So today I have learned several things.

After listening to a podcast where Randy Shoup talked about hiring in the development world.  He worked for Google and now works for a game company in San Francisco.  While certainly not a secret, he talked about the google hiring process where they are very rigorous and don’t worry about missing out on potential A-grade employees because they don’t want to hire people who turn out to be the wrong fit.  They really test their applicants on their programming knowledge and then focus on where they should be placed in the company.

What it meant for me was understanding how important it is to know the fundamentals such as data structures, complexity and which languages are suited for certain tasks or problems.  These are foundational topics which I am already learning and need to continue to review.

Second, I learned a little from some previous experience doing development for my company.  I took on a project that I was expecting to lead and ended up doing all of the development for.  As I sat there looking over the design document (that someone else contributed greatly to), I was completely overwhelmed by the massive wall of code that looked unsurpassable.  But after each time looking at the code and trying to figure it out, I learned more and more until I had a pretty complete understanding of the flow and use of all the routines.

This made me realize that this is going to happen with any big project that is new to me, including transitioning into a new career.  At the moment, I’m not sure if I want to do software engineering, web development, testing/QA, etc.  But, with every conversation, every new article or podcast, and every time I sit down to code, I’ll understand it more and feel more confident in my path.

So with a little time investment, I’m sure I will figure out what I want to do and where I want to end up.

As a side note, I tried my hand at my first Project Euler problems today.  As I expected, I was able to quickly throw a java program to do the first one which was to find the sum of numbers between 1 and 1000 that were divisible by 3 and 5.  I even improved my program to go from 1600 operations down to around 500 by checking the multiples of 3 and 5 instead of going from 1 to 1000.  The next program was to sum up the even numbers in a Fibonacci sequence.  This took only a few minutes to through together.  I’m really looking forward to trying my hand at more of these and really confident in how much I can plan ahead as soon as I heard the problem prompt.
Well that’s all for today.

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Where to get started? Part 1

That seems like a great question anyone should ask if they are interested in learning Web Design and Development.

I think there are two parts to this question.

1. What do you want to learn or to be able to do? Which really is: What’s the difference between Web Design and Web Development?

In a basic sense, a web designer focuses on what the user sees when they enter a website.  The colors, the flow, the arrangement of the page.  A web designer is going to be concerned with the creative side of the site.  The web developer on the other hand is about the nuts and bolts of the site…how it works.  They think about how the design is going to be implemented and what needs to be set up behind the scenes.

In many cases, designers have background in the creative arts while developers have computer science backgrounds.  But with the wealth of information available online for free, the separation of these two disciplines is lessening.  While large projects and teams will have their defined roles, it is possible to be both a designer and developer or at least work with elements of both disciplines.  My goal at the moment is to learn parts of both to be able to create my own sites that work well from an implementation standpoint and a design perspective.

2. What is the best process or path to get started once you know what you want to learn?

More on that next time.

Every journey starts the same

A step.  This blog is a first step.  One in a direction that may change, but it is a departure from passivity and lack of direction.

The goal of this blog is to be a place where I can continue to push the line that exists between my knowledge and learning.  The good news is that the line is so close right now, as I have very little knowledge in web design or development.  I plan on using this blog to push myself further into the field and to solidify what I know.

There are thousands of free HTML/CSS tutorials that are easy to follow and understand.  But often, I don’t feel like my newly gained knowledge is reinforced before I move on to a more complicated topic or another one altogether.  It sounds like the logical progress is HTML > CSS > Javasscript and then on to a backend language to handle more complicated tasks on a website server.  So this blog will help me reinforce what I learn, but teaching it to others (even if no one is looking).

if you are reading this, thank you for coming and enjoy the ride.