Meet Mariam

Hi Daily Zooniverse readers, my name is Mariam and I’m currently having fun working on zooniverse.org as the Web Developer intern!

My first encounter with code was with an organisation called Code First: Girls whilst studying Psychology at university. I completed their introductory course in web development and was instantly hooked. Coding felt incredibly empowering and enabled me to be as creative as I wanted – I could go from programming a robot to building a website to building an app, whenever and wherever. After graduating I began teaching myself how to code with the aim of becoming a fully fledged Developer. I used online resources and regularly attended meet-ups, workshops and conferences with organisations such as codebar, Code First: Girls and Node Girls. As you can imagine, being accepted onto this internship meant a great deal to me as I was eager to build upon my understanding of languages and technologies, and I’d heard such great things about the Zooniverse team.

During the past 3 weeks I have been working on getting up to speed with using Git and GitHub in a collaborative environment and issuing my first PR with Cam’s help, learning JavaScript through pair-programming sessions with Marten, inevitably experiencing ‘yak-shaving’ episodes, attending weekly Zoominars and working on mini projects such as updating content on the