Talk: What I’ve learned as an Email Developer

Thanks for tuning into my talk, What I’ve learned as an Email Developer during the Moms Can Code Virtual Summit!

Here are links to the resources mentioned during my talk.

Resources

Email Design on Pinterest – A sample of some beautifully designed emails

Really Good Emails – A collection of hand-picked email designs and resources

EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – Informative site about GDPR

CAN-SPAM Act: A Compliance Guide for Business – An overview of the CAN-SPAM guidelines for businesses

A Snapshot of an Email Team – A breakdown of demographics of email teams, according to a survey by Litmus

Creating your own Gulp Based Email Workflow System – Story of how Tori, an email developer, created her own email workflow system

What’s Goop – Launched in the fall of 2008, GOOP was originally conceived as a weekly email sent from Gwyneth Paltrow’s kitchen

Email Testing – Email on Acid email testing

The Ultimate Guide to CSS – In-depth list of which CSS features are supported in which email clients

CSS Inliner Tool – Mailchimp tool for inlining CSS for emails

#emailgeeks on Slack – A Slack community where email marketers, designers, and developers meet to talk shop

Email Client Market Share – Email client usage worldwide, collected from 1.03 billion email opens.

Litmus Year in Review – 2017 stats from Litmus

13 Email A/B Testing Mistakes that Limit Your Success – Tips to ensure you are getting the most out of your email A/B testing

Follow me on Twitter. I tweet about email development, tech and reaction gifs

#CNC2018 “Code More” Mission #1: Goals, Assumptions, Risks

Photo by Anas Alshanti on Unsplash

Now, we’re in the first official week of the Code Newbie #CNC2018 “Code More” Challenge! Last week, I wrote about what has worked and not worked when it comes to goal setting. This week, the challenge focuses on what can prevent us from reaching the goals we set. Here are my thoughts.

  • I want to code more because:
    I really like learning about coding for the web. I’ve worked with code in one way or another for the past five years and I always come back to wanting to learn more about building websites. As a self-taught developer, I felt like I was always missing something from being an actual web developer (hello imposter syndrome!), so I tend to focus my energy on building that skill set. The web changes fast and I want to avoid becoming stagnant or falling behind!
  • I know I’ll have reached my “code more” goal when:
    This is a tough one. You’ll never know everything about code, or the web, or coding for the web. However, I consider myself as having met my goal when I can look back and clearly see what skill gaps I have filled or are working on filling. I also consider feeling more confident in my skillset as a sign that I have completed my code more goal.
  • My top three assumptions for reaching my goal are:
    • Working full time. After being in the office, sometimes, I do not want to spend more time staring at a computer screen. Also, my brain hurts sometimes 😐
    • Managing my time. See above. If I am clear about my goals, I can better manage my time and make progress. However, that is easier said than done
    • Personal life. As much as I love to learn to code and wish that was my full-time job, it is not. For me, there is more to life than sitting in front of a computer screen. Health, family, and friends are priorities too.
  • Of these assumptions, my riskiest is managing my time.
  • When I think about my riskiest assumption, three possible root causes are:
    • Prioritizing easy/instant gratification over long-term goals.
    • Saying “yes” to being lazy, instead of “yes” to being productive/working toward my long-term goals.
    • Being too generous with my time. I need to respect my own time in order to be successful.
  • 3 ways I might address these root causes are:
    • Do not overcommit! I’m guilty of taking on “all of the things” and not really having time to do them all. Or letting not-as-important things (I’m looking at you Netflix!) take up the time I do have.
    • Focus on one thing at a time. Humans are terrible at multitasking.
    • Track accomplishments. I did this last year and it made a big difference when I was feeling unaccomplished.
  • Of these, the biggest cause that’s worth tackling first is focusing on one thing at a time.

