W1 D3 Web Dev Blueprint

Today I learned more about HTML. The structural stuff. Pretty cool. I really enjoy these tutorials because the content is presented in small easily understood chunks and there are challenges along the way. I was speaking with my accountability partner, AJ, this morning. I’ve recommitted to my timetable to step away from my current role and into my ‘next thing’. This refresher is going a long way to preparing me for the transition.

Why I Decided to Learn to Code

OK, right now I’m not satisfied with my current employment situation. I haven’t been for a while and I recently realized I’ve been in my current position over 2 years. Generally, 2 years is when I’m ready to move on to my next ‘thing’. Anyway, I’ve been parked here for as long as I should be. But when I began the job search I realized I didn’t really want to do anything I’ve done before.

To figure out my next move I decided to approach things from a different angle. I asked myself what I do during my free time. Somewhere in my head there is this still small voice reminding me if I do something I enjoy it wouldn’t feel like work. In my free time, I’m on the internet. In fact I generally use any excuse to be on the internet. My husband finds my internet usage especially annoying…unless HE needs me to find something.

I’m also, in my free time, a self help junkie and a life long learner. So, I go to the internet and begin a job search only to find the majority of available jobs in my area are tech positions. All types of web developer, programmer, and web designer positions are available. But I’m not willing to go back to school. I just finished an MBA late last year.

My research revealed, web development is a ‘creative’ pursuit and I’ve been a creative my entire life. I thought I might be on to something. So I look back into my arsenal of experiences and find I already know HTML. I learned it in 2002. I’m not so well versed in CSS or JavaScript but that’s OK because I was told by John Saddington that I can learn that on my own. So I begin taking tutorials to find I might just know enough already to find a job in tech. At least that’s what the recruiter told me as she asked me to come in for an interview for a position I had not yet applied for.

The prospect of employers coming to me is extremely inviting. So, I’m officially on this journey to become a front end developer to compliment my iOS development skills. In short I decided to learn to code because I like it and the employment prospects are strong.

This Year’s Challenge Started November 1

The challenge seems to be totally different this year. It began on November 1st and I’m already overwhelmed. There is a ton of content to go through from the videos much less the implementation. I’m not really sure how to make that happen in only 30 minutes per day. It seems to me I’ll need longer because I have to watch the videos in order to take 30 minutes to implement the lessons. SMH.

It was a crazy weekend for me. I spent it out of town with the intention of helping my husband’s mother move to another state. So, I sort of missed the opening webinar for this year’s challenge. By the time I sat down to watch it I realized I’d missed the majority of it. Plus, the rest of the information was not put online until a day later. As much as I want to put my head in the game I’m not there yet.

I tried watching the replay of the webinar later the next day but I fell asleep. I was tired from the day’s activity and emotion. After fighting through the webinar replay I took a look at the Module 1 information and got overwhelmed. It turns out that portions of the webinar are also dispersed as segments of the week one content. Needless to say, I just couldn’t. I left it alone.

I got home yesterday and decided to begin watching the videos in order to take action. We’ll see. I’m taking a day or so to get back into my routine here at home then I will dive deep into the challenge.

Last year a good 3 weeks into the Challenge I began the Digital Publishing Blueprint with a goal of getting my first magazine published within the six weeks Ed Dale promised it could happen. I eventually dropped the implementation of the challenge with the intention of returning to it after I completed or at least submitted my app to Apple for approval. The product was a graphic book. I still have the information. I may complete it one day. But not before this challenge ends.

Turns out this year exactly 2 days after the Challenge began I started a Web Developer Blueprint. That is literally taking priority for me. I’m hoping to apply that same 30 minutes a day EVERYDAY approach to that blueprint. We’ll see what happens.

In any case, this, my accountability blog, is where I’ll record my progress and observations.

It’s Been a Long Time 2

Since I’ve been accountable that is. I haven’t posted since March and a lot has happened. Great news! I’ve decided to bite the bullet and formally train to become a Front End Web Developer. I signed up for the Web Developer Blueprint on Skillcrush and I can’t be more excited. The class starts Monday. The Challenge starts Thursday.

