The One Where I Learned Javascript

Canvas+javascript by

I’ve been avoiding learning Javascript for a while now. How long? Probably as long as I’ve known HTML & CSS which has been 5-6 years at this point. I’ve known of Javascript but only felt comfortable looking at variables and saying, “Yup, that’s Javascript!” I saw Javascript as an obstacle that would be very difficult to learn, let alone master on my own. At the same time, I knew that not knowing Javascript would hold me back as a developer.

In 2016, feeling held back as a developer was a common theme for me. I felt stuck. I felt like I had gotten comfortable and hadn’t put in the effort to learn anything new. Because of that, I felt behind, out of touch and like I wasn’t really a developer. The imposter syndrome was very real.

So, in the Spring of that year, I started to do something about it. After debating about it, I enrolled in some classes at Skillcrush and haven’t looked back. I boosted my WordPress skills and learned Git/Github. Both of which, like Javascript, I didn’t get when I tried learning it before. When Summer came, I beta tested their Introduction to Javascript class. I got so close to the end of the course, but struggled with the final assignments/project. I knew more than I did before (yay for small victories) but I had a ways to go. I needed more practice, to be in a better headspace, etc, so I planned to retake the course in the future. Which is where I am now!

This week, me and some other peeps are starting over with learning Javascript. I’ve restarted the course and I’m excited to be dipping in! It may still be hard as time goes on, but I need to stick with it. I have no doubt that the payoff will be well worth it in the end.

Photo by nøcomputer is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The One with the Cover Letter

Lane Co. fair beauty 3.1 by jmb_craftypickle on Flickr

On a whim, I signed up for the course BerkeleyX: ColWri2.2x Academic and Business Writing. It is a 5 week course with weekly journal assignments. I’ll be posting responses to the journal prompts here as I go.

This week’s focus was on being a critical reader, note taking and annotation and to start brainstorming ideas for our final writing project:

With two topics being presented as part of this class, from the start, I choose to focus on business writing. Writing memos or to-dos comes easy for me, but I get hung up on where business writing really matters: The resume and cover letter. Yikes! While I’m not actively searching for a new job, getting comfortable with the process, will benefit me in the long run.

Photo by jmb_craftypickle is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The One with the Tone

Tone by delete08 on Flickr

On a whim, I signed up for the course BerkeleyX: ColWri2.2x Academic and Business Writing. It is a 5 week course with weekly journal assignments. I’ll be posting responses to the journal prompts here as I go.

This week’s assignment was to experiment writing in different tones or styles. With the example of writing a colleague for a favor we were instructed to write two versions. The first one, neutral/formal, the second informal and the last, formal but with more of a negative tone. Here goes!

Original writing

Good Morning Sue,

I hope you are doing well. I have an important meeting later this week and I was wondering if it would be possible for me to borrow your office. Two representatives from ABC company have asked to meet with me and your office is quieter and better suited for multiple visitors compared to mine. The meeting will only be an hour and the date and time are flexible, depending on your availability, etc. I would be happy to trade offices a well.

Please let me know your thoughts. Thank you in advance!

– Shannon


Hey Sue. Can I borrow your office later this week? It’ll only be for an hour. Date/time is flexible depending on what you have going on. Let me know. Thanks!

Formal with negative tone

Hi Sue,

I know things are busy, so I wanted follow up just in case you didn’t see my previous email. I have a really important meeting this week and I wanted to know if I could borrow your office. Two representatives from ABC company have asked to meet with me and, if possible, I want to avoid meeting them in my office since it’s next to the lunchroom and can get loud at times. The meeting will only be an hour. I haven’t set a date yet since I was waiting to hear back from you.

Let me know.

– Shannon


Like I mentioned in my first post, writing emails is easy for me. I do memos like this on a daily basis so I enjoyed the first part of this assignment. However, writing the 3rd version (polite but insistent) was uncomfortable and difficult. I struggle with how to be firm without coming off as bitchy or rude. Email makes this challenging since tone can be lost or misinterpreted when you can’t hear how something is being said.

Photo by delete08 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The One Where I Signed Up for an edX Course

Arts Crawl 11.20.09 | kellywritershouse |

On a whim, I signed up for the course BerkeleyX: ColWri2.2x Academic and Business Writing. It is a 5 week course with weekly journal assignments. I’ll be posting responses to the journal prompts here as I go.

This week’s assignment was to write about what type of writing you do normally, your thoughts on writing and what areas within writing you want to improve in the most.

