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Start Over Coder
29 minutes | Jan 19, 2021
075: The Last Episode! (Possibly 😋)
It’s the last episode! I’m sharing the biggest lessons I wish I knew when I first started learning to code, and also what’s still to come on the Start Over Coder journey. My Parting Advice 1. Set a clear goal from the beginning 2. Build actual projects 3. Work with other people from the beginning 4. Teach someone else what you know 5. What to learn? Keep it basic and go deep What’s Next for the Start Over Coder Despite this being my “parting advice,” I’m not stopping coding or actually going anywhere! Though the podcast is coming to an end, my main goals (check out episodes two and four to hear about them) are still very much in play. You can listen to the episode from about 16:15 to hear what’s coming up in the immediate future, and keep in touch for future updates by: subscribing to the podcast feed wherever you get your podcasts signing up for the SOC mailing list following me on Twitter and/or Instagram (Direct Messages are open if you want to get in touch) emailing me at startovercoder at gmail dot com Show Links: CodeNewbie podcast season 3, ep 8 - Colleen Schnettler Episode 70 — First Real Life Dev Meeting Grace Hopper Celebration freeCodeCamp This episode was originally published 7 July, 2018.
24 minutes | Jan 18, 2021
074: Ask Me Anything
In this episode I’m answering listener questions…ask me anything! The questions I answer in this episode are: What kind of laptop to you use? —Ellen What was the coding school that rejected you in episode 48? —Karl Do you think you’d ever start a new podcast, maybe focusing more on financial independence with a few updates on your coding? —Erica What life is like in general for someone living abroad? Do you ever get home sick or was it easy to meet new people? —Erica What was/has been your favorite part of living abroad? Would you like to make the move permanent or just a few years? —Erica Any podcast recommendations? I know you mentioned Second Career Devs and I’m now a big fan of that. Not even just coding ones, but what are some others you enjoy? And what made you start the podcast vs just blogging? —Erica What is your perception of the job market for entry level frontend web development jobs? —Alex It’s my current plan to build a solid portfolio and apply for jobs online, but I wonder if that route has become so competitive that it’s not a realistic way to land a job anymore. As you said, it’s so saturated on Upwork that they turned you down(?!) —Alex I know that meet-ups/networking is important, but it’s hard to prioritize that stuff since it would take up a lot of time that I could use to work on my coding skills. How do you decide how to prioritize these two aspects of the job hunting process? —Alex In pursuing financial independence, for us self supporting folk, is coding the best route? Also, is there any threshold to transition completely to a self learning or school route or just to keep at it an hour or so a day? —Krista If you had $1000 to spend, what would be your top resources? I have tried Udemy (Colt Steele and others), FCC, Learn XYZ the Hard Way, Treehouse, Udacity, community college, and am struggling with information overload… —Krista It seems that web dev, computer science, mobile, data, and security are really all their own things. Is it best to be a generalist or only focus on one? —Krista Any idea on how long to really be job ready at the hour plus a day? Is it really like Gladwell’s 10,000 hours or Norvig’s 10 years? —Krista With limited time, is it best to do tutorials/learn or just go build? —Krista This episode was originally published 26 June, 2018.
19 minutes | Jan 17, 2021
073: Discoveries! Chingu & uMatrix
This week I’m sharing 2 more awesome resources for learning to code. Chingu Chingu is a learning community that gets you working on a dev team no matter what skill level you’re at. How it works: Apply to join a team. Skill levels range from HTML/CSS beginners to building full stack apps. Your teammates can be from anywhere in the world. Once you’re accepted, get together with your team and decide what to build during the 8-week commitment. Build it! Feel accomplished with your finished product, new portfolio addition, and all the soft & hard skills you have gained. I’m excited to participate in Chingu because I learned so much during a similar group project last year. Of course your success depends entirely on the work you put into it and a bit of luck in getting committed teammates, but in my opinion the benefits far outweigh the risks, so I think it’s worth going for! To learn more about what it’s like to go through Chingu, check out their Medium publication or YouTube channel. uMatrix uMatrix is a browser extension (available on Chrome, Firefox, and Opera) that can add privacy to your browser and teach you about the modern web at the same time. Its purpose is to give you control about what you want to allow/block—things like cookies, 3rd party tracking, 3rd party anything, iframes, external scripts, etc. For a thorough description and to see uMatrix in action, check out this YouTube walk-through video. You can also take a look at some examples of uMatrix rulesets: Kristerkari’s uMatrix Recipes Gorhill’s Useful Rulesets More in the Discoveries! series: Ep 18: Learn To Code With Me Podcast & Free Lynda.com Ep 41: Coding Solo Podcast & Millennial Money Diaries Blog Ep 64: Financial Toolbelt & Second Career Devs Podcast Ep 73: Chingu & uMatrix This episode was originally published 13 June, 2018.
