Kimberlee Johnson

🧙🏻‍♀️ Reflections from a mudblood

I learned how to select and manipulate elements in the Document Object Model (DOM) in order to add events, event listeners, and components that combine both in a repeatable way via data attributes.

Full disclosure: I only read up through the fifth Harry Potter book. That’s because when it came out in the summer of 2003, it wasn’t a question of if my dad would deploy to Iraq, but when. If you know what happens in the fifth book, you’ll get why I put the series down.

Besides, that’s still more than enough books for me to get most of the memes, or to know what an instructor implied this week when he said something during lecture like, “When muggles work with developers…”

<things I don’t post in the Slack questions thread>

I got an email when I was accepted to this program. Was it supposed to be an :owl:?

</things I don’t post in the Slack questions thread>

My dad enlisted in the Marines straight out of high school, because he saw it as his only way out of rural Utah. He may not have the context that I have about Hannah Arendt or others in the canon of a liberal arts education, but he’s still one of the first people I go to when I need someone to point something out to me that I know I’m not smart enough to see, not unlike how I turn to my group lead when I know I’m not spotting a typo in my code.

I have absolutely no doubt that my dad would have made an excellent software developer.

That’s why comments like the one the instructor made, and another later about “technical vs. non-technical people” irk me. I decided to start learning to code because I believe any muggle can do this work. I’m hopeful about many programming bootcamps because in theory they democratize access to the opportunity. But until we question and reject the false narrative that developers are born a certain way, look a certain way, like certain things, fewer people like me and my dad will take the leap, or stick with it once we get here. Every day I meet fellow students who in previous lives were healthcare providers or Amazon warehouse workers or limo drivers or bartenders. The list goes on. When they’re able to code circles around me, they’re always willing to pause to help me catch up. We mudbloods are in this together.

Especially this week, when we were all introduced to a new, first-time instructor during week 4/4 of HTML, CSS, and Javascript basics.

We covered the Document Object Model (DOM), an API that represents HTML and CSS content to the browser. Since it’s just a representation, not the content itself, we learned how to use the DOM to manipulate elements on a website, like changing the title of a news headline as a joke. After the joking, we turned to more serious things like how to get a website to do something when a user clicks on part of it: how to add events and event listeners to website elements. Finally, we learned how to automate those additions with reusable components and data attributes.

Next week we’ll build a project covering all that we’ve learned so far in our first “Build Week.” I can’t wait.

How I’ll apply what I learned to my blog

  • I’ll play around with adding an event and event listener to the image on my home page.

Advice for other students

  • Consider whether you want an education from a for-profit company. I should have thought more critically about how venture capitalist relationships might impact both decisions and how quickly those sometimes disruptive changes are implemented. I still think I've made the best choices with the data I've had available, but I could have and should have braced myself better.
  • The more hours you can get practicing debugging in advance, the better! I wasted an hour looking for three missing letters this week, and I know the only thing that will make that easier is practice. Get the reps, in any language, in now if you can.

Life outside of learning

  • I watched and loved Brie Larson’s Unicorn Store.
  • I read the earliest germ of what I think is the real thing I want to write about, families changed by March 20, 2003, in my fiction class. Everyone was warm and supportive. I’m grateful for this safe space.
  • I went to free poetry at Grace Cathedral for the second time. I adore this space and it’s one of the many that makes San Francisco so special.
  • Am reading: This Ronald Reagan High School graduate finally read the book by Nancy Reagan’s astrologist. Why it wasn’t required reading for me in high school I don’t know. I spent Friday night finishing Toni Morrison’s tiny gorgeous God Help the Child, and am moving onto Sharp, about ten quick-witted women starting with one of my patron saints Dorothy Parker, because they all had opinions and so do I.