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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Annyeonghaseyo Hello Korea! What the Codecademy Girl Thinks about Online Code Schools

Days after the Crunchies 2013 (Feb 2014) award ceremony, a Korean reporter from http://www.bloter.net/ reached out for an interview, which I accepted and delivered while enjoying dinner at my favorite restaurant in San Francisco. She wants to take my "Codecademy Girl" story to Korea, write about my opinions on online code schools like Treehouse, Udacity, Codecademy, Coursera, and talk about my story how I got from not knowing how to code to Crunchies and my current position at airpair.com

A dear Twitter friend was kind enough to translate almost the entire write up. You can see the Korea version here.



It's been an incredible journey with many supporters and humbling experience along the way. This is another good way to commemorating my Crunchies anniversary. Amazingly enough, in this year's low profile participation, many still reached out to me and chatted with me about last year's Crunchies and the memorable moments. It was a great honor and lifetime experience to be a highlight of the "Tech oscar green carpet event".



Here's the friendly translation from the twitter Jeesun (you are the best)!

It talks about how you studied Economics at Stanford and worked as a technology consultant at Deloitte before you got into coding. It also says due to the location of Stanford (right next to Silicon Valley) and its famous seminars held by big tech CEOs like Bill Gates, everyone at Stanford is very into computer science regardless of their major.

It also mentions your previous job as a technology consultant at Deloitte, where you realized that the coworkers that had studied computer science in college learned the task that they were assigned to faster than those who hadn’t studied computer science. It also talks about your accomplishments at Deloitte. It says you have won a number of awards at Deloitte. But despite of all the awards you won at Deloitte, you had decided to quit your job and learn programming for the better future. 

--There are many resources online to learn about programming such as Edex, Udacity, Coursera, and etc. However, she chose Codeacademy because she felt like it was the best platform to learn about coding for people with no computer programming background. “Computer Science lectures online are hard to understand for people with no computer programming background. These courses are aimed at people with computer science major. Codeacademy does not have any instructions or orders, you just learn as you type.”

Can people be a real programmer by only using Codeacademy? Dilys says “no”. “Codeacademy gives the basic understanding of what each programming language is like. In order to become a real programmer, people need to take more steps than just Codeacademy.”

“Codeacademy doesn’t require any lectures. All you need to do is type the codes that you are told to write. You write and correct your codes until you get it right. Some beginners get frustrated by fixing the codes constantly, but that’s the real life of programmers. Perfect coding comes from deleting and fixing the codes constantly. Famous programmers have come to where they are now by fixing their codes nonstop. Codeacademy is the best site to learn that part of the programming culture.”

She currently works at AirPair.  “Learning how to code can open a lot of doors.” She mentions that sites like Github and CodeAcademy are groundbreaking in the tech world. "Now, we can learn programming for free and communicate with other programmers so much easier than we used to before. There will be more sites like Codeacademy in the future where people will have more access to coding."

Dilys is currently learning a new programming language by using a site other than CodeAcademy, CodeSchool. She’s currently learning Ember Js. 

 “I couldn’t even dream about coding before I used codeacademy. I used to think coding was impossible but now that Codeacademy got me rid of that fear, I am no longer afraid of challenges that I used to think was impossible. I dream about doing a start up in Silicon Valley in the future. Who knows maybe I could master the entire computer programming by then?”

Apparently I have a Korean version of my name Dilys Sun :)


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A Sober Crunchies Gives Back

Tech giveback -  the new slogan of this year's Crunchies tech award ceremony. Thanks to Ron Conway's opening address: it's time for the tech community to come together and each addresses the widening income gap in the city. San Francisco is the city where tech stuff happens, but there are now protests about the way techies work, and even the way techies go to work (Google buses controversy).

And indeed when the BART went on strike, techies of the valley barely felt a pinch, when the rest of the peninsula lined up for MUNIs, ferries, and even cable cars to get by.

There was a simple call to action: omakase's charitable donation drive came right after the speech. Donate now, and even label what we donate or volunteer for - show that we care.

The Crunchies helps a little. Ron Conway specifically called that no one is exempted: we each needs to do our share. Before we go build a tech utopia, we need to think about the rest of the society, and what would happen to it, if we unilaterally decide our course of action.

Don't forget, when we unplug from the society we also unplug from our users. Not a single award winner tonight failed to acknowledge its users. In a tech utopia, we have Steve Jobs, Crunchies founders, but do we have users, consumers, investors and ... electricity? There may be a significance that Edward Snowden won a Crunchies award. Or is there?

Machine Learning with Emoji for Fun?

Here's an interesting idea. Explain Machine Learning with Emojis! It's not trivial to convey complex ideas with symbols but it is a ...