It’s Official! I’ll be Speaking at Codeland!

Photo by Matteo Catanese on Unsplash

It’s official! I will be speaking at Codeland in 2018! I’ll be speaking about my experiences in open source and I couldn’t be more excited!

For those who do not know, Codeland is an “interactive, two-day conference filled with talks, panels, and workshops with the most supportive community of programmers and people learning to code.” It is produced by CodeNewbie which is “the most supportive community of programmers
and people learning to code.” CodeNewbie also hosts a popular podcast and weekly Twitter chat.

Codeland is May 4 & 5, 2018 in New York City. Tickets can be purchased here while supplies last!

The One Where I Attended WordCamp Baltimore

Lanyard from the 2017 Baltimore Wordcamp

Last weekend, I attended Baltimore WordCamp.

While the weekend was filled with several great talks, I wanted to share some of my favorite takeaways.

Launching Your Freelance Career the Right Way by Erica Mays
In working as a freelancer for several years, speaker Erica Mays learned a lot. In her talk, a simple and worth repeating advice is to always have a portfolio website. Get a domain name ( is always a safe bet) and update it at least once every three months. It doesn’t matter if you use a theme or build your site from scratch. Have a portfolio site, keep it clean, responsive and highlight the quality work that you can do.

SASS Isn’t Scary by Beth Soderberg
I’ll be the first to admit, I almost didn’t attend this session because I was spooked by the idea of SASS. Luckily, Beth Soderberg did an amazing job of highlighting what SASS can do and how to get started.

For those who do not know, SASS (Syntactically awesome stylesheet) is a CSS preprocessor that makes managing code easier to maintain by doing some of the work for you. To start with using SASS, you can take an incremental approach. Vanilla CSS can fit right into a .scss file and, technically, that is all you need to start. You can update your SASS file as you learn to nest styles and create mixins. 

It’s Never Just a Website by Jessica Watson
Being a web developer isn’t what defines you. In her talk about websites and working with clients Jessica elaborates that every client has a story. A client has a story and you, the web designer/web developer are only a chapter within that story.

On the subject of working with clients, it may not be a surprised by those website proposals that we spend so much time one, are rarely read. Knowing that, how do you get the information you need and make sure the client is aware of expectations? Start by skipping the cookie-cutter questions. You need to dig deeper. Ask why does their work matter? Who cares about what they do and why?


Sessions from the weekend can be viewed on

Visit or follow @wordcampbalt and to stay in the loop for next year’s WordCamp!

The One About Hacktoberfest

Photo by Andrew Small on Unsplash

Ahh, fall. The season of PSLs, cozy sweaters and….Hacktoberfest?

Yes. Hacktoberfest is a thing.

A portmanteau of “hack” (think, “hackathon”) and “Octoberfest”,  “Hacktoberfest is a month-long celebration of open source software”. The idea is simple. Contribute to any public repository on Github in the month of October and you get stickers. Make four pull requests and you’ll get a t-shirt!

Freebies aside, I loved the idea.

I searched for open issues on Github and at first found it difficult to find something I could work on. Either I was not familiar with that code language or someone else beat me to fix. I eventually did find some projects to contribute to (yay for translations!) but wanted to see how else I could give back to the open source community and other newer coders.

So I pushed one of my projects to Github for anyone to contribute to.

I learned Javascript over the summer. To practice, I created a countdown timer to Halloween. What better project to add to the Hacktoberfest fun?!

How Many Days Until Halloween? First version of the page. Returns numbers of days until Halloween on load.
The first version of my “How Many Days Until Halloween?” web page

In posting this project I wanted to get something out of it too. I had never merged commits other than my own. I was looking forward to reviewing pull requests, merge conflicts and (hopefully) not break anything in the process. Git is not something I use every day

It’s been a week since I posted “How Many Days Until Halloween?” to Github and the response has been great so far! I’ve gone from having a relatively static page to one with random, spooky text, flying bats, and a happy little pumpkin favicon.

Stats after one week of posting my project to Github
Stats after one week of posting my project to Github

If you want to get into the Hacktoberfest spirit, the repo for this project can be found here. Stay spooky!

Photo by Andrew Small on Unsplash