My New Habits for 2015: A [not so] Quick Update

Writer’s Note:  I wrote this at the beginning of 2015 in January.  It is now October and much has changed.  I provided a few updates below.

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Hello all,

Hope your holiday vacation was lovely and drama-free.  Welcome back to Our Code!

It’s January, and in one month, this site will be exactly 1 year old! I’ve been reflecting on everything I learned in 2014 and can officially say that I had a pretty great novice year.  From a practical standpoint, I learned python extensively, responsive web design for mobile, using APIs to automate content, and git.  My courses I finished this past Fall semester taught me about Big O notation, algorithms, bitwise operations, programming in C (intro) and linux foundations.

Outside of my academic education, I also learned a lot about myself.  Knowing python and seeing how it fits in overall LAMP stack development has made me more dedicated to it as my main programming language.  I feel more comfortable moving on from a novice approach of soaking up as much information as I can, to actually developing my own projects and seeking an internship.  With that said, I’m not inclined to set new goals for 2015 as I am to develop new habits for producing actual work. While I feel I will forever be a student, it’s time to get my hands dirty and create some projects I can be proud of.

I’m making 2015 my year of production focusing on 3 areas: my brand/portfolio, open source project contributions, and mvp creation.  I finally joined github and hope to try to contribute as much as I can as a newbie without stepping on any toes.  In addition to github, I’ve been browsing OpenHatch to find open source companies I can work with.  I installed django and MySQL db so I can get my python-based apps on the web.  To top it off, I ordered my own raspberry pi (which should be arriving soon), and have a set of tutorials to work through in my effort to use it as a processor.

Now that the foundation has been set, here are a few of my new monthly habits I’m establishing for this year:

1.  Creating at least 2 Django apps per month.  Now that I know how to use Django, I need to actually do something with it.  I had some problems syncing MySQL db to the last couple apps I tried to create, but I’m finding out ways to work around that (like doing it manually using the GUI instead of relying on working via cmd).

(Update: Incomplete. Didn’t have much success with Django.  My frustration in meeting this goal led to me taking interest in the lesser known Web2Py framework which has a GUI and Flask)

2.  Attending meetups in my area. I want to meet other coders and python enthusiasts. No better way than to go to meetups and hackathons. I found out that there is a local chapter of Code Until Dawn which hosts an event every month. I’ve already RSVPed for the next event in February.

(Update: Done. I now attend a tech meetup every month when I’m in Chicago, and I’ve participated in 2 hackathons since this post)

3.  Committing on GitHub. I found two projects in particular that I feel is newbie-friendly enough for me to actually commit, still doubt rings around my head constantly when visiting the project pages. Diving in is the hard part.

(Update: Done. Though I’ve committed to those two different projects now, my GitHub activity is seriously lacking.  This is because I tend to not upload my projects publicly and have a problem sharing my work. I’m slowly and surely getting over that)

4.  Working on my “brand”.  I honestly hate that word, but I don’t know any other way to describe the need for me to get my face out there while still *aspiring*.  As of last weekend, I’ve been enlisted as a writer for The Coder Factory which I’m very excited about.  In order for Our Code‘s audience to grow, its founder (me) has to grow professionally.

(Update: Done. The Coder Factory has published my series covering my first hackathon. Unfortunately, I decided to end my contributions to the site due to the company’s mismanagement of the posts I submitted)

There are other considerations listed below I have in mind in terms of long-term planning.  There’s nothing I can do at the moment to knock these out, but I’m always looking for ways to get them done nonetheless.

PyCon2015. I definitely want to go, but it’s in Montreal this year, which is out of the country making the trip 2x more expensive for me.  I estimated that without a scholarship, it will cost me around $1460 (USD) to attend, including airfare, lodging, meals, and tickets to the week’s worth of events.  Because of this, my attendance is not set in stone (scholarship pending).  I’ve looked into other events, such as attending PyTennessee instead, as low-cost alternatives if I have to miss it again.  Nonetheless, attending a pycon is on my to-do list, and perhaps I’ll figure out a way to make the Montreal trip happen.

(Update: Pending. PyCon is back in the U.S. and I’m going to the event in Portland. See you there!)

Moving Our Code Wiki in-house.  I actually could have done this when I created the site, except that (1) I had no clue where I was going with this site back then, (2) I am already dedicated to redesigning the site myself (as a portfolio project), and (3) I have this dream of creating the wiki myself using django (possible, but will cause plenty of headaches). Until I decide, Our Code and the Wiki will remain at two separate addresses. Sorry…

(Update: Done. Our Code Wiki is now Our Guides which will be moved in house by the end of this week. The Wiki will still be available until this project is complete)

Enough about me, I want to here from the readers.  If you have a new goal habit that you are creating in moving forward this year, you’re more than welcome to share in the comments below.  Of course, if learning to code is your New Year’s Resolution for 2015, Our Code Wiki is here to help.