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with writing. I disliked the writing process at times, but I felt found myself drawn to the idea of being a writer. Call me Carrie Bradshaw! Or, call me someone who knows that being a strong written communicator can come in handy in the business world. Those emails aren’t going to write themselves! Which is where I come in. For ColWri2.2x’s first journal assignment we were asked to describe the type of writing we do most and for me that’s business writing. Emails and memos, mostly, but on occasion, training materials/documentations and slide decks. It may not be glamorous but I feel in my element when typing up a memo or documentation.

I didn’t feel as in my element when it came to academic writing. The essay section of the SAT, for example, was a nightmare. The writing prompt I had was lobsters (why?) and I’m pretty sure I got the lowest possible grade on that essay. In college, writing assignments went either way. Sometimes I felt happy with something I had written or surprised by positive feedback I’d written. Other times, it was a a source of frustration, stress and tears. No, with college and work experience behind me, I welcome the challenge of writing, but I do psyche myself out of it sometimes.

As far as improving, I’d like to get better at the idea of sitting down and just being a writer. Here’s to less talking myself out of writing and more talking myself into writing. There’s really no harm in writing, even if it’s not “great” or “perfect”. Practice is the only way to improve and it’s never too late to start.

Photo by kellywritershouse is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The One Where I Went To Adobe Summit

Adobe Summit 2017 | #AdobeSummit

Each March, Adobe hosts Summit | The Digital Marketing Conference. Summit gives attendees the opportunity to connect, learn from industry leaders and see what Adobe has in store within their marketing cloud.

Fortunately, I had a last minute opportunity to attend, but admittedly, I didn’t know what to expect. I’m an analytic personality type, so I have a strong appreciation for data, analytics and User Experience, but wasn’t sure if this conference would be over my head. I’m happy to report that as a non-marketer I got a lot out of the conference and am super excited to share back what I learned. While a recap doesn’t do the conference justice, I would highly recommend anyone working in the digital space to consider attending.

After 3 days in sunny Las Vegas, mingling with over 12,000 attendees and choosing from over 200 sessions, here are my favorite takeaways from Adobe Summit 2017:

Summit | Mosaic photo wall filled in in real time from images Tweeted with #AdobeSummit2017
Mosaic photo wall filled in in real time from images Tweeted with #AdobeSummit2017

Customer Experience is Everyone’s Business

The overwhelming theme present as this year’s Summit was that experiences, particularly customer experiences are everything. Marketing is changing. It’s more than just brand awareness, it’s about feelings, journeys and experiences. Consumers are changing too. We’re demanding with high standards and one poor experience can be detrimental to the trust we have in a brand. As a developer and dabbler in user experience, I took this idea to heart. While I may not be a decision maker I do play a part in the creation process. We all have the same goals in mind and if I can use my knowledge and experiences to help making a better one for a end user, I consider that a win.

Data & Storytelling

It’s no doubt, that we live in a data driven world. Data is being consumed and created at an alarming rate. Machine learning and digital assistants are commonplace. That said, data is only a small part of our brains. While data drives a lot of the decisions we make, stories resonate better with the human brain. The terms left and right brains refer to the logic and emotion sides in all of us. For a data story to be good, you need to appeal to both sides easily. Just think about it, what’s more appealing, a wall of numbers, stats and percentages, or, a story about those numbers, what they mean, their purpose and how it affects the recipient?

Mobile Is The Next Big Thing (Really!)

You may be thinking, you’ve heard the term “Mobile is the next big thing” before. And you would be right. Mobile first thinking has been top of mind for designers, developers and marketers for a few years now. To quote David Fisher, VP, Business and Marketing Partnerships at Facebook, “Mobile is both the last and next big thing.” As users and consumers, the way we interact with mobile devices will continue to grow and evolve. As marketers, designers, and developers, we need to think about designing content for mobile devices first as opposed to it being an afterthought.


Sneaks. Previews of in-progress projects from the Adobe Labs

It was really hard picking just three takeaways. So, here’s two more that I just had to share:

Adobe Think Tank – On Monday, March 20th, Adobe was live streaming conversation with leaders in the digital and creative industries. Past Think Tank videos can be viewed here and 2017 video will be available soon.

Sneaks – Each Summit, Adobe gives attendees behind-the-scenes looks at projects currently in development in the Adobe Labs. Unlike the Keynotes, they aren’t live streamed, but some of this year’s Sneaks are available for viewing.

Emotion Chamber – The Emotion Chamber was easily favorite booth at Summit. As you watch a short video in a mirrored chamber a camera tracks your face’s movements and bio-feedback. In the end, you get a personalized visualization of the emotions tracked during the video.

For more information about Summit, visit Adobe’s Summit website, check out the Summit Blog and follow @AdobeSummit and #AdobeSummit on Twitter.

Shannon is an Email & Front-End Developer. Follow her on Twitter