Coding & Cocktails: An Attendee’s Perspective – Adrianne and JavaScript

JavaScript is everywhere. This is something that I already somewhat understood prior to attending Coding & Cocktails on Saturday, June 10. After attending part one of the two-part Programming Concepts series, though, I can now see how JavaScript is a driving force behind one of my favorite web-based activities: Reading as many news websites as possible online, particularly The New York Times.

One of my favorite aspects of The New York Times homepage is its simplicity paired with elegance. The homepage also mirrors closely the very traditional sense of The Times’ ink-based front page. Prior to digging into the session’s worksheet on June 10, I asked Coding & Cocktails’ Curriculum Director Kayla Hennegin to walk me through the different elements of the The Times’ homepage, so I could get a sense of what features are driven through HTML, CSS, and finally, JavaScript. Kayla also showed me how it is possible to turn off JavaScript in Google Chrome, which I did not previously know was possible.

As I progressed through the evening’s worksheet, I quickly realized how closely HTML and CSS work alongside JavaScript. I appreciate how Coding & Cocktails is structured to where you can join at any session throughout the course of the year-long curriculum, but I wish I hadn’t missed out on the introductory HTML and CSS sessions in January and February. I’ll definitely be picking them back up on the next go-around.

Lastly, a great deal of camaraderie took place at my second-ever session of Coding & Cocktails. At the PC table, I sat near two brand-new, first-time participants who had first learned about Kansas City Women in Technology via social media, and they thought it would be great to give it a try. I also saw several familiar faces of participants from my first session in May, and it made me feel at ease to see the loyal dedication of other coding newbies like myself.

My favorite experience of the evening came when I looked up from my laptop, and I saw a participant sitting at the Mac table with a Vu Le sticker on her computer. I instantly had to go over and speak with her – it is always great to meet another fan of Vu Le (pronounced “voo LAY”), who is somewhat of a celebrity in the nonprofit organization community. (He is a writer, speaker, vegan, Pisces, and the Executive Director of Rainier Valley Corps, a nonprofit in Seattle that promotes social justice by developing leaders of color, strengthening organizations led by communities of color, and fostering collaboration between diverse communities.) The participant, too, had attended his talk for Nonprofit Connect this January when he was in Kansas City. I briefly shared the experience on Twitter, and Vu was pleased and said that he felt encouragement.

July will be yet another busy coding-immersive month for me. Programming Concepts 102: A deeper dive into JavaScript is set for Saturday, July 8, and I am looking forward to building upon what we learned in June. The July TechTalk on Wednesday, July 12, is a joint meetup with KCWiT and Kansas City’s PHP User Group. While I know practically next-to-nothing about PHP, it will be exciting to learn more, as well as to see the beautiful facilities at Stowers Institute where my best friend works as a postdoc fellow. And finally, I am pleased to say that I was selected to participate in KC Django Girls on July 21 and 22. I am ready to learn more about Django and Python, as well as meet other girls and women who sharing my love for a growing knowledge of technology and its applicability in our daily lives. Without Kansas City Women in Technology, I’m not sure how else these opportunities would be available for me at this juncture in my life.

-Adrianne DeWeese

Adrianne DeWeese is a Continuing Education Specialist at the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards. A member of the KCWiT Marketing & Communications Committee since June 2016, she also enjoys pursuing a Master of Public Administration at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and serving as board chairwoman of Pages & Chapters, a Kansas City- and Washington, D.C.-based family literacy nonprofit organization. Adrianne is married to John Leacox, a dedicated software engineer, and she believes in equal educational rights for everyone and hopes that sharing the stories within KCWiT will inspire others to also pursue their dreams.

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