Photo by Anas Alshanti on Unsplash

#CNC2018 “Code More” Pre-Mission

Photo by Ash Edmonds on Unsplash

As part of the Code Newbie #CNC2018 “Code More” Challenge, here is my pre-mission homework:

GOAL: Understand what has and hasn’t worked in past attempts to code more, and start thinking about long and short-term goals.

What has worked?

  • Having an accountability buddy / going through a challenge with other people in my network
  • Saying my goals aloud (or on Twitter)
  • Setting SMART goals
  • Writing down my goals so that I can refer to there
  • Having a project where other people depend on me – I don’t want to let someone else down. For example, I was really happy with my Halloween countdown timer project that I did for Hacktoberfest. I didn’t talk myself out of participating. I was so excited to practice merge commits / etc that I was easily putting 3-4 hours in daily to keep it up to date. It was a project I was really excited about, it was fun, I learned a lot and was able to help other people practice as well. I really enjoy sharing what I’ve learned with other people. The positive feedback is a confidence booster too!
  • Based on the above, I know that I am someone who learns by doing. More than that, I like having a project that means something in the end. That is probably why most classes with fake projects don’t go well for me. I work full time so I don’t have unlimited time resources like I did in college

What has not worked?

  • Most free / cheap Udemy classes. The quality can go either way and I’m not as motivated to move through the material.
  • Setting goals that were to vague or unrealistic. I’ve since learned that I do better when I write things down and break them into smaller pieces. Sometimes learning to code every night isn’t realistic
  • Daily challenges don’t work so well for me. My mood, energy levels, priorities, etc, vary day by day, so the daily stuff doesn’t usually happen. For something that has expected checkpoints / time commitments (1hr a day OR 5 hours a week) I do tend to do better. Some days I feel like coding for several hours or I am in a good headspace to learn, others I am not
  • Rebuilding my portfolio has not been a project I’ve successfully completed since the last major redesign in 2013ish. I keep starting with great intent and not really going anywhere. I’m embarrassed at not having a site (or rather, an online presence that speaks to the work I do, etc) but it keeps not being a priority for me. I need to be ok with using a theme and filling it in with some killer content then waiting to build something from scratch that is perfect. I think I focus on the bigger picture and don’t break it down into small enough chunks. The deadlines I set are arbitrary / etc so I tend to scramble to having something up before a conference, etc.

What are your long-term goals?

  • To be a front-end developer! I can do front-end development work, but I feel like an imposter. I don’t feel comfortable as a front-end developer or that I’d be able to make it in a front-end developer role, and I would like to fill that gap. I’d like to learn or improve my skillset in the following areas (to start)
    • AWS
    • Bootstrap
    • Git
    • SASS
    • Javascript / Jquery
  • I’d like to expand my comfort level with design thinking and leadership. I’m torn between sticking with the developer route (which seems hard to get into) and the designer route (equally challenging since I’ve been out of the design game for a while).

What are your short-term goals?

  • By the end of this challenge, I’d like to have my website hosted on either github pages or AWS.  I would also like to make significant progress in the Udacity course I am taking.

 

 

Top Tech Conferences I’m Watching Right Now

Empty Conference Chairs | Photo by ål nik on Unsplash

I don’t think of myself as an extroverted person, but I enjoy attending tech conferences. The buzz of being in a room of other like-minded people when there is so much to learn is difficult to replicate elsewhere.

That said, I try to stalk the internet regularly for relevant conferences.

I do email development by day but have interests that span to other parts of tech, design and web development.  I certainly don’t have an endless amount of cash to attend some or all of these conferences, but I certainly can dream.

Here are the top conferences I’m looking forward to for 2017 (and 2018)!

Adobe Max / Adobe Summit
Las Vegas, NV
I’m including these two together because the content has some overlap. Adobe Summit is advertised as a conference for Digital Marketers while Adobe Max is for creatives. I was lucky enough to attend Adobe Summit and even with not being a marketer, got a lot out of it. There was a lot of content (multiple tracks running at once) and I got to see demos and sneak peaks of upcoming Adobe Products.

