The Zen of
Programming

The Most Important Non-Programming Skills for Programmers

When I think about who I would like to work with as a programmer, I think so much more about non-technical skills than technical skills that make somebody a good co-worker. In fact, all of the skills that are in this post contribute to writing good code that improves technical projects. Most of them are really helpful for careers outside of programming too, but I'm going to focus on why they're…

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My Blog Post Workflow: from Topic to Publication

Writing blog posts can be pretty tricky -- it's hard to come up with a topic to write about let alone actually create the content. I've been blogging more and more, and I wanted to give my advice for writing posts -- from the topic through pressing the post button! If you're interested in my advice for starting a blog, I also have a post on that here . This post contains affiliate links. If you…

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Blogging Resources

My Resources on Blogging Blog Posts My Blog Post Workflow: from Topic to Publication Blogging as a Developer Slides Let's Make a Blog Post Blogging Worsheets Brainstorming Posts Outlining Cheatsheet Where to Host Your Blog dev.to Medium Wordpress Netlify + Gatsby Awesome Resources 10 Killer Tips: How to Format a Perfect Blog Post How To Promote Your Blog With 107 Content Promotion Tactics 7 Tips…

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A Complete Beginner's Guide to React

I want to get back into writing more code-heavy content, and React is one of my favorite technologies, so I thought I would create a React intro! This post requires knowledge of HTML and JavaScript -- I am of the firm opinion that you should know these before moving on to libraries like React! What is React React is a JavaScript library build in 2013 by the Facebook development team to make user…

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A Web Design Crash Course: From one non-designer to another

I will preface this by saying that I'm not professionally a designer. That being said, I like building pretty things and have had some success with that. A lot of developers seem overwhelmed by design, so I wanted to do a quick write-up with visual examples with quick tips on how to improve the visuals of your site. Rules are made to be broken, but if you want to make a great website as easily as…

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My Favorite Free Resources for New Programmers

Last week, I shared my tips for new developers and how to start coding. I also wanted to share my favorite free resources for learning how to code. I have used or gone through each of these personally, so I can vouch for them being good quality and beginner friendly! For HTML and CSS A game for learning CSS selectors: CSS Diner A game for learning CSS Flexbox: Flexbox Froggy A game for…

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25 Tips for New Developers: Advice from a (Mostly) Self-Taught Software Engineer

The most common question I get from blog readers is "What is your advice for new programmers?" So, I thought it was time to write up my thoughts. I will write up my full story in the future, but I took two computer science classes in college. Then, I got a software engineering internship shortly after. I started doing web development work, initially on the backend and then eventually on the…

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Building a Kickass Portfolio

According to GitHub, I have had a portfolio site since September 1st, 2016. And, according to Google Analytics, I got less than 300 views on the two iterations of my portfolio from September of 2016 through October of 2017. In October 2017, I did a complete rewrite of my site , and the results were pretty dramatic. I got 1,861 views the first month, and I've averaged around a thousand hits on a…

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My Terminal Setup: iTerm + Zsh

As a follow up to my post on my text editor setup, I wanted to write about the other key part of my development setup -- my terminal. Unlike my relatively new text editor setup, my terminal configuration has followed me around for years -- spanning over multiple jobs and even more computers. It's the first thing I get set up on when I get a new computer The Terminal I use iTerm2 for my Terminal…

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Public Speaking as a Developer

As a follow up to my post from March on blogging as a developer , I wanted to give my tips for doing public speaking events as a developer. A little over a year ago, I submitted my first call for papers (aka conference application) to the Code(Her) conference in DC where I live. It was accepted, and I gave my first conference talk last August. Around the same time, I moved from a traditional…

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Extreme Makeover: Code Edition

I am a little bit obsessed with writing clean code. Code should be written for future developers (including yourself) and extendability -- it should be relatively easy to add features to your application and to maintain your code. If we were writing code for computers, we would just write binary! Here are some of my tips for writing cleaner code: 1. Use clear variable and function names Code…

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My Goals for My 24th Year

I turned 24 this weekend, and , as with any birthday outside of childhood, I have conflicting feelings. On one hand, being a little bit older gives me more legitimacy in my field -- I normally hide my age professionally in fear that I won't be taken seriously or that people won't believe my experience level. I've been really lucky to have a good career at my age, and I worry that if people…

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What is a Web Framework, and Why Should I use one?

"Framework" is a word used a lot in relation to code. So, what even is a framework? When we talk about frameworks, those frameworks normally fall into three different categories -- frontend, backend, and CSS or user interface frameworks. But even once you know what frameworks are, which one should you learn or use and why? This post will discuss what a framework is, what frameworks are out there…

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My Visual Studio Code Setup

I love the text editor setup I've been using for the past year and a half, so I want to show off my setup! Visual Studio Code has far surpassed my experiences with Atom, Spyder, Sublime Text, Emacs, and Idle (the built-in Python editor) which I used for the years before it. I thought I would do a quick write up on my setup and the extensions I love! Theme Since I teach people how to code…

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Hello, World

So I'm going in a different direction with my blog posts, or at least a little bit. As you may know if you follow me online, I am not who most people think of if they imagine a typical developer -- I am a young women whose interests are pretty far outside most people I know in the field. I love fashion, beauty, awful trashy tv shows like The Bachelor and Vanderpump Rules , I work out a lot, and…

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Ali Spittel

Hi! Welcome to the Zen of Programming where I talk about programming and my life surrounding it!