26 minutes | Jan 16, 2021
072: CS50 Course Review & Wrapping Up My Node/Express App
In this episode I’m wrapping up a few loose ends: the final report on my first from-scratch Node application, and a course review of Harvard’s CS50: Intro to Computer Science. NOTE: The CS50 course review starts about 9 minutes in! Node/Express App Part 3 To catch up from where we left off… Part One: 035 - New Node Express Project - First Steps Part Two: 043 - Node Express Project - Progress Report As I kept working on the project, I learned quite a bit about working with dates in programming (hint: not a straightforward endeavor!), and had a frustrating attempt at deploying on Amazon Web Services. But eventually I was able to successfully deploy the app using Heroku, and overall by the time all was said and done I had a working application that I actually still use to this day! CS50 - Intro To Computer Science Course Review CS50 is the introductory computer science course offered at Harvard University, and it’s available for anyone around the world to take for free on the EdX learning platform. It covers a lot of basic topics to build an understanding of how computers, networks, and applications work. My favorite aspects of the course were: They have an honor code which discourages people from posting their homework solutions online. As a result, when I searched or asked for help solving the problem sets, I got nudged in the right direction rather than being given the answers full out. I learned a lot more this way. The presentation is very high quality—they have an excellent media player for the weekly lectures, and lots of supplemental materials to make sure the concepts stick. Learning CS fundamentals (data structures, big O notation, HTTP, etc.) has really helped my understanding of other topics like git, Node.js, writing functions, using hex color codes, and much more. If you’re interested in taking the class, prepare yourself for a lot of work and time if you really want to make the most of it! Show Links: Episode 36: The Complete Developers Guide to MongoDB [Online Course Review] CS50 Base CS Podcast This episode was originally published 5 June, 2018.
15 minutes | Jan 15, 2021
071: First Freelance Work
Since setting a goal at the beginning of the year, I’ve made 3 attempts to get my first paid developer work. These are the big takeaways and things I’ve learned: Know when to not accept a project, even if you’re just trying to get a foot in the door. Get the site content from the client as early in the process as possible to avoid project delays. An “approved” prototype does not mean there won’t still be changes after I do a lot of coding! Working to milestones (with specific dates) and showing work at each milestone is better than sharing work in progress. I got a good handle on how much time freelance projects actually take me. When estimating how much to charge, don’t forget about the time you’ll spend on the project for things other than coding. Calls, check-ins, revisions, and training may add to the project time and you should be paid accordingly. Show Links: Upwork Episode 50 - 6-Month Goal Setting Episode 56 - Planning A New Web Project Episode 62 - Prototyping With Figma This episode was originally published 29 May, 2018.
15 minutes | Jan 14, 2021
070: Real Life Dev Meeting
This week I sat in on a status meeting with a developer team in my company. Pretty cool to see what it’s actually like to work as a developer (well, get a glimpse at least!)! I was really glad to have had access to this experience without much effort—it was just a matter of reaching out to a VP in my company and asking for an informational. Now that I know this is possible, I’ll be doing it a lot more! This episode was originally published 22 May, 2018.
17 minutes | Jan 13, 2021
069: Working The Command Line
The command line is a basic necessity for any developer and I’ve gotten fairly comfortable with it since I started learning how to code. Not sure what I’m talking about? Think back to any movie/tv show with a hacker hacking away into that black computer screen, typing green text. They are most likely using the command line (for good or evil, depending on the context!). But more to the point, the command line is how you can have direct access to your machine to carry out any system-level actions, from moving files around to executing programs, to communicating with other computers over a network. As a developer there are many use cases for working in the command line: Accessing servers (remote or local) and their logs Managing versions of code, like using git Tracing errors, crashes You can even write code in the command line …and the list goes on from there! Here are some of my favorite tips about getting comfortable working in the command line: Learn each aspect as it’s needed. Start with the basics, then learn more commands depending on the work that needs to get done. Once there’s a basic comfort level, skim the documentation for whatever command line interface (CLI) you’re using. Maybe you’ll find some good options to use in the future to improve your workflow! For commands that get repeated a lot, create aliases by editing the .bashrc and .bash_profile files on my computer (see article). This is especially helpful for chained events and for accessing deeply-nested folders that you use a lot. Take notes or bookmark sites where you learn how to use the commands that aren’t used as often. Maybe they don’t warrant a shortcut, but at least you won’t have to start from scratch if you need to look up that command again in the future. Show Links: traceroute Lifehacker - Become a Command Line Ninja With These Time-Saving Shortcuts Lifehacker - A Command Line Primer for Beginners This episode was originally published 14 May, 2018.
