another python specialization completed… now what?

This weekend I completed the University of Michigan’s newest python specialization on Coursera. It was a great followup to Python for Everybody, which was just perfect for new programmers. This newest specialization covered advanced topics like classes and working with large sets of data. My capstone involved learning image processing, facial recognition, and OCR libraries (Pillow, Tesseract, OpenCV, Kraken), and it was definitely hardest course I’ve taken on Coursera so far.

My capstone was the 30th Coursera course I’ve completed. Thinking back on the amount of course work involved in my two bachelor’s degrees (chemistry and forensic science), I think the 30-course-mark for computer science courses via Coursera is comparable to what’s required for a university BS degree.

That said, I’ve decided to suspend my Coursera subscription for now. I will be focusing on personal projects and the job I started at the beginning of the year (not in tech, but I love the work and I especially love my coworkers).

I started on my “learn tech skills to get a tech job” journey almost two years ago, and I’ve learned a hell of a lot. I’ve especially learned about tech’s diversity problem, and experienced those obstacles firsthand.

I’m not sure what’s next for jmf dot codes, but jmf dot person’s arms are tired from constantly trying to swim against the current.

Happy New Year!

I am still looking for a job, and one thing that both amuses and saddens me is that the more time passes without finding the right job, the more experience I’m getting to qualify for the right job. Ironic.

So here’s what’s new:

  • The University of Michigan and Coursera have created another fantastic Python 3 specialization, building on the Python for Everybody specialization. I’ve finished the first three courses and am waiting for the last two to open.
  • Lollipop Cloud Project is going well. We are working through some hardware issues with our board of choice, and deploying more cool stuff like Plume, a federated blogging platform.
  • I don’t do New Years resolutions, but I’ve decided to start talking more openly about being disabled, and specifically about being a disabled job seeker.
  • I’ve also decided to start posting links (perhaps weekly) that I find interesting. I don’t care for Reddit (too much bigotry and abuse), and I’m not so active on social media, but I like to save links I find interesting.

Coursera, Hacktoberfest, and site updates

After putting it on hold for awhile because I was having too much fun with Lollipop (and still am!), I finally finished the entire Google IT Support Professional Certificate, a 5-course specialization through Coursera.

I’ve also contributed a little to Debian and mUzima, after learning about (and applying to) Outreachy, which seeks to give paid internships to marginalized people looking to work with free and open source projects. It would be pretty exciting to be awarded an internship, but I met tons of great fellow applicants through this process, so the competition is pretty stiff!

Now that I’ve been getting more comfortable with Git, I was able to complete Hacktoberfest this year. If you’re new to coding and not sure if you can or should participate, here’s Quincy Larson telling you why you should and how you can get your own Hacktoberfest tshirt.

What have I learned from all of the above? I really love documentation and improving user experiences. I still love Python and I want to keep up with that, but my job hunting is shifting towards documentation and roles where coding overlaps with documentation and support.

Site housekeeping: Originally, I set up jmf.codes with WordPress because it’s what I know, and I had fun hacking and tweaking a theme I’ve used elsewhere for years (GeneratePress). But it’s far more powerful than I need, and it’s pretty resource-intensive for a few pages of mostly text. I’d like to load faster and with a smaller resource footprint, so I’ll be switching over to something else soon. (Probably Hugo, but I keep making versions I love and can’t settle on just one!) I’ll keep you posted.

My lovely friends reading this through an RSS reader should keep an eye out for an updated link once I’ve moved everything over.

short update: new course, more speed tests, and a move

Realizing I could use a little more formal education in the area of systems administration, I am about 95% finished with Coursera and Google’s System Administration and IT Infrastructure Services course. It’s been a good overview, but definitely only covers the fundamentals.

I’ve been running some more speed tests on my Lollipop setup, comparing phone tethering to a cellular modem, as well as the connection options (onboard wifi vs. separate USB dongle). Results to be published in the near future. Here’s a short Lollipop Cloud update, and for friends following along with my journey, help is always welcome in the Lollipop department!

I will be moving soon– not long distance, but to a much smaller space, so things have been a bit hectic around here… and will likely continue to be hectic for a few weeks.

Still, I vow to update this more, despite the fact that my poor old computer is plagued with this (admittedly kind of funny) MacBook Pro keyboard glitch.

#100daysofcode

It’s been a bit of a rough month. I’ve been tinkering with this Mastodon moderation bot— and as a bonus, it’s in Python, which I love and want to do more. I’m currently working locally, but when I have something nice to contribute I’ll be setting up a gitlab account.

My family recently had to say goodbye to the greatest cat I could’ve hoped for, my kitty BFF for the last 15 years. She was always so sweet when she’d sit with me while I was working: she was always careful NOT to step on the keyboard, and I’ve never known another cat who does that. She also always remembered which parts of me hurt too much to stand or lay on, and would be near me without hurting me. She was such an angel. I’ll miss you, Ginger.
An orange cat laying on a pillow, her face and front paw sticking out from under a blanket.

internet history, and moving forward

I completed Dr. Chuck Severence’s Internet History, Technology, and Security course on Coursera (verify here), and it was an outstanding overview of how we arrived where we’re at today, and helped me wrap my head around the backbone of our wired world.

My only real experience with layered architecture was a very abstract understanding of the OSI model, and this course focused on the TCP/IP. I’ve realized that network architecture is really interesting, and I’d like to learn more.

Learning more Python and becoming more comfortable with online learning environments has helped make learning more python and becoming more comfortable with online learning environments easier and more fun. There’s been a bit of a learning curve not only because this is a new format for me, but there are accessibility concerns I needed to navigate: Utilizing transcripts, bad connections, resource-intensive applications, avoiding flashing or glitchy videos, avoiding exacerbating chronic pain.

This has all renewed my interest in Free Code Camp, which wasn’t a good fit when I first tried a few months ago, but it turns out that it’s actually really awesome. My tribute page to Victor of Aveyron was a Free Code Camp assignment, and an opportunity to learn more about disability history.

changing specializations

Hello, friends and classmates! If you’ve followed me here from Coursera’s Data Management and Visualization specialization (the one through Wesleyan), I wanted to let you know that I completed the first class and decided not to pursue the rest of the specialization. I was a little disappointed with how inactive the forums are– this topic is so new to me that I admit I’m relying on my classmates (and StackOverflow) a LOT. Also I’m really loving Python– I want to run with that, and this specialization was more about the process than about the programming. If you’ve already got some programming knowledge and want to learn about stats, I do recommend it. The instructors were incredibly knowledgeable.

I switched over to the specialization in Applied Data Science with Python, and this has been a good fit so far. I’m not sure how much I will be blogging about these specific classes (not only is maintaining an assignment blog not part of the course, but due to the nature of the material, it’s against the honor code to post specific assignments).

In case I switch over to more general blogging and less educational stuff, thank you to my classmates for following along. Best of luck with your studies, and please stay in touch! And look me up if you end up over in the Python data science classes. 🙂

a short introduction.

greetings and salutations! my name is jennifer and i’m new here.

you can read a little more about my background here, but this website was created as a small sampling of what i’m working on as i embark on a new career journey. i recently completed Coursera’s Python for Everybody specialization, and i was so enamored by Python, that i jumped right into Coursera’s Data Analysis and Interpretation specialization, with the idea that it would help me merge a science background with a new love of programming.

as part of the first course on data management and visualization, i needed to create a blog where i will document my project’s progress. so here we are. let’s begin!