Codeland
New York City, NY
Codeland is a conference by CodeNewbie, the popular Podcast for beginners to tech and coding. Codeland was held for the first time in 2017. Although I was not able to attend, I heard great things about it and I’m looking forward to attending in 2018! If you are a fan of the CodeNewbie community (I love their weekly Twitter Chats) this may be worth checking out.

Ela Conf
Philadelphia, PA
I heard about Ela Conf by chance via Twitter. I hadn’t seen many conferences focus on the leadership aspect of tech so I bought my ticket as soon as possible. Ela Conf prides its self on being “a safe, inclusive tech leadership conference” and I couldn’t be more excited to attend later this month!

Lanyards by Simon Collison on Flickr
Lanyards by Simon Collison on Flickr

Front End Design Conference
St.Petersburg, FL
Similar to Ela Conf, I was excited to hear about a conference that caters to a specific group within web development. I consider myself a Front-End Developer so some web development conference seems intimidating from the outside. Coming into its 10th year I’d consider attending the Front End Design Conference in 2018.

GitHub Universe
San Francisco, CA
Git and Github are necessary tools to know if contribute or write code in any way. I consider myself a beginner in Git / Github with a desire to learn more. The line up of speakers for 2017 has folks from different roles, companies, and aspects of tech. Bonus! Github Universe is being streamed live for those of us at home!

Litmus Live
Boston, MA
If you work in email design, development and/or marketing, this conference is one you have to try and attend. With development and marketing tracks, and optional workshops, there is something for everyone else. I attended (and spoke!) in 2016 and had a blast hanging with my #emailgeeks. Bonus, the conference also travels to London and San Francisco and attending one will give you access to videos of all three locations afterward.

A post shared by kate (@katemharmon) on

Word Camp Baltimore
Baltimore, MD
Who can pass up a tech conference in their home state? WordPress is a popular, open source CMS and Word Camps are conferences put on by local chapters. I attended Word Camp Baltimore in 2016 for the first time and had a blast (the night ended in Karaoke) and did not hesitate when ticket went on sale earlier this year. Multiple tracks are running at once where everyone is encouraged to switch rooms/sessions to find which works best for you.

Write / Speak / Code
Portland, OR
Another conference that focuses on the non-code related aspects of working in tech. I’m interested in technical writing and contributing, so I’ve been watching Write / Speak / Code for a while. Their conference is four days with a different track/theme each day. Write / Speak / Code also has local chapters / meet up groups with other events throughout the year.

More conference chatter to come!


Photo by ål nik on Unsplash

The One Where I Tweeted About Imposter Syndrome

Moustache ! by https://www.flickr.com/photos/marlened/

On Tuesday, I tweeted about imposter syndrome.

I didn’t expect my Tweet to catch on, but it did. My phone has been blowing up with new comments, likes and retweets. It seems a lot of people can relate which makes me feel less alone in the world.

For me, imposter syndrome hits on occasion. I’ve briefly written about it before. Some days, I’m confidence, I’m ready to tackle anything that comes my way. No one can stop me! Other days, like on Tuesday it’s the opposite. Intense feelings of doubt in my coding skills come from nowhere. Am I really a developer? I can code, yes, and I’ve been doing so for most of my professional career, but am I really a developer?

Imposter by Robin Zebrowski | https://www.flickr.com/photos/firepile/15576354231
Imposter by Robin Zebrowski

It can be a crippling mindset to be in.

Which is why the responses, advice, resources, etc I have gotten over the past few days have been encouraging. I’m getting out of the imposter syndrome funk and am moving forward. Heck, any other day, I would have talked myself out of write this post. I would have thought myself not good enough of a writer / blogger to put together this post. Yet. Here it is!

I put this post together as a resource / inspiration board for myself and whoever else may need it. My favorite Tweets / takeaways are included below, but I encourage keeping the conversation going.

How do you deal with imposter syndrome?


Photo by marlenedd is licensed under CC BY 2.0