Mary Dickson Diaz

Code, Life, Learning

Tag: coding

you can go home again

This morning I was copied on an email from some new colleagues at the Collaboratory about a grant application one organization is looking at, asking if I might be available to help, and I just about fell out of my chair with excitement. My initial response was something like this:

“Yes, YES let’s look to see who else they fund and what programs might overlap with their giving priorities oh and by the way have you heard about this other funding opportunity coming up, someone should look into that, I can do it if no one else is, and also do you have a board? and a strategic plan? what’s the vision statement? what’s your Big Goal? how soon can we start? yesterday?”

…and then I toned it down because, do not scare away the nice non-profiters, Mary. It’s something of a relief to have this reaction as opposed to throwing my phone across the room: it reinforces the “yes, AND” narrative (yes I am good at my past work and I enjoy it, AND I want to try this other thing now that I think I could be good at, too) as opposed to a position of “Hell no, I’ll never go back, Coding or Bust.” It is nice to know something about something, and be acknowledged for it.

Fundraising may be immensely more satisfying to undertake as a volunteer operation though, we’ll see, or maybe it’s my True Calling and I just need some time away. I have yet to encounter a career that would not benefit tremendously from adopting the professional norm of “sabbatical time.”

hello world

On a related note, I’m reaching a point in my coding progress where the beginner stuff is too easy but the leap to more advanced work is still beyond my grasp. It’s hard. Other people seem to “get it” faster than me. They explain it and I still don’t get it. They explain it again and I feel obliged to say “ohhhhh….” And they say: “Do you understand now?” And no, I still don’t understand, but I say “huh” or “maybe” or “let me tinker with it some more, this has been helpful.”

The process is humbling and, whatever comes of it, I can’t imagine that more people wouldn’t benefit from such an experience.

quiz day

Python quiz commences:

 

Eight hours later:

 

“and the greatest of these is z”


Photo credit: DuBoix from morguefile.com

Whaddup, Python people. My first homework assignment for MIT’s Introduction to Computer Science and Programming Using Python was due today, testing our knowledge of simple algorithms (“for” and “while” loops). Spoiler: it was hard, and I cried. Also, Python has a funny way of ranking the English alphabet.

The first two homework questions were similar to problems I have encountered before:

1. Given a string of letters, count the vowels (assume all are lowercase). Here’s one answer:

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