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…


Photo by Sereja Ris on Unsplash

Hi there, my name is Rebecca Hickson. I’m a software engineer and a 2021 Flatiron graduate. If you’re about to start a coding bootcamp or are wondering whether that’s the right path for you, I hope you find these takeaways from my own experience helpful.

Coding bootcamps are a great launchpad for a career in tech, but they are certainly not a walk in the park. Out of my cohort, only about half of the students that I started with will be graduating on time — some may graduate later, and some may choose to withdraw from the program. That…


Photo by Didssph on Unsplash

Although it can be easy to get lost while exploring deeply nested objects, sometimes they’re the best route to take. Based on my own (often frustrating) experience with them, I’ve put together a map to get you on the right track. This guide will walk you through using a React/Redux frontend to work with your Rails API backend.

The Setup


Photo by Daniele Levis Pelusi on Unsplash

As humans, we love the idea of unlimited choices, but we often don’t love the reality of it. If you’ve ever spent a frustrating evening playing “Where do you want to go for dinner?” (to which the only answer is “I don’t know, where do you want to go for dinner?”), you have experienced this first-hand. We never want our users to feel paralyzed by indecision.

There are some ways to shape our code to help guide our users towards the input we would like to get from them, which I like to think of as the ‘bowling bumper’ approach…


Photo by DESIGNECOLOGIST on Unsplash

Imagine the internet without any graphics. You can’t go on Facebook to see your 2nd cousin’s best friend’s new baby, you can’t scroll through Instagram for the 46th time today, and memes? never heard of them! Images are integral to our enjoyment of websites and applications, so if you are a fledgling Rails developer it is no surprise that you would want to include them in your project. However if you ask your favorite search engine for advice, you can easily be overwhelmed with options. …


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…


The best way to remove characters from a string with Ruby

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…

Rebecca Hickson

Ballerina turned software engineer

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