They’re Gone…

After dropping off my boys this morning, I figured that it would be a good idea to stop by my classroom at the Software Guild to get some stuff to work on at home.  It’s my classroom after all, my home away from home.  Now that I can work from home the next few weeks, I should be fine going in there to get what I need.  After all, if it feels like home, I should be comfortable in there.

My classroom at The Software Guild

But as soon as I stepped into my classroom, tears welled up in my eyes. Nothing could’ve prepared me for the surge of emotions that hit me.  It’s overwhelming, and I felt extremely vulnerable, which is probably why I went it alone.  It’s times like those where I both need my support network and shy away from them to try to deal with my feelings on my own.

Missing Routine

As I stepped in the classroom and looked around, I realized that I missed them and the routines we had.  I miss the daily standup, learning what they’re working on and how to better serve them.  I miss the conversations we’d have as the day was getting started – whether they were the warmup exercises or just general chatter before our lectures conversations.  I miss the morning conversations about the various topics in programming – from variables/loops to inheritance to dependency injection.  I miss watching my apprentices work on their labs and even on their side projects – to see how they applied the concepts from the classroom to their own interests.  Most of all, though, I miss the people – they were such a talented and diverse bunch.

Moving On

While a part of me is missing the routines of the classroom, a part of me is excited.  The missing apprentices are no longer just apprentices – they are alumni.  They survived the 12-week coding bootcamp and are off to do great things.  Some of mine are returning to classrooms of their own, working on their degrees.  Some are out looking for places to live, as they are moving on to new jobs, away from their homes.  Some already have places and are eagerly awaiting their start dates for their new jobs, the new life ahead.  Knowing this, I’m excited to see them grow in their careers and look forward to their adventures.

Conclusion

This morning’s return to the classroom was definitely unexpected for me – I didn’t expect to be overwhelmed like this.  From curiosity to sarcasm, ambitions to frustrations to break-through moments… I miss it all.  At the same time, I’m excited to know that I have given them the skills to do great things in the world.   This was my first group as an instructor, so they will forever hold a special place in my life.

Have no fear – my next group starts in mid-September!  To new adventures…

Adventures Ahead!

Yesterday was a milestone day for me – I ended yet another cohort at The Software Guild.  This cohort, though, is more of a milestone for me because it was my first full 12-week coding bootcamp cohort as an instructor.  That’s right – I am back to work full-time, teaching at The Software Guild in their Akron, OH location.  I am proud of those who have graduated, and I look forward to their adventures ahead.

My next group starts in mid-September, and while I have a lot of work obligations to get done, I also will have a little more time to explore my own interests.  So what’s on my plate?  What are the adventures ahead?

Looking at .NET Core on Linux

I’ve been a fan of Microsoft’s technologies on non-Microsoft platforms for a long time now.  After all, I did speak about running IronPython on Linux back in 2009 at PyCon in Chicago.  Hearing so much about .NET Core from friends in the community, I am excited to see what’s going on with this cross-platform Microsoft stack.  Part of this will be playing with this on my own, and part of this exploration will be working with a friend on an application.  While I haven’t paired on an app for awhile, I’m both nervous and excited about this opportunity!

A Chance at my Geek Card – Dungeons & Dragons

Truth be told, I have never played Dungeons & Dragons.  Never, ever.  I watched people play briefly, and I didn’t think it’d be for me.  Mind you, I come from an RPG background – my addictions with Dragon Warrior, Chrono Trigger, Diablo II, Terraria… my many adventures in MMORPGs – Asheron’s Call, A Tale in the Desert, Horizons, EVE Online, World of Warcraft… so yeah, let’s forget that some of those games have D&D qualities and possibly rules and other influences in them.  D&D is not for me… or so I thought.  But some of my friends have talked me into giving it a try, so we’ll see how this goes.  I’m a little unnerved having to be the healer – I am used to being a hunter or warlock with a pet as a tank.  I’m used to all sorts of stories of mischief and mayhem – from getting into things I shouldn’t to causing all sorts of tales to unfold.  I can’t see the healer getting into mischief and mayhem, but we’ll see.  While I’ve fought the idea of playing D&D for a long time, I’ve now realized it’s time to quit fighting myself.  (That and these guys won’t let me back down now. 🙂 )

Catching up on Reading

Something I’ve been wanting to do for awhile is catch up on my reading. These are the books currently in my queue:



The first two books are nods to my interest in learning and education in general.  The more I read, the more I am curious about how to better teach lessons – whether it’s life lessons for my own children, my apprentices, my friends, or even myself.

The third book, though, is something that I swore I would never understand.  In college, I had to take courses that explained data structures and algorithms.  While they did a good job on theory, they didn’t really explain the practical part.  However, one of our later lectures in our cohort is on data structures and algorithms, and I had Victor cover that for my group as well, as I knew that data structures and algorithms were things he got excited about.  I didn’t realize just HOW excited he got until I saw his prep work and making notes on his lessons and seeing his examples.  His excitement is quite contagious, and when he showed me this book, I realized that there is hope for me to better explain algorithms to my apprentices without feeling like the theory from college killed my will to understand programming languages.

In addition to the above, I also need to continue unpacking and settling in our new house and putting together my home office.

Conclusion

Overall, I have a lot of things to get done over the next few weeks.  I definitely am looking forward to the adventures ahead!

Cleveland GiveCamp 2016 in Review

This past weekend, I had the privilege to participate in Cleveland GiveCamp 2016.  We completed 20 projects – mostly web sites on WordPress, Weebly, Wix, SquareSpace, Strikingly, Drupal… to name a few platforms.  There were a couple projects that weren’t websites – including one where they were helping the non-profit with scraping data.  For me, my heart and mind lived primarily in the arena that has been intriguing me again – security.

Why Security Seems Scary

We always joke nervously (and most secretly fear) about the hackers with the USB sticks and the malware they’re going to get us with.  We worry about the phishing when we realize that the email we clicked on was indeed a scam.  That person sniffing our network traffic, learning where we live because we filled out an unsecured form, and then doing stuff with that information – we fear that.  The bad things… the way media spins it… these things are scary.  The hackers are portrayed as bad.  Security guys are seen as scary… because so many people see the bad.  They tend to forget that as many bad guys are out there, there are good guys who care about those who are vulnerable.  This weekend, I had the privilege to assist some of the good guys who were there to check our work for vulnerabilities and make sure that our non-profits were secure.

My Security Ah-has

This weekend, I found myself challenging my fears a little.  This is what I’ve learned about myself:

  • I appreciated learning from them. My fears are actually my feeling vulnerable and like an impostor because I don’t have mad hacking chops like they do.  I also have a lot of respect for this group in particular – super knowledgeable and truly caring about helping the non-profits.  In reality, while I may still feel vulnerable, I have to realize that a developer/IT skill set and set of eyes can be a helpful thing.
  • I actually had fun writing PowerShell to help the GiveSec team out, so much so that I think I may see what else is out there and how I may be able to contribute.
  • I understand security enough that I was pretty angry when I had to say Security is so much more than just making sure credit card information is secure.  Yes, I had to explain this, and even more infuriating was having someone still walk away, not understanding our concerns and dismissing it as a parade of scare tactics.  *sigh*

So this year at Cleveland GiveCamp, I learned a lot about security teams and the various things they deal with.  I hope that I continue to follow my curiosity based on what I learned over GiveCamp and see if my dev ops mindset blossoms more this year.