Professional Development: Keeping Up With Coding

JavaScript in TextMate

As some of you know, I started a new job in October with Temple University Libraries.  I work in the Digital Library Initiatives department, the unit responsible for maintaining the libraries’ Digital Collections, digitizing the treasures in the Urban Archives and the Special Collections department (collectively known as the Special Collections Research Center), maintaining the libraries’ website, and conducting long-term planning for digital preservation and access.

For the first 2 months I settled in and got used to the routines, while learning new software like ContentDM and the various workflows involved in digitization and preservation. Now that I have completed my first 90 days on the job, I am returning to my personal commitment for this year – to continue to  improve my technical skills and keep up my professional development.

Since coding beyond HTML and some XML is not presently part of my work projects, I found 2 ways to engage myself to commit to learning new programming languages:


1. Codeyear by Codecademy

Codeyear is a free year’s worth of weekly coding lessons available online at Codecademy.  Once you sign up, lessons arrive in your inbox on a weekly basis and you can complete them on your own schedule. The first 3 weeks have focused on javascript.

I found out about this from a group of catalogers that I follow on Twitter. Shana McDanold created an amazing wiki called Catcode  for catalogers who are interested in learning coding together in a supportive environment.  It’s grown to over 100 people! If you’re interested you can follow the hashtags #codecademy, #codeyear, and #catcode to find some fellow students.

At first I was a little bit frustrated due to my browser crashing during some of the exercises. After a long head cold and an extended visit from a friend, I am behind by 2 weeks. However, this doesn’t phase me. As much as I would like to keep up with my peers, I know that I will catch up soon. I love the fact that I can “chunk” the lessons into sections that match my schedule and attention span.


2. Introduction to Python for Women and Their Friends

The Philly Python Users Group (PhillyPUG) is sponsoring a free Python class for women. I heard good things about it via my tweeps and WebStartWomen.  (@WebStartWomen on Twitter). I will be joining various librarians, catalogers, and archivists for class this week.  I look forward to seeing my friends for some coding & collaboration.

Now, enough blogging, and back to my Codeyear lesson!

(Image of JavaScript on TextMate by Andrew Dupont on Flickr)

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