These past few weeks I’ve been making the concerted effort to teach myself HTML, CSS, & JavaScript…again. Along with Swift, X-Code, and the necessary parts of Objective-C, I’m overwhelmed. To learn the web development I turned to my favorite education site — Udemy. I figured if I could teach myself well enough to earn an MBA online I can certainly teach myself to do code. On Udemy, Rob Percival has a couple of courses to teach a full stack experience in the form of the Complete Web Development Course and The Complete iOS8 and Swift course. Part of the course is his eBook that purports to show you how to make $10,000 while learning to code.

The techniques work.

One of the first challenges is to change your mindset. The goal is to begin to think of yourself as a developer. Introduce yourself to one new person as a developer, he challenges. So, I go to Code Camp a couple days later. I walk up to one of the vendors and introduce myself as a developer. Technically, I am a mobile developer. I have an app in the app store. I’m actively working on a couple of projects and I’m teaching myself the rest, right?

Two days later I get an email from the woman I introduced myself to. Turns out she’s a recruiter. They have a position open for a mobile developer and can she set something up for me to meet with them?

Suddenly, I feel like an Impostor. OMG! Do I really know enough?

So I ignore the email and dig into my studies. I reached out to my girlfriend, AJ and share all my insecurities. She understands what I’m going through. She’s been my accountability partner for almost a year now. She’s doing the same thing.

Then the email from Skillcrush comes. They’re opening up the blueprint one last time this year. At noon the next day. I was so excited. Credibility, structure, and community at a reasonable price considering I’m still teaching this stuff to myself. I’m excited. In three months I will not be an impostor any longer. I hope.

Really Feeling Remote Desktop | ChromeBook – Not So Much.

I’m loving this remote desktop feature. I’ve been working on my skills today. I started the day by just taking a random look at Balsamiq. I don’t know why but once I got there I was hooked. I completed two tutorials. One short one on web page design then a longer tutorial on mobile app design. It is specifically about the user experience and completing a wireframe. Afterward, comes the coding part. I was so excited. I can think of at least three projects including my portfolio that must get done.

This afternoon I spend quite a bit of time going over Git and GitHub. Well an hour. It just seemed longer. I’m excited for real. After I get off the throne I’m going to break down and apply to those jobs I told the Mr. I’d apply to. Then I’m taking a really good look at 60 minutes on the Complete Web Developer course on Udemy. That one also helps you take the next step. I mean it this time. No more crapping around. I’m certainly going to get my act very much together.

I went to Best Buy to check out the Chrome books today. I had some questions and while the gentleman who helped me was no idiot he didn’t seem too confident about his answers either. So, I just walked away. I was considering getting the 11” HP Chrome Book because it has the 4G capability. Then I though heck I can just use my hot spot. I don’t need to add another line to my already exorbitant bill. Then I looked at the MAC Air again. It is really lightweight as well. Plus it is coming down in price now that they’re getting ready to announce the new ones this month. So, I’m thinking of just chilling and going with what I have for now. I was thinking anyone who hires me will supply me with a computer anyway, right? So I might as well get what I want. The cute new technology. Besides I do have a really large external hard drive. and I certainly can learn to use all the cloud based services out there. Or access my desktop remotely. Whatever it takes. I’d like to lock this at the same time though. I don’t know.

Time to get back into it. Yep, yep!

OMG! I’m Using a Remote Desktop Option to Access my Mac

I’m loving the Chrome Browser! That means I can now start to practice programming overnight using my current desktop. I can also go ahead an purchase the new chrome book for Christmas to replace this laptop. This is so very cool. I am literally over the moon right now. Can you even believe it. I wonder if I turn off my monitor off will it effect my remote desktop. Looks like no it doesn’t YIPPEE!. Now my only real challenge is that this screen is very small. I already don’t see that well. I have to figure that out. Then I believe all will be right in my world. I’m over the moon for real

I’m in full screen too. Now to see if I can get Xcode up and running. That should be a simple as this…I thought I already had a version of xCode on my system. I wonder did it update…again. Probably. This is so unbelievably cool! Wait until I tell Anika. I’m stoked right now. I’d tell her now but it’s like 1 am. I’m just happy I can make this happen. The only thing I have a problem with right this minute is how small the screen is. Meaning how small the words are. I really don’t see that well. I figured it out. Oh yeah! Now I’m cooking with grease.

