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Stephanie Lage Frantz
Stephanie Lage Frantz

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CodeMash 2020 Recap: A Newb's Highlight Reel

It was my first time ever experiencing CodeMash: and I'd have to say: I thoroughly enjoyed every moment. I want to take this chance to present a highlight reel, as seen from a newb's perspective.

CodeMash Newb

The ribbon labeled "Newb" provided an easy-opener to any conversation: "So, this is your first codemash?" The venue was amazing: the sessions, the hotel, the food, and more. I am so grateful that I got to kick off my year with some awesome training sessions: when in tech, the learning never stops.

Made it to #codemash!!

— Stephanie (@handsomezebra) January 7, 2020

Day 1: Precompiler Sessions

Hacking Your Emotional API: Emotional Intelligence in Practice

.. with John Sawers @johnksawers and Aaron Aldrich @crayzeigh was how I started my first day at CodeMash. This was a great soft-skills session that took a 4 hour dive into EQ (Emotional Intelligence), how to express feelings, and non-violent communication often in relation to the workplace. Practicing skills in a group was really effective, from my point of view. Despite the large crowd, I found it very effective to have open conversations and examples of the stages with observations, feelings, needs and requests. The speakers were compassionate and made the first session of my first CodeMash very memorable.

Get Up And Running Quickly with Vue.js

... led by Burton Smith @stuffbreaker was hands-on technical learning at a relatively fast pace: and I loved it. Prior to this session, I hadn't done more than just poke it with a stick to see what it could do. Vue.js is a middle ground between Angular and React in regards to the learning curve. Angular can offer a strong typescript based javascript framework backed by Google. React is a few years newer than Angular, developed by Facebook, and is lightweight, non-browser specific and uses a virutal DOM. Vue is even newer still, and it's framework seems to adapt many of the beloved attributes from both React and Angular. Vue is lightweight, offers better performance than Angular, and it's flexible like React. Vue.js is quite beloved by those who use it: so I decided to give this class a try!

That's what she said... #100daysofcode #VueJS #codemash

— Stephanie (@handsomezebra) January 7, 2020

Day 2: Round Two of the Precompiler Sessions

Building Quality JavaScript with Test-Driven Development

... with Steven Hicks @pepopowitz. I have written code.. I have written tests.. But I've never done test-driven development. I loved how this session was very intuitive and it encouraged us to think in terms of "we need the program to test positive for X, Y, Z -- so we'll code for X, Y, Z". Learning TDD with Jest from Steven was spectacular -- It's a session I'm happy I attended as I'm already using this technique in my studies!

Awesome session on #TDD test driven design given by @pepopowitz at #codemash !

— Stephanie (@handsomezebra) January 8, 2020
Help Cure the #1 Leading Cause of Death in America

... or A Civic Developer's Quest to Change Healthcare (changed name of session just beforehand) with Luther Hill ( was the next session that I chose. Luther presented how to build a learning machine in an easily digestible format. I walked into this session thinking that training AI with datasets was something that was complicated, challenging and required a big brain to figure out... I was honestly expecting this to be a show-and-tell, high-level experience, but I was pleasantly surprised! Luther taught the class everything they needed to know, end to end, how to get into machine learning and build our own models. He touched on using kaggle for datasets, python for running the code, using jupyter notebooks, and running it all in google colabs with google drive as a server. Without a doubt, this was my favorite session of 2020.

Ready for an awesome session by Luther Hill on a Civic developer's quest to change healthcare!! #codemash

— Stephanie (@handsomezebra) January 8, 2020

I wrapped up the evening with some lightning talks!

My favorites were...

Lightning talks... This is an awesome way to wrap up the evening! #codemash

— Stephanie (@handsomezebra) January 9, 2020

Day 3: The Real Convention Begins

Compared to the pre-compiler with two sessions per day, the next two days went blazing fast. Hallways were lined with sponsors, classrooms were full up and conversations were always bubbling.

Capture The Flag: How CTF Competitions make you a better developer

Watch the recording here:

... with John Joerner @johnkoerner

With my hubby in IT security and my interests with development, I can't wait until we take on our first CTF. As John went over in his session, I recognized the value of finding ways to attack; but also taking notes on ways to defend while developing.

Why CTF can make you a better developer talk by @johnkoerner , starting now at #codemash !

— Stephanie (@handsomezebra) January 9, 2020
Postman Delivers! A deep dive into API Testing

... with Bob Crowley @contrivedex

Watch the recording here:

At my day job, there are only a handful of people on my team that use postman... What about me? You guessed it, I'm one of them. Products that are live to customers, but the internal process isn't 100% developed requires some manual API pushes. I really enjoyed this session and learned a couple features that I hadn't used before.

Ready for Postman API testing deep dive by @contrivedex at #codemash!

— Stephanie (@handsomezebra) January 9, 2020
Javascript: the grumpy parts

... with Rob Rich @rob_rich

Watch the recording here:

I am SO fond of javascript... and this session really affirmed my love of it (especially while hearing all of the groans throughout the room). We ran through some lines of code as the compiler, but adjusted on order of lines or usage of var/let/const: the vast differences of expected vs reality shines a light on the grumpy parts of javascript.