12 minutes | Jan 12, 2021
068: Post-Conference Review
I’m back from last week’s conference! How did I do with the goals I set out before going? Pretty well! Plus gained some tips for future conferences. Show Links: Episode 67 - Pre-Conference Prep Codeland talk links coming soon! Junior Developer Toolbox Podcast - Making the Most of Tech Conferences This episode was originally published 8 May, 2018.
15 minutes | Jan 11, 2021
067: Pre-Conference Prep
I’m heading to a coding conference in a few days! And unlike some past events I’ve been to, this time I’m doing a bit of preparatory thinking/planning to help me make the most out of attending. I’ve set 3 goals I’d like to accomplish during the two-day conference. How To Go To Conferences (Financially) Since Financial Independence is a big goal in my life (not to mention a topic of this podcast), I also wanted to share some tips/ideas about how to attend conferences without attacking the wallet too much: Ask your employer if they will pay for your ticket, or at least give you the day off as a “development day” (or whatever they want to call it without taking from your vacation days) Check for corporate sponsors who might be offering scholarships Volunteer to help at the conference in exchange for free admission. If they don’t explicitly offer this opportunity on the conference website, contact the organizers directly and ask if you can offer your services. While there, take advantage of the network of people in attendance, and definitely listen in on some presentations if you have the chance. If none of these free or discounted options are possible, and if you can afford the price of admission without making any serious sacrifices, then don’t hesitate to invest in yourself and just buy a ticket. If you’ll genuinely get value out of the experience, it’s probably worth it. Redeem travel rewards for flights & accommodations if the conference is not near where you live. I got my flight for free! Stay with family or friends if you have them wherever the conference is taking place. Look at inexpensive options to get accommodations, like Couchsurfing or shared rentals on Airbnb. If there’s a way to connect with other conference attendees ahead of time, see if there’s anyone who’s looking to split the cost of accommodations. Follow Up Addition: I did another podcast episode after attending the conference to review how it went. Check out episode 68!* This episode was originally published 1 May, 2018.
19 minutes | Jan 10, 2021
066: Documenting The Process
I was getting set to record a second ‘stumbling block’ episode when I went back to the podcast episodes I recorded last year when I first had these difficulties, and instead was reminded of the things I found helpful at that time to get out of the funk and keep making progress. The first was remembering not to beat myself up over losing momentum. Learning a new skillset is a huge undertaking and it’s bound to have times of both high and low momentum. There’s absolutely no value in reprimanding myself for slowing down for a few weeks! The second benefit was remembering what led to the stumbling block last year…turns out some of the same life events are happening now, so is it really a surprise that I might have a similar response? The third and biggest benefit helped plan a way forward from here. Since I can refer back to what I did last year (and I know how it worked out for me), I have a good sense of what might help me move forward this time around. So overall, having documented the obstacles I ran into last year really helped me get to a more optimistic outlook this time around. And as a result, I think I’ve moved past it faster! Show Links: Episode 10: Stumbling Block No 1 Episode 12: When Learning To Code Gets Overwhelming Episode 63: Overwhelming Number of Coding Intros Episode 56: Planning A New Web Project Trello 100 Days of Code Episode 51: Static Site Generators freeCodeCamp Medium article: A month ago I knew nothing about podcasting. 50,000 downloads later, here’s what I’ve learned. This episode was originally published 24 April, 2018.
