Graduation Reflections: “I was clearly a web developer in the making”

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Me at Columbia University’s 2016 Black Graduation Ceremony receiving a gift from the Columbia Black Alumni Council.

I’ve officially graduated from Barnard College. During, my undergrad career I was able to take 7 Computer Science/programming classes. These classes ranged from Web Development to Data Structures. For me, Psychology (my ultimate major) was related to every field and deeply related to the increasingly interdisciplinary fields that rely on Computer Science.

Looking Back

After taking Computer Graphics the year prior, I decided to take AP Studio Art during my senior year of high school. At my school AP Studio Art involved using Photoshop and Illustrator at least 5x a week. In addition to becoming comfortable with Adobe software, I also tinkered throughout high school with HTML/CSS via Neopets and a free web hosting website.

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Spring 2012, me standing next to my AP studio art portfolio submissions after the end of a long year.

Looking back, I was clearly a web developer in the making. However, when I came to college I did not see a direct connection between the curriculum and my interests in web development and graphic design. Therefore, I decided to explore my interest in science which had been fostered during the four years prior that I spent in a science and technology program. My interest in Biology had a prominent position in the curriculum my first-year as I sat through 10 credits of Biology my first-year with 200+ other students, at my relatively small college of 2,573 students.

Looking back, I was clearly a web developer in the making. However, when I came to college I did not see a direct connection between the curriculum and my combined interest in both development and graphic design.

My junior year of college  I decided to explore the computer science and project management courses at Columbia University’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. These classes re-ignited my interest in web development. Additionally, I had the opportunity to explore the tech scene in NYC the summer where I was able to work with organizations such as Black Girls Code, Women who Code, #CodeNewbie.

In January 2015, I planned on taking Data Structures in Java. I attended the class during the shopping period and was convinced that the timing was off. I eventually enrolled in Data Structures, this semester…my final semester of undergrad. I am so glad that I decided to take Data Structures while I still had the opportunity as an undergraduate.

What’s Next?

Being able to program daily and expand my knowledge of Java further ignited my interest in web development. Thus, I decided to enroll in the Columbia Journalism School’s The Lede Program: An Introduction to Data Practices. The Lede Program discusses how to extract, analyze and visualize data using tools such as Python, SQL, and typical web dev tools.

The Lede Program is an intensive, post-bac certification program to equip journalists and storytellers of all kinds with the computational skills needed to turn data into narrative. The program offers an intensive summer bootcamp in data and computation

I can’t wait to update y’all on my progress during and after the Lede Program. I’m three weeks into two of the courses. I am already beginning to feel a lot more comfortable with using Python and APIs.

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Me sitting at Columbia University’s 2016 Black Graduation ceremony with my friend Daena. Our caps are decorated with these words “well behaved women seldom make history” (Daena’s) & “she believed she could so she did” (Mine)

Monica

Monica

Monica started Black Tech Diva to document her journey of learning more about programming and web development. If you'd like to chat, feel free to tweet her: @waterproofheart.