Where to Begin: Solve a Problem that You Know Well

In this post, Kerry Sheldon describes her personal project from module 3 of our Back-End program. With this project, Kerry was one of the winners in our first Demo Competition Finals. Our next Demo Competition Finals will be held on Thursday, October 6th. Stay tuned for a meet-up announcement! I enrolled at the Turing School of Software and Design because my “ideas" notebook in Evernote had become a virtual graveyard. I couldn’t bear to open it; the gulf between my skills and ambitions was too large. In the five months I’ve been at Turing, I flexed a lot of muscles that I hadn’t used in a long time. But one remained relatively dormant. My “idea" muscles were atrophying. At the end of Turing’s third module (the program consists of four 6-week modules), students work on a self-directed individual project. I wanted to build something with immediate utility. I needed an idea that didn’t require a client or organizational owner, or depend on a network of users in order to be useful. I wasn’t ready to face the Evernote notebook, but I could solve a problem that I’d been having. I built CodePoints as a productivity app for beginning programmers that allows users to set small weekly practice goals for focused programming skills they want to develop. Users log their practice sessions from the web app or from a companion command line app. The app tracks practice activities by skill, has a point system that rewards goal achievement, and provides data on practice sessions for a variety of time periods. User’s current week dashboard of goals and logged practice sessions Before I came to Turing, I made a few attempts to teach myself to program. I was awed and excited by the large and growing number of free (or affordable) resources...
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