15 minutes | Jan 9, 2021
065: New Computer, New Dev Setup
There’s a lot involved to get up and running with a new dev environment—it can be pretty troublesome in fact! After working on one machine for a while, it’s easy to forget (or take for granted) all of the software and helper tools you’ve installed slowly over time. But as soon as you want to get coding on a new machine, those tools are quickly appreciated! Here are some of the steps I took to be able to keep coding while traveling with a temp laptop, and what I plan to do going forward to make it easier next time around: Store coding projects on Dropbox to sync project files across the machines. No need to push/pull commits using a remote repository. Keep a list of all of the tools I use (especially in the command line). I think even the simplest of lists would be a better place to start than trying to remember all of the software I’m used to using. Check search results for “dev environment new computer” to also check lists others have come up with. Keep a copy of my command line shortcuts (.bashrc file) in a GitHub gist for easy future reference. Document! Document! Document! Any time I do a new installation on my machine, I’ll take note of how I did it and any resources that helped with the installation. This episode was originally published 17 April, 2018.
12 minutes | Jan 8, 2021
064: Discoveries! Financial Toolbelt & Second Career Devs Podcast
It’s another pair of discoveries this week! The website Financial Toolbelt has some great calculators if you want to start getting to know your personal finances. And the Second Career Devs podcast is a must for any and all Start Over Coders! Show Links: Financial Toolbelt Second Career Devs podcast More in the Discoveries! series: Ep 18: Learn To Code With Me Podcast & Free Lynda.com Ep 41: Coding Solo Podcast & Millennial Money Diaries Blog Ep 73: Chingu & uMatrix This episode was originally published 10 April, 2018.
16 minutes | Jan 7, 2021
063: Intros Intros Everywhere!
Introduction overload! There are plenty of good introductory workshops, blog posts, and articles out there. But is it too much of a good thing? Recently I’ve felt like the sheer number of articles and events have been taking away from my efforts to become a developer. In this episode I talk about the good & bad aspects of introductory resources, and some tips about how to figure out which ones are worth spending time on. This episode was originally published 3 April, 2018.
13 minutes | Jan 6, 2021
062: Prototyping with Figma
Figma is a great prototyping tool I’ve been experimenting with this week. It’s a software tool available for Mac or PC, and they also have a great web interface that allows you to collaborate on designs live (!) with other people. I’ve been using it to mock up a redesign for the Start Over Coder website, and also for a new web project I’ve started for someone else. Bottom line, I can highly recommend Figma for creating UI mockups and expect I will be using it for time to come! Show Links: Figma website Episode 56 — Planning A New Web Project YouTube Playlist — Level Up Tutorials Intro to Figma This episode was originally published 27 March, 2018.
15 minutes | Jan 5, 2021
061: React First Impressions
This week’s episode it about my first attempts at learning the React framework…it was a mixed bag but here are my first impressions: Bottom line: I don’t think I’ve hit the pain points yet that React can solve. Also, using React requires a pretty solid foundation on ES6 methods which I could use some brushing up on. There are a few more pluses and minuses I discuss in the episode, so give it a listen! And if you have any suggested resources for learning React please share 😄 Show Links: React and React Native and React VR sites Create React App Learn about other front-end frameworks and how they stack up against each other Episode 29 - The Web Developer Bootcamp course review Episode 51 - Static Site Generators Are Awesome Advanced Web Developer Bootcamp This episode was originally published 20 March, 2018.
19 minutes | Jan 4, 2021
060: It Doesn’t Actually Have To Take This Long!
It’s been a year since I started this podcast! But I’m still not earning money as a developer. Does it really have to take over a year to learn enough to become a working programmer? Short answer: no, I really don’t think so! But for me, a few things along the way have slowed down my progress. You can get the full story by listening to this episode, but to recap what I think I’d do differently to speed the transition up a bit: Set a firm date for when I’d start seeking paying jobs and STICK TO IT! My “deadline” kept being pushed farther and farther away from me. Work on a single program or curriculum that will provide you with full projects to complete and add to your portfolio. Some good examples are the freeCodeCamp certificates and Udacity nanodegree programs. Coding bootcamps are another viable option, though they can be costly. Despite my (I think) slow timeline so far, I’m still excited by what’s still to come and look forward to sharing more updates soon! This episode was originally published 13 March, 2018.
