Why I chose to study software engineering

feet of ballet dancer en pointe
feet of ballet dancer en pointe
Photo by J. Gwyn Rainey — http://www.jgwynphotography.com/

“You’re doing WHAT, now?”

After concluding my career as a professional ballerina earlier this year, I traded in my pointe shoes for a keyboard and embarked on my next chapter. To the surprise of my former colleagues, I am now on the path to becoming a software engineer. Swapping out my tutu for ternary operators might seem like a big leap, but it’s been my plan all along.

Getting Started

My high school offered a series of web design courses, and I enjoyed every single one. I spent two years learning the basics of HTML, CSS, Flash, and Photoshop. I loved the creativity that it gave me, with open-ended assignments like: “Make a website about your favorite superhero.” I spent hours finding just the right color palette and fonts to make my project pop. We were provided access to some WYSIWYG tools like Dreamweaver to simplify the process, but I preferred manually coding in a plain notepad file and bringing the simple text to life on my own. …

Spice up your forms

A number of notebooks neatly organized by color.
A number of notebooks neatly organized by color.
Photo by Maarten van den Heuvel on Unsplash

Imagine using the internet today without signing into a single website — that means no social media, no email, and no online banking. Almost everything a user does on the internet now requires creating an account and interacting with a form, making them one of the most important elements of the modern internet. Wouldn’t it be nice if yours didn’t look so stale?

If you’re familiar with forms, feel free to jump down to the bottom of the page to see how to spice up your forms.

Basic Forms

<form action = "/signup" method = "post">
<p>Name: <input type = "text" name = "name"></p>
<p>Favorite Season:
<input type = "radio" name = "season" value = "spring">
<label for = "spring">Spring</label>
<input type = "radio" name = "season" value = "summer">
<label for = "summer">Summer</label>
<input type = "radio" name = "season" value = "fall">
<label for = "fall">Fall</label>
<input type = "radio" name = "season" value = "winter">
<label for = "winter">Winter</label>
<p>Favorite Color:
<select name = "color">
<option value = "red">Red</option>
<option value = "orange">Orange</option>
<option value = "yellow">Yellow</option>
<option value = "green">Green</option>
<option value = "blue">Blue</option>
<option value = "indigo">Indigo</option>
<option value = "violet">Violet</option>
<p>Favorite Animal:
<input type = "text" name = "animal">
<p><input type = "submit" value = "Create User"></p>…

The best way to remove characters from a string with Ruby

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Félix Prado on Unsplash

Sometimes in life, you’ve got to take what you can get. This is certainly true when it comes to dealing with APIs — particularly if you are like me and many other fledgling developers who chose to use a freely available API for one of your first projects. I leveraged the TVmaze API to provide data for my CLI App, Telly-Ho. My goal was to help someone find their next television show by filtering a collection of shows by their genre and displaying each show’s summary to the user. Overall, I found this API to be very user friendly and easy to work with. As I’ve quickly discovered, in computer programming, there’s always going to be some little “gotcha!” …


Rebecca Hickson

Ballerina turned software engineer

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