Lately I’m thinking about my accomplishments this year in tech. I feel much more a part of the greater development community than I ever have before. I owe a lot of that to my Co-Organizing the TrianglePHP meetup group and my TA-ing with Girl Develop It. I have also overcome some of my hesitation to contribute code in Open Source again.
TrianglePHP has been a challenge in that I was coming in as a relief pitcher, to help organizers who had carried it for a long time. I started out feeling like I needed to ask permission for everything. I still do sometimes, but I’m allowing myself to do more to open communication channels between members and organizers. Challenges I faced were that I hadn’t been a very vocal or active member before I joined as an organizer, and we were experiencing a lot of turnover as people drifted in and out of the group. I’ve been the only organizer at some meetings, and had members address someone else as leader. But I believe I’ve gotten better at leading meetings and hope that members will recognize my name from emails. A lot of our membership seems to be drifting in and out because they aren’t getting what they want from the content. I’m polling them this year to see what they are hoping to learn in 2016. I hope that it helps. I’d also like to see a more engaged group that is ready to share ideas and help plan meetings/social activities because there is a lot I cannot .
Girl Develop It has been awesome! I TA’d the PHP classes and the Github class. It was so wonderful to help engaged students to understand the tools they were learning. Students were coming into each class with a varied background but eager to learn. I remember students in the PHP class were apologizing for my having to look at their errors. I told them these errors would become familiar friends as they continued to work with PHP. I showed them how to read those errors to find the mistake. I left every class feeling great! Last night Girl Develop It hosted Snow and Tell, a year-end event with lightning talks and general merriment. The presentations were wonderful! There were new ideas to learn, and there was a lot of talk of giving back with technology. GDI has challenged me in so many ways this year, and I’m so grateful for that! I was in a video about women in computer science, which isn’t something I would have done last year, and it represented the awesomeness of GDI very well! I hope to TA more classes and will host Code & Coffee meetings in the new year. And I’m really excited about working with this group!
Phergie has brought me into a new territory. I wrote I Contributed! earlier this year, and I have spoken about the experience on a podcast and at GDI Snow & Tell. In May, at the PHPTek Hackathon, I joined the Phergie team. I knew a couple of the developers and felt like I understood how I could contribute. I chose a seemingly simple plugin from the wish list and began building it. Matthew Turland and Patrick Schwisow were incredibly helpful! I had nearly completed the functionality, except a few characters that I couldn’t find 4-digit unicode for. I would have to convert them in a different way. I took my incomplete plugin home and tried a few other things before I finally rewrote my conversion function. I was able to login to #phergie on irc and received help with mocking my tests for the bot. I tagged my first release, created a package on packagist, and released it. The process wasn’t perfect. I didn’t magically write the exact right thing the first time and deploy without incident. But when there were bugs reported, I was able to fix them. I’ve learned a lot from this experience! I’ve been inspired to work on another plugin for phergie that will pull CFPs on request. I’m learning a bit more about pulling that data outside of the plugin interface to be sure I understand the data I’m receiving before proceeding. I’m excited to work on this plugin!
It’s been a great year for trying new things outside of work!