33 minutes | Jan 3, 2021
059: How I FI - Day To Day Details & Top 10 Action Points
It’s the last episode (for now!) in the How I FI series and today I’m talking about my top 10 actions for getting myself to financial independence. To recap: Know my expenses. Know my net worth. Have zero debt. Keep an emergency fund. Save before spending. Optimize big expenses. Spend wisely. Invest wisely. Get help often. Keep the long game in mind. Previous Episodes In This Series: How I FI: The Starting Point How I FI: Learning The Basics Links From This Episode: Mr. Money Mustache - The Shockingly Simple Math Behind Early Retirement Expense tracking: Banktivity Quicken Mint.com Pen & paper! The Simple Dollar - How to Calculate Net Worth Mr. Money Mustache - News Flash: Your Debt is an Emergency!! Book - The Four Pillars of Investing by William Bernstein Fee-Only Financial Advisors: National Assoc. of Personal Financial Advisors XY Planning Network Mad FIentist blog & podcast Martinis & Your Money podcast Mr. Money Mustache blog Choose FI podcast This episode was originally published 6 March, 2018.
21 minutes | Jan 2, 2021
058: How I FI - Learning The Basics
Continuing on with a favorite topic of mine—financial independence! In last week's episode I shared a bit about what my mindset around personal finances was before I discovered the concept of FI. Tl;dr: the more I earned, the more I spent, and I couldn’t imagine a reality where things would or could be different. I’m so glad I learned that there is a better way! For me, finding that better way came in three parts: 1) getting introduced to the idea & basic concepts of financial independence; 2) applying that information to figure out my current FI status; and 3) making a long term plan to actually work towards FI. Show Links & Additional Resources To Check Out: Book: The Four Pillars of Investing by William Bernstein Book: Your Money Or Your Life Bogleheads Web Forum Mad Fientist blog and podcast ChooseFI Podcast, and check out their local listings to find a meetup group near you Plain English explanation of how to achieve FI Mint online personal finance tracker Personal Capital - another online personal finance tracker (I personally like this one better) This episode was originally published 27 February, 2018.
16 minutes | Jan 1, 2021
057: How I FI - The Starting Point
Let’s talk about financial independence! Up until now I’ve shied away from talking about the FI side of this Start Over Coder project. I’ve made so many wrong moves with my own money that it’s like, who am I to talk about the subject with any kind of authority!? Not to mention the fact that I’m years away from seeing the outcomes of my actions…maybe I’m still doing it wrong. Plus it’s just a sensitive topic! But I do think one of the main reasons why it can feel so sensitive is because people don’t really talk about it, and since FI is a big part of why I started learning to code, I definitely don’t want to hold anything back about that side of things. So over the next few episodes I’ll share a bit about how I FI, what I’m doing to become financially independent. But before getting into the specifics, it might be helpful to know a bit of my background to get a sense of what led me to do all of this in the first place. Here’s a quick recap from the podcast (listen for more context!): Pretty solid upbringing with all of the basic needs (safe home, food, education) covered. At the same time I was very aware that there wasn’t extra money available for the “wants.” My “money mindset” evolved as: There isn’t enough money for everything. Whatever money there is will run out. You have to work work work to earn money in order to survive. It’s the only way. As a result, when I earned more, it meant I could afford more, so I just spent more. There was no big picture: no savings goals, no retirement plans, no money plans in general. I lived with this mindset for years and years, but eventually I realized that this outlook wasn’t working for me. In fact, I was working for it! Literally: working for the bi-weekly paycheck that I needed to keep up the lifestyle I built for myself (not exactly music to my ears). I’ll share more about what changed, and what changes I made as a result in future episodes in this series. But the biggest change was finding some goals to work towards. Financial independence means having enough income to cover all of your expenses without having to work for that income. Instead, money comes in through savings interest, investment income, businesses that generate income without your personal hours of labor…all of this is often referred to as passive income. Being financially independent gives you the freedom and flexibility to live life exactly how you want to. For me that involves a lot of travel…long-term travel ideally. And contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t necessarily mean not working! I actually really like working when it means having interesting projects, solving problems, and working with interesting, dynamic people. Reaching FI means having the freedom to work only when you find work that meets these criteria. That’s the kind of life I want! So with these goals in mind, how do you actually do it? I’ve found some ideas, and I’ll talk about them in the next few episodes. Stay tuned! Show Links: SOC Episode 2: Why Learn To Code For Financial Independence? SOC Episode 4: What is FI? This episode was originally published 20 February, 2018.
22 minutes | Dec 31, 2020
056: Planning A New Website Project
For any new web project, taking the time to PLAN before you CODE is key! Here are some key questions I asked myself before I started coding the new Start Over Coder website. It came down to 7 key questions, which I discuss in this episode. This episode was originally published 13 February, 2018.
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