Fun fact: Javascript was created in 10 days.

"What's the difference between Java and JavaScript? Well, it's like the difference between Car and Carpet." @rob_rich #codemash

— Stephanie (@handsomezebra) January 9, 2020
App Deco: Applied Design Thinking for Secure Development

... with Wolf Goerlich @jwgoerlich

Wolf walked us through a few recent experiences as an advisory CISO in regards to app design. The biggest takeaway for me was, as I tweeted, "Constraints cause creative people...creative people cause security problems." I feel this sentence in the core of my being... being both that creative person AND the person who needs to defend against other creative people: this talk really hit home for me. Locking down processes or security and NOT causing those creative people to come out of the woodwork is a challenge that developers need to consider.

"Constraints cause creative people... Creative people cause security problems." @jwgoerlich 's talk about app design and security at #codemash was excellent.

— Stephanie (@handsomezebra) January 9, 2020

The remaining of the evening was filled with events like casino and carnival games, dessert bar, karaoke, jam sessions and a full waterpark party... and for me: an evening of introverted quiet-time in my hotel room with some pizza and ice cream.

Day 4: The Last Day

The best code is code never written

Watch the recording here:

... with Daniel Davis @daniel_davis

When I first started programming, I can remember bragging to my family "I wrote 1,200 lines of code today!!" -- I look at that statement today and I cringe!

Daniel provided an awesome perspective with "You aren't gunna need it", "Not invented here" (beg, borrow, steal, cheat to win), "Keep it stupid simple", "Fake it till you make it" and more. Putting all of these ideas and techniques together in one session was fantastic.

Really excited for this talk.. the best code is code never written with @daniel_davis at #codemash

— Stephanie (@handsomezebra) January 10, 2020
Burn it down and start again: principles of modern javascript

Watch the recording here:

...with Joe Morgan (author of Simplifying Javascript)@Joesmorgan

Pairing this session with the "grumpy parts" session yesterday was excellent. Joe went in depth with some of the modern principles, ways to make your code predictable, readable, simple and flexible.

Bottom line, though? The best code is the best code for your team.

Burning things down? JavaScript? You've got my interest for sure ... @joesmorgan at #codemash

— Stephanie (@handsomezebra) January 10, 2020

I'm loving this already... Starting with JavaScript and Picasso, side by side. As an art student AND a developer, this makes my soul sing. @joesmorgan at #codemash

— Stephanie (@handsomezebra) January 10, 2020
Explain it to me like I'm 5: Oauth2 and OpenID

Watch the recording here:

... with Daniel Mikusa @dmikusa

One of the things on my "want to learn it" list is getting an OpenID SSO integrated in one of my personal projects. I'm not a security pro - so I wanted to start at base level to get some knowledge: Daniel was awesome with his session, comparing each step of security with a literal world of a 5 year old! Things like remembering my jacket, going to my locker, and even getting lunch from the lunch lady were all compared to authorization codes, grant types and scopes!

Next up is going to be excellent.. I love that it's not "crash course", but instead "explain it to me kind I'm five" for Oauth 2@dmikusa at #codemash

— Stephanie (@handsomezebra) January 10, 2020
Calculating insulin with automated carb counting using AI, ML and web bluetooth

... by Todd Sharp @recursivecodes

Todd's session was excellent: design by necessity! When faced with a challenge like diabetes, and recognizing that it can be maintained via numbers & lifestyle awareness: tackle it with tech. I've said this before to my peers many times: we're clever, we're smart, and if we started to tackle issues with tech, I bet we could change the world. Todd is doing just that: and he's starting right at home.

This season by @recursivecodes about diabetes and tech really hit home for me... I've got many fam and friends that have diabetes... This is going to be an awesome session at #codemash

— Stephanie (@handsomezebra) January 10, 2020
Recognize programmer burnout: how to recognize and avoid it

Watch the recording here:

... with @_s_hari

I feel like the meme "oh ha ha, I do that" could have been posted on the door as we all walked in. Something that stuck with me is a story that Santosh shared: He created an app that sent an alert via Slack whenever a bug came in... and that chime haunts him to this day. That resonated with me so much..

Some tips for reducing burnout?

  • Understand your role
  • Reduce multitasking
  • Learn to say NO
  • Reduce social media usage and notifications
  • Get a life outside of work
  • Get exercise and sleep

Full room for an awesome talk by @_s_hari #codemash ... The reality of burnout! This one really hits home for me... (And with people lined up along the wall, I know I'm not alone)

— Stephanie (@handsomezebra) January 10, 2020

I'm so excited that I was able to experience CodeMash 2020: I brought home a lot of knowledge (and a lot of swag) and I can't wait until next year!

Parting is such sweet sorrow! See you next year, #codemash !!

— Stephanie (@handsomezebra) January 10, 2020

Check out all of the other sessions that were recorded here:

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