Every time I start a new project with a new team, I re-examine what it means to be “technical.” Am I, I am, am I, I am, am I technical?

Over the last 5ish years, I’ve dabbled in (and quit) more coding courses online than I care to admit (or can even count). I always hit the same hurdle of really wanting to understand the taxonomy and key components of any given programming language before I can progress. I get stuck on a practice question or activity and don’t want to go to a group of strangers in a community on Slack or Discord to try to work through where I’m stuck. 

I started CS50X some years back, have gone to in-person weekend coding intros a couple of times focused on JavaScript and Ruby, enrolled online in Python courses, HTML and CSS, SQL many moons ago, and blockchain development more recently, and it doesn’t matter the platform, company, or language. I invested in and completed a live online course in XR development with Unity (augmented and virtual reality), hoping that might help me get to the other side, but based on the structure of the course and lack of teaching expertise, I found I would have been better off saving my money. 

I keep starting, though, and when I have a meaningful project I want to complete, I’ll at times power through the hurdles and hours and weeks to get a result.

Some of my proudest moments include a random collection of things.

  • A few years ago, for example, I really wanted to be able to use Google Cloud Private (GCP) to be able to generate a transcript from an audio file for my husband’s podcast. As a self-funded project, paying for transcripts was less than ideal, but the accessibility and SEO benefits of being able to share them were incredibly important. While I hit a wall with the human-readable part, I was able to create a GCP project and make use of Google’s Speech-to-Text API piecing together several YouTube videos and written tutorials to produce a JSON file. I can still picture and feel my excitement at the time after the many hours-long effort. 
  • Last summer, it took me weeks to set up multiple crypto wallets to be able to design and mint an NFT. A year later, I now rely on MoonPay as the most uncomplicated way to get funds to my wallets.  
  • A couple of years ago, my oldest son and I again relied on YouTube videos to build a gaming PC. 
  • I now have several years of administering WordPress sites including registering domains, launching sites on various hosts, updating DNS settings, and setting up new email. (My favorite managed WordPress host is Kinsta. Their content is fantastic, even if you don’t sign up for hosting. I have found answers to nearly all of my troubleshooting efforts on WP over the last couple of years in Kinsta articles.)
  • Many many moons ago, I taught myself how to do automated UI testing using a tool called iMacros
  • And while in the same role doing automated underwriting for life insurance, I’d also occasionally use tools to scan through JSON and XML files to identify code issues in a rules engine
    • I developed complex logic related to co-morbid conditions
    • I reverse engineered and documented an entire underwriting calculator
  • I occasionally set up processes to pull from RSS feeds to post automatically on Slack channels so I can monitor client updates in the media
  • I’ve created some things exploring the use of NFC tags
  • I am the family CTO who resolves computer speed issues and removes malware from my family’s computers, sets up multi-factor authentication, encourages my kiddos to actually read through terms and conditions, and keeps reinforcing the idea that anything shared on the internet will always be on the internet (accessible in some form)
  • I’ve dabbled in Tableau and layered data sets on top of each other to try to figure out where to move
  • I once upgraded the hard drive and memory on an old Macbook Pro
  • I’ve explored how to repurpose an old iMac into a second display
  • I can automate file modifications in Photoshop

So, yeah, I think I am am I technical. Maybe somewhat. Maybe just technical. I’ve earned it.

Photo by Levi Loot on Unsplash