Over the past couple of months I’ve been looking at all the work I’ve done during college.
When I started this series, I thought I’d be limited to looking at the projects on my GitHub profile which is why I called it Revisiting My Git. As I kept going I went on a tangent looking at any programming related thing I did such as my CS degree, CodePen account and the job I did in college. I’ll provide a brief overview of each project, linking to the post containing more detail about it. If you want a recap, you can jump to conclusions.
Table of Contents
- Farai’s Weight Tracker
- College Hackathons
- Quote Generator
- My Bachelor of Arts Degree In Computer Science
- Link Updater
- Retweet Be Gone
- Semester of Java
- Diary Locker
- My Job In College
- Virtual Jo
When I made this project, I was trying to lose weight while learning Flask. I had just read The Hacker’s Diet by John Walker where he recommended that you track your weight every day to make a trend. That’s what Farai’s Weight Tracker was trying to do. I expected this to be the big project that I would show off to employers. Sadly, I got a massive episode of depression, killing all the motivation I had to work on this. I eventually dredged some barely functioning alpha that no longer works. Besides, John had already made a weight tracking tool The Hacker’s Diet Online.
Oh, and if you go through the source code, you’ll find a bcrypt hash just lying there. It isn’t a good idea to leave it there, but since bcrypt is relatively slow to hash, it’ll take forever to crack it. Here’s it is if you wanna try. Once you crack it, let me know. I forgot what it was.
hash = b"$2b$12$AQnQQAzuAD16NecZOdPPiOaRIFvd2Emw9eoZOxkcDSpjKCeo6Nye."
When I got my car, I was excited to finally be able to visit all those hackathons people said were a great way to get internships. Turns out there’s a lot more you need to do to get an internship. Besides, I was usually discouraged because of a fragmented team or laziness. There was one time where I did very well and that was at Uncommon Hacks 2017. An unusual hackathon, but my team won a prize because we were so unusual with our project Math.floor(it)– a silly web app designed to calculate the cost of speeding.
I didn’t do well at most of these hackathons, but I do recommend trying one while you’re a student. Outside of that, there are other ways to spend your free time.
While I was using Free Code Camp to learn about web development I made a few projects. One of these was Quote Generator which generates quotes. There were many ways to approach this, but I used Python to scrape quotes from Epic Quotes and write them to a 1008 element array. Not elegant, but it worked. I even added the ability to tweet quotes.
Since my GitHub profile had some private repositories for school projects, I was going to write about them. Then I choose to write about my CS degree instead since my class projects (except the senior project) was boring.
While it wasn’t the best education, at least it was free thanks to a full scholarship. I made so many mistakes in my time at college that I wish that I could write it all off and start on a blank slate. Unfortunately, the past has past and I have no choice but to own my experience and look for a way forward.
If I was to do one thing differently, it would be to get an apprenticeship instead of pursuing a CS degree; that way I could have an idea of what working in the field would be like. Then with what I learned in the industry, I’ll be more intentional in how I approach college rather than fumbling about. I’ld also have some job experience to show off.
One thing I realized going through college is that we need to re-evaluate what we want colleges to do. The expectation is that it’ll give you a good job but that doesn’t seem to be true for many people graduating today. We maybe didn’t “work hard” or “work hard in the right way”, but a lot of millennials were lead into having high expectations that haven’t been met. I guess it could be due to impatience or a poor economic climate that’s being hidden by nice numbers.
I got bored one day so I decided to make a script for someone on Twitter. She was looking for a way to automatically update HTML src attributes whenever an asset was moved. Even though she didn’t notice, it was a fun way to kill three hours. It just had one big problem– it overwrites unsaved HTML files.
After reading an op-ed in The Atlantic on how Retweets are Trash, I decided to make a script that would disable retweets from all the people I follow. That way I could improve the signal to noise ratio.
I later read about what happened to James Gunn who had his old tweets exposed and decided to add the ability to delete old tweets and likes. I doubt it helps much since people can take screenshots and the Wayback Machine keeps evidence.
For the added challenge I wrote this script on my iPhone using Pythonista. A bit harder since I can’t use third party libraries, but it worked.
While I was taking my Java programming class, I thought I’d do the whole “learn by teaching” everyone seems to recommend. It went rather well for four weeks before giving up. It wasn’t all helpful but I did use an online compilation tool which was cool.
In one of my earlier attempts at YouTube, I tried to host a live stream where I’ld made a Chrome Extension. I asked Reddit and it was pretty popular. When the live stream came, only 2 people pitched up for it.
The project was an attempt at collapsing answers on Quora– a site which I thought was fun in spite of its terrible UI. It took me far longer to make than it should have and it stopped working two weeks later.
I got bored one Christmas so I decided to make QuickPush– a Chrome Extension which looks up music on Spotify. This was a landmark project since it was the first time that I set out to make a project on my own rather than working off a tutorial.
It no longer works, but I was really proud of what I had made. I had plans to expand it to Soundcloud along with adding the ability to add songs directly to the Spotify music library, but school got in the way.
Wasn’t planning on writing this at first, but it brought back so many memories of when I worked with Free Code Camp. I also had a few projects there which I initially made for work. Not as impressive as other projects you can find on CodePen, but it’s mine.
This project is really underrated. Not only does it still work, but it’s also well documented and I really put a lot of time into making this as usable as possible. I’ld always put Quote Generator of Farai’s Weight Tracker in place of this project on my resume even though Diary Locker is incredibly well made. It is one of the times I could say that I push myself out of my comfort zone to make an amazing project.
In college, I worked in the library as a technology consultant. Here I spent time helping patrons work with technology better through web development, training, exploration, and service.
The job didn’t match my expectations and I doubt I met the job expectations wither, but it was a valuable experience helping others.
I struggled to write this since I really wanted to do this properly. Even though I had so many challenges, I was happy to see people enjoy my basic prototype during the college’s STEM Expo. Interestingly enough, writing this post gave me the closure I needed to archive this project and move onto more interesting ones.
Not sure what prompted me to write this series of posts, but I’m glad I did since I now have some much-needed closure. I went through a rough patch last year where I was ashamed at all the work I did since it wasn’t impressive. I thought it was so bad that I was tempted to delete all my old projects and pretend that they never existed. After all, I did that to these blog posts along with my YouTube videos.
Going through this series, I’ve realized that I can’t just ignore my old experiences. While they aren’t great and there’s a lot of things I can improve, these projects have become a big part of me. Sure there are many things to improve but I’ld have never known what I don’t know had I not made some crap along the way. After all,
“Sucking Is the First Step to Being Sorta Good at Something”
I’ve also been surprised at a few things. For instance, I never knew that Diary Locker was so well made. I didn’t just push my coding skills, I also took a crack at command line interface design and documentation. With my job in college, even though I could have done more, I was able to help many people. From small things like checking out MacBooks to big things like taking hours of my day making a 3D print for them.
Now that I’ve gone through my old projects it’s time for me to move on and start new things. I already have some project ideas and I’d love to make them a reality.