it on my own or make changes to my project, it is still obvious I’m not sure on what I’m doing based on the results I’m getting in my browser. That’s the frustrating part.  I feel like I keep beating my head against the wall over and over again. On the bright side I’ve noticed this week that my abilities to fix errors has improved greatly  That has been confidence builder for me.

Besides the project we were working on, our teacher showed us how to do injection tests which are little hacker moves that you can use to exploit someone else’s website or to test your own to make sure it is secure. I didn’t get to try it on my own due to the fact I was really focusing on my project but it looked like a fun thing to try later.  Later in the day we had a presentation on GIT (  a version control system ). Honestly I didn’t pay attention because I’m already familiar with Git and Github.  I’m able to clone other’s projects and submit my own to Github, so I feel competent in that area.

Monday will be here sooner than you think…Until then…..


( Oct 10th, 2015 )


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Coding Campus : Days 7 – 8

 Coding Campus :   DAY 7 &  8



~ My Class Members: ~


    I’m really excited about how our class is coming together.  We are gellin like felons.  Its great.  I get to ride the train everyday and discuss our class with a cool dude from Virginia who is 23 and graduated with an Economics degree. Our TA also rides the train with us too. My class buddy is a happily married 40 year old who has been working in the automotive industry and was once an EMT ( we totally have the healthcare connection ).  The two smarties of the class are a guy and girl.  Coincidently they are the youngest in the class. The guy is, a 20 year old returned missionary who has a talent for computer science and the girl is an 18 year old who just graduated from high school ( wooooa!!! I know right ).  That leaves us with the the former Physics teacher with a degree in electrical engineering who is making a career pivot. Last but not least the musician who graduated with a music degree and is pursuing development to make a good chunk of change to help support his new family.  He has a one year old daughter named Mae.  So we are definitely a class of various backgrounds and experiences.  I’ve gotten to know each one and I’m happy that we are all in this together.  I think we will be a great team.

~ Class ~

    So we’ve been working on a project ( as you know ) called “Django States” and today we learned about templating and attempted to implementing our new understanding into this project.  Templating is where you work on the HTML/CSS aspect of the app as well as incorporate the database you are working from. The first half of class was another frustrating experience. I really felt like I wanted to quit.  The feeling only lasted for about half an hour and subsided when I realized that if I went home I would still be motivated to work on development projects of my own. That helped snap me out of it. As far as the teaching goes I’m a little frustrated with the teaching style.  It’s fast paced and I feel like we are expected code as fast as our teacher which is impossible because he’s a PRO and we are mere guppies in the ocean that is development. So far it has been a nightmare trying to follow along.  Luckily Coding Campus really cares about their students and asks for lots of feedback on what they can do to make our experience as students better.  Everyday after class we have a survey that we are required to fill out to document our experience for the day.


That’s it for today…..until tomorrow!


( Oct 8th, 2015 )



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Coding Campus : Day 6



I learned a very valuable lesson today. DO NOT. I repeat. DO NOT update your Mac with the new os update. I made that mistake last night. After quiet deliberation in a moment of rebellion I decided to go for it and download El Capitan. What consequences would there be? Surley the folks at Apple would have a developers back since we have all invested in macs. WRONG! I got to class and started typing away on my terminal only to realize, I couldn’t configure the database for my new project. Uh OH! Prior to that I had spent the greater part of the morning struggling to even get my project going.

These are the steps you have to take before you can even start coding. Honestly, you would think the process would be a lot faster. Its not.


  1. mkproject project_name ( set’s up your virtual enivironment unless you updated El Capitan )
    • pip install django
    • pip install msql-python
    • pip install pillow ( Have no idea what ‘pillow’ is )
  2. django-admin startproject projectname . ( the dot is debatable)
  3. mv project project2
  4. ./ startapp main
  5. mv * ..
  6. rm project2
  7. Make static and media files
  8. Configure
  • Update your DATABASES dictionary
  • Add new application to INSTALLED APPS dictionary
  • Tell Django where it can find your static and media files

9. Add the special path to

Now you can finally start your project……


The teacher spent a considerable amount of time fixing my macbook pro. It sucked! It took me forever to get the database configured for the new project we are working on. I was extremely frustrated. Frustrated to the point of tears. We spent the rest of class working on the project and I ended up spending most of the time debugging. Today was not my favorite day. I also realized that joining the tech field as a “normal” non-techie person is going to be more challenging than I had thought. But that’s a rant for another day.

Thank the gods that be that tomorrow is another day!



( Oct 5th, 2015 )

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