Graduated!

Jun. 19th, 2017 04:52 pm
jennil: (Default)
(Cross-posted from my Blogspot blog. . .)



I graduated!!! And with High Honors, at that. So very exciting! I'm now in the middle of a couple of months break between careers, as I fill in what I feel were gaps in my education with online classes, as well as spend some time seeing friends and family I have not seen in a while due to putting full-time-work-plus-school on top for the past four years. I even have a costume adventure coming up: Jane Austen Fest in Louisville!



But first, I want to share this dress that I made for my graduation. I had stumbled onto this cool fabric that has a green and silver binary print on a black ground. My school colors are green and white, and my degree is programming/computer science, so how perfect is this?!? I also love that the print is very small, so it's not too tacky. Just the right amount of themed fun! (And, bonus puffy kitty tail!)







I decided I just wanted a very simple sleeveless dress, both because I was concerned about overheating, what with wearing a polyester robe in June, and because I want to be able to wear it in my everyday life post-graduation. I decided to go with Simplicity 1652, which is a princess-seamed dress from the "Amazing Fit" line, which means the pattern pieces are already adjusted for various cup sizes. Unfortunately, the cup sizes weren't quite large enough for me. Fortunately, I finally got over my fear of the dreaded FBA! In the end, I don't know why I was so afraid of it. It's ridiculously simple, and worked out right on the first try!







After that, making the dress was a piece of cake. Of course, I was down to the wire with it, doing most of the construction the day before, with some last minute touches (including remembering I had to have a pocket, so unpicking the skirt side seam and putting one in!) the morning of. But being me, I still managed to line it, of course! I chose a bright green, because colorful linings are fun!















After graduation, Glenn suggested we "go out to eat" but when I got home, I discovered that a big surprise party had been put together for me! It included a fabulous cake that looked like a circuit board!







Also, there were lots of funny, cute decorations that my Mom put together, like these little silverware pockets!







The award for best gift-wrap job goes to Sydney. She even got the tassel color right!







It was such a perfect day. Thank you to everyone who made it a special, memorable day for me!






jennil: (Default)
Well guys, this is an exciting day for me. . . It's my last day at my miserable job!!! No more having three hours of commute for each day I have to be in the office, no more being treated like I have no skills or use, no more being bored all day long because the boss won't let me have any work, and best of all, no more having everyone be mean to me, and for example, answer my friendly "good morning!" with a silent glare. OMG I've never been so happy to leave a job in my life. Good riddance!!! But of course, everything in life is worth it for some reason, and in this case, having a job that allowed two days of work-from-home per week and a decent paycheck meant I got to go to college. So, no regrets, but I am so incredibly thankful that this chapter of my life is over!!!

And now, I am SO EXCITED to be a programmer!!!!! However, I've decided that - unless I stumble upon the perfect job in the meantime - I'm going to take the next few months off. I've been doing 2-3 classes on top of full time work for four years now, and made lots of sacrifices and missed out on things, and I think I deserve a break! But by "break," what I really mean is that I'm going to spend the bulk of every day studying like mad to learn anything and everything I think I need that didn't get covered in school. For example, I learned Python in school, but not how to apply it to web development. In fact, we didn't do much at all with web development, and that's what I'd really love to focus on! So a while back, I started slowly teaching myself all the things I'd need, and over the past month or so, I've been picking up the pace. So far, I've been teaching myself JavaScript, jQuery, Ajax, SQL, PHP, and even a bit of how to use Python with the Django framework. So now, I've got a pretty good base in these things, so I'm just practicing applying it all! I started out building the simplest little test runs but now my little test web sites are getting fancier and more fun, and it's all so very exciting!

So, for the next few months, I'm going to treat building web sites (and learning anything I need to along the way) as my full-time job. (Who knows, maybe I could even get my own little business going and not have to worry about getting a stuffy job somewhere! Wouldn't that be awesome?) And in my free time outside of "work," I'm going to get the last few downsizing/organizing projects in my house done, restore my weaving loom, spend time playing dress up with friends (especially pumped to see beloved old friends at JA Fest in July!) and, of course, sewing all the things (seriously, you can't even imagine how many works in progress I'm bouncing between right now, and I'm so excited about all of them)! Oh, and working on my dollhouse projects. And getting my new ball-jointed doll's face-up and outfit finished. And spending some time with my family. . .

Basically, I will not be bored. In fact, I'm never bored. I always have the opposite problem, of there never being enough time to do all the things I want to do!
jennil: (Default)
Fair warning: This post will have nothing to do with sewing. It's 100% computer nerding. But, I had a moment today, and I had to share it with someone, or at least document it somewhere, because it was a triumphant!

As school is coming to a close, and my job as well, I've been started to get super stressed out about my career future. I obviously want a job in programming, but the thing is, I felt like school did not prepare me for even the crappiest of programming jobs. I'd looked at job postings before, but always become overwhelmed because I felt like everybody wants 10 years of experience and knowledge of languages/frameworks/etc. some of which I've never even heard of! I did learn a good handful of languages, but no frameworks, never applied to web development (what I want to do), and definitely didn't learn all the languages I'd need for anything! So, I've been feeling like there's this huge gap between graduation and employability, and wondering if I was going to end up in another crap job like the one I have - or perhaps even worse! Which, of course, led me to begin questioning if school had been worth that. All that money, all that time, all that sacrifice. . .

Well, today I sat down and combed through a huge number of job postings, analyzing what was being asked for and for what different job titles, and what I distilled from this was that the gap I felt existed between my current knowledge and what I'd need for a job was actually not all the great. In fact, to become a front-end developer, I was missing only JavaScript, and to become a full-stack developer, if I focused on Python/Django, I needed only experience actually applying Python to web sites, and JavaScript again. (Of course, I'm not talking about readiness for a senior level position, but rather, what I'd need to feel like I could shoot for an entry-level job). Since JavaScript was the common theme, I decided to focus on that.

The funny thing about JavaScript is that, back when I started learning to make web sites (so, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and there was only HTML, because CSS hadn't been invented yet), I remember hearing about JavaScript and how it was for computer geniuses. Everywhere I turned, I was being warned about how hard and scary JS is, and that I should just find existing code and copy/paste it if there was a JS feature I wanted. I remember looking up some JS code and thinking, they are right, this is jibberish and I would never be able to learn this at all!

Fast forward to today. . . I learned the basics of JavaScript in under 30 minutes!!! I'm not kidding you. I literally burned through the tutorial videos on super fast speed, skipping chunks of it, and completely nailed the test at the end because that's all it took. It was a complete cakewalk. I was dumbfounded. I mean, I'd always heard that once you learn one of the heavy hitters like Java, other languages would likely be pretty easy to grasp. I definitely think that each new language I learned in school was a bit less painful than the one before it, but being in a college class environment means your pace is controlled by the dates on the syllabus, so I hadn't experimented with learning a language at my own pace since starting school (excepting upgrading to HTML5/CSS3, which doesn't count). So, the revelation of how far I have come since that first day in Intro to Software Design & Development was eye-opening! (I will note, however, that JavaScript had a similar feel to me that Java did, and some syntax was actually identical. This is hilarious because the two languages have nothing to do with each other, except for happening to have a similarity in their name!)

Anyhow, long story short, I am no longer questioning if school was worth it; it unquestionably was worth every struggle, tear, and dollar! And, although I need to get a feel for applying my newly attained JS knowledge, and there are still lots of other things I want and need to learn to become a better web developer and be more desirable to would-be employers, I feel like I'm ready to start applying. I feel like I finally have enough foundation in the right things to be able to say, I'm definitely entry-level, but I can definitely do this - and have total confidence in saying that! And in general, I have confidence. Today is the first day I have ever been able to truthfully say that about myself and programming.

So, today was a red-letter day. How shall I celebrate? Why, by staying up with the owls, and applying my newly-acquired JavaScript skills, of course!

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