Note: Today is Day 9 of my 30 day blog challenge. If you want to get my random thoughts about random stuff in your inbox, you can subscribe at the bottom of any post or mash the RSS button if that’s how you roll.
So today I decided to put out a call for random questions and then answer them here. So here we go:
@kronda How's the weather in Portland? *waving hi*
— Nneka (@Nneka) July 23, 2013
Hi Nneka! The weather is lovely. For the past week or so, the mornings have been starting out cool and cloudy. Jess is a little bummed because she likes to wake up to sun, and I would too, but the upside is that the high temperatures have been in the low 80’s which is just perfect, as far as I’m concerned.
Summer is kind of a big deal because we basically spend up to nine or ten months covered in clouds. We were lucky to have a decently dry spring this year which was awesome for morale. Sometimes I get through my winter depression only to go right into spring depression as two months of rain sets in. I know this is probably because of global warming and we’re eventually going to kill the planet and everything on it, but sometimes I just have to take the short view and enjoy putting my rain gear away early.
@kronda What do you think would have helped you become a web developer straight out of school-instead of later? What can schools do better?
— Fawn Livingston-Gray (@fawnapril) July 23, 2013
I was originally a little confused by this question, because I took ‘school’ to mean ‘college’ and in fact, I was hired by the company I interned with in my senior year. But Fawn actually meant school as in K-12.
So the short answer is, it would have helped me to become a developer right out of high school if the Internet had existed. I graduated from high school in 1989.1 I do remember taking a class that involved programming in middle school, but the Internet basically didn’t exist at that point and certainly not the profession of web development.
We got a home computer that had Internet in 1996 and I remember fighting for the phone line until we got a dedicated one for the computer.2
So let me pretend I’m 20 for a minute and rethink the question. Also, I’ll preface by saying I don’t have kids, so I really have no idea what current schooling is like for the K-12 set. But I definitely think that younger is better in terms of starting to introduce the concepts of programming, but more importantly, the idea that you can be the person who makes Angry Birds, not just the person who plays it.
More than just coding skill, I think introducing kids to programming early will help teach them how to think about hard problems, and how to learn on their own. But since many schools are just machines designed to turn out little test-takers and rule followers, I’m not sure how quickly they might get on board the programming train.
Thank goodness for Kimberly Bryant, who has almost single-handedly started a revolution in the tech industry with Black Girls Code, which teaches programming and app development to girls age 7-17. If enough kids found out through some channel be it Black Girl’s Code or Girl Scouts (also forming a merit badge type program for programming), or just an awesome mentor, the schools might eventually catch on that this is something they should get in on.
@kronda What internal obstacles did you overcome to make the decision to switch career paths?
— Joshua Blount (@stickwithjosh) July 23, 2013
I am not a person who naturally seeks out change. When I decided to switch careers I was working for a couple of intolerable and shady bosses, but didn’t really have a next move planned. I had a meeting with the web developer who was working for as a freelancer and it was pretty much the lightbulb moment. Once I saw the way out, there were no internal obstacles. I didn’t see it as a particularly risky choice, and in fact, it was the first time I’d found anything resembling a ‘career’ that I was actually excited to pursue.
It wasn’t until I was halfway through school that I started to ponder what a white male dominated field I was entering, and the mental health implications of that. If anything, I think there will be more internal obstacles to staying in this field unless we grow up and start being nicer to each other.
@kronda What is your 5 year plan? Business and personal.
— Jessica (@pdxj) July 23, 2013
Sigh. Maybe I shouldn’t have told my wife about this post idea until it was complete. (Just kidding honey). You know when you’re in elementary or high school and they ask you ‘where do you see yourself in 10 years?’ I hated that question. I’ve never liked long term planning, and I was always jealous of those kids who seemed to know their entire mission in life from the time they were five. I wanted to smack those kids. But I did say ask me anything so…
- Build a base of delighted clients who continually refer new work
- Create a product that provides passive income
- Get paid for writing (blogging, e-book, or dead-tree book)
- Continue speaking at conferences and give a keynote speech
- Continue to mentor new-comers to the tech profession
- Continue to advocate for greater diversity in the tech industry
- Bring Black Girls Code to Portland
Notable things NOT on the list: growth in the form of hiring employees or creating a product that gets bought out by (insert mega-corporation here). In tech, there’s a prevalent startup culture mentality that says you have to want to grow your business and take over the world, but I’m really just interested in making enough money to enjoy life, travel, volunteer and save for the future. Taking over the world sounds stressful.
- Get and stay healthy
- Return to riding my road and mountain bikes on a regular basis
- Move to a new house where none of the neighbor’s smoke and maybe we can cool down our house in the summer without stinking up the whole place
- Get rid of most of my stuff
- Stop buying so much new stuff
- Bike across the U.S.
- Get a dog. 3
- Spend at least one month each year away from Portland
- Get a custom tailored bubble wrap suit for my wife so she will stop injuring herself. 🙂
- Take another vacation on some other continent
- Organize all my digital photos
@kronda Why would one choose Drupal over WordPress?
— Jeremy Pair (@jeremypair) July 24, 2013
Jeremy got this one in at last call. Good question Jeremy. I actually talk a bit about this in my comment on this post. It’s late so I’m going to bullet point this one too:
- You have an enterprise level site and need to be able to implement highly customized features
- You need intricate management of user roles and permissions
- You have a budget to match your desires for customization (min $30k – $200k +)
- Your regular developer is really great at Drupal and you don’t care either way
- That dev is willing and able to customize the admin experience to make it easy to manage the day to day care and feeding of your site
- You’re tech savvy enough to manage the administration and maintenance of a Drupal site or you’re willing to pay someone who is.
Thanks to everyone who played along! If you’re said you missed out, it’s not too late! Just leave a question in comments and the fun can continue.