To get it to full screen and with the text large enough for me to see it I had to change the viewing options on the blue tab on the top of the screen to ‘full screen’ and remove the shrink to fit option. This is the bomb. I can get so much done for real! Chrome is my new best friend.

I told The Boy this is better than getting a macbook because now I don’t have to worry about not actually using my mini which I was kind of feeling was happening. So now and once I get my Chrome book I can simply plug in whenever I want. Also, when I go to work I can simply turn on my computer in the event I decide to work on my programming skills from there. Then when I’m usually in the bed I can turn my computer off.

Now, I got this excited because I spent the day at Atlanta Code Camp 2014. And although I was tired from coming off a 12 hour overnight shift, it was amazing. Even though I didn’t get to go to the sessions I REALLY wanted because they were cancelled I got to speak to some empowering women that helped me feel really good about wanting to pursue this profession.

I can honestly say I’m an apple developer. I’ve got an account and everything, lol. I’m learning iOS, and I’ve had an app in the store for 11 months. Yet, I’ve decided to pursue the front end web development tract with a new vigor.

I am excited now. The Chrome book is so much lighter than my current laptop. The design is really cool too. I will, with a sleeve, be able to put that into my purse. So, now I’ll be looking at carrying my iPad Mini, My iPhone 5 or 6+ if I decide to go that route. And an 11” Chrome book. That one has WIFI and Verizon 4LTE for under $300. Plus the thing charges with a simple android charger. I mean it is created by Google so why wouldn’t it.

Wait a minute, Yosemite is available? I’ve got more research to do but in the short term? I’m feeling fine. Ok. enough gloat, more work!

In the immortal words of my alma mater — Let’s get to work!

Being an Introvert Doesn’t Mean I’m Shy!

I’m an introvert. But not for the reasons you think I am. I am NOT shy. Never, have I been shy. I read somewhere a while ago that an introvert is simply someone that can center themselves from inside. In other words, instead of looking outside for the catalyst for their calm an introvert can do that for themselves. I guess that is what also makes me a loner. My mother is a loner and I’m a lot like her. Some years back when my son was a baby I worked in a bank. One day the branch I worked in was robbed….at gun point. I was the senior person in the branch at that time and I actually watched the robbers walk into the branch. There was literally nothing I could do to stop it. I didn’t even have time to warn the others.

As I watched the thieves pull the shotgun from the back of their vehicle I simply surveyed the branch, noticed there were no customers present, pulled the silent alarm, then placed my hands on top of my desk. Just the week before I’d given the security briefing to rest of the staff. I told them exactly how to behave in the event of a robbery. As the thief racked his shotgun all I could think about was….I was wearing my good dress. Would I have to lay on the floor in my one interview worthy outfit?

Thankfully, it was all over quickly. The second thief walked over to the one teller I was SURE wouldn’t be able to handle herself, demanded the money, then left the branch. As I ran to lock the door the teller collapsed. But she’d done her job. She’d followed instructions and saved our lives.

A short while later, after the police arrived, and just before the counselor arrived on site we were instructed to call our families to let them know we were ok. See, the information was going to be on the news soon. They didn’t want our family members to be startled. I personally, didn’t have anyone to call. My family was 350 miles away. And, since I never heard any news from Richmond when I lived there I found it doubtful my parents would hear about the incident over the news. Instead I called the babysitter taking care of my infant son. Later, I stopped by school and told my advisor and his staff. Were it not for them I’d have no one to tell.

Before leaving for the day, the counselor stopped by the branch. We had a group discussion. One of the first questions she asked was…”Who is coming to work tomorrow?” We all were taken aback. We ALL were planning to come to work the next day. It never even occurred to me not to come to work. Later, as I discussed the incident with the assistant manager of the branch she informed me that I seem to be able to know what I need to be ok. She said everyone doesn’t.

All I needed that day was to pick up my son, hug him with all I had, and simply go home. I left all the emotions at the job. Because, after the robbers left, and the branch was secure. I walked over to that teller and thanked her. She did EVERYTHING right. She SAVED OUR LIVES. She will never know how much that meant to me although I certainly told her those exact words.

I am an introvert. For some reason I know what I need to do to be alright in any situation. I am not shy.

The Freemium Model – There is a Reason for Providing FREE Content

So I’m at word camp atlanta sitting in the workshops only to realize the word of the day is FREE. Seriously, FREE. The sponsors are giving away any and everything for free. We’re talking, t-shirts, mugs, baseball caps, stickers, drink cozies and pens. One sponsor was giving away a MacBook Air. I wonder who won that? I didn’t even ask when the drawing is although I certainly entered the contest. The speakers are giving away their knowledge to help the rest of us…for FREE. The keynote speaker talked of how he became a wealthy man before the ripe old age of 23 by giving things away for FREE. Seriously?

So I made sure to make it to the workshop discussing the Freemium Model. I wanted to know just how I could incorporate the model into my business. So, As I sat there with bated breath listening to the speaker, I curiously waited to find out the secret. Here’s the secret. Give away something, anything, lots of things for free long before you even think of approaching your customer to sell them something.

Really? So, how do you make money from giving away something for free? And if you give it away what incentive does the customer have to buy from you later? I was still curious of how this model could work. As far as I could tell I’m pouring blood sweat AND tears into content production trying to make better the lives of my audience. I’m making every effort to solve their problem; relieve their pain, or intensify their delight. What do I get out of it?

I get to gain their trust. Oh. And then I find out since every webpage has a purpose the true purpose of the freemium model is to get permission to contact them again. In exchange for the jewels of wisdom I share with my client I actually receive something quite valuable in return—their email address.

That email address is like striking goal. I gives me access and permission to contact them again on some mutually agreed upon terms. That email address gives me time to show how much I care about them and their lives. It opens the door to a possible future conversation. Maybe even, dare I say it? It opens the door to a possible future relationship.

I’m intrigued and impressed at the same time because I want all those things. I want to know my audience I want my audience to know me. I want to add value to their lives, ease their pain, and solve their problems. Prayerfully, to gain their trust. But how?

I have a fledgling magazine and two still yet to be found websites. How can I get the word out that I’m here and ready to help? Then it hits me. Those fledgling websites can provide value with powerful targeted helpful content that meets the needs of my audience. The magazine? It’s located on the Apple Newsstand. The app is FREE to download. The issues are downloadable for a small fee but subscribers can receive a free trial to check the magazine out.

I already have the foundation of the freemium model. I just didn’t know it had a name.And, now that I know it’s powerful purpose, I am no longer afraid to use it.

WordCamp Atlanta 2014

I made it. Another year of WordCamp in Atlanta has come and gone. I’m feeling overwhelmed but it was another incredible experience. Now, I have a list of things to do to put the information I learned to use.

I did more to move closer to my goals in this weekend than I have in a long time. What was really cool was to see so many women that looked like me in the developer sessions. It was also really cool to see so many self taught professionals. I will be one of them really soon. I can’t go back to school. I just can’t. So, I’m learning to code online…the same way I earned my MBA.

It’s Been A Long Time

It has been a while since I’ve posted.  Although I’ve written quite a bit about what’s been going on.  I finished and launched my own magazine.  It’s called Beautiful Natural Hair and it’s on the Apple Newsstand.  The magazine has been live for exactly one month and today I received the first of what I hope are many financial reports.  The app made a few dollars this first month out of the box.  I had a lot of downloads too.  So, now it’s time to actually market the mag in the hopes of increasing circulation.

Oh I guess I should say the magazine is a do it yourself resource for women in the process of returning their hair from a chemically altered state to its original state.  That state could be and for African American woman usually is some form of coil, curl, or kink.  It looks like this:

BNHCOVER

 I’m really excited about sharing my passion with the world.  I’m also excited to be a resource for other women on the journey I embarked almost 20 years ago.  It is so empowering to be comfortable in the skin and hair we’ve been gifted with.  There is so much more to come even.  As an interactive magazine it is filled with video demonstrations, reviews, and tutorials.  Additionally, BNH Mag gives voice to the many women literally figuring this natural thing our for themselves.  It is always empowering to see other women explore themselves.  It is equally empowering to recognize a part of ourselves in each one of them.

BNH Mag is a community and crowd sourced in a way that allows any and everyone with a technique, tip, or general advice a venue to share that information with the rest of us.  I look forward to hearing the stories of others and sharing some truths of my own.  Reach out to me.  I’m here and I certainly care.  I can be reached via email at beautifulnaturalhairmag@gmail.com and via twitter @bnhmag.