Stand (in the Place Where You Code)

July 2019

I've officially had my first standup since starting my path to becoming a web developer, so I'm pretty sure that means I'm a pro now.

I was caught by surprise by the latest in our series of capstone touchpoints. I truly believed I'd have an extra week so I walked into class that Monday unaware and unprepared to present. My options were cobble something together or sink. So I did what I always do in times of trouble:

I opened a sticky note and made a list.

At the top was a title: "Today on Kelly's Capstone Progress" followed by a series of bullet points.

Max, our teacher at the time, asked us to answer the penultimate standup questions for that day's touchpoint:

"What have you done lately? What are you working on now? Where are you going next? And what are you having trouble with?"

I asked, "Does this make our class Agile now?". People laughed.

You may not think a broadcasting background would come in handy for a web development class, but I was able to put together a 3 minute presentation on the fly. That's not a bad skill to have.

When the time finally came to present, I volunteered to go second. This was a change from my usual MO of looking around the room hoping not to be called on. I can put together a brief presentation, sure, but I still get nervous speaking in front of people.

I pulled up my various pages, made my sticky note giant on my desktop so I wouldn't miss it as I shared my screen, and launched into my tale of progress.

What have you done lately?

I've purchased a domain and a small email box for my capstone (look forward to coming soon to an interweb near you!). I bought a license for Sketch and used that to build a wireframe for my capstone project. I also met with one of the TAs who gave me some good suggestions on how to improve the overall design.

What are you working on now?

I was working on building out my pages with HTML and SASS. I also created an ERD (entity relationship diagram) to I could start conceptualizing the back end. The current site isn't finished yet but it's definitely progressed since its nonexistence at the beginning of class. It also links to my tech blog in the footer of each page and that's pretty neat.

Where are you going next?

What I was going to be working on in those next couple of weeks was creating API calls for the recent activity feed and a Twitter integration. The TA I met with challenged me to look into parallax scrolling for the design so I'm going to give that a go. I also considered implementing Bootstrap to get some experience with it.

What are you having trouble with?

Remembering how to use SASS was a bit of a pain point for me. This is a controversial opinion among my classmates but I actually like SASS. I have notes to reference and I can find help when I need it.

I was also struggling with feeling a sense of overload about all the new shiny tools out there. I get easily distracted by those. The search continues for a productivity system that will help me get organized so I can feel on top of my game again.

My big takeaway from this touchpoint: Don't try to build a puzzle without looking at the picture first. I have a lot of enthusiasm for this class and genuinely enjoy sitting at my computer making something out of nothing for long periods of time. It would help me to plan out more instead of jumping directly into the terminal.

There's a great Medium article from Hack Upstate about this exact touchpoint. You can read about my and my classmate's updates here: Careers in Code Capstone Projects: Design & Development Phase

If you'd like to listen to the capstone presentation mentioned in this blog, you can catch it here from 22:04-25:20: YouTube

Topics Covered

  1. Standup
  2. Capstone Project
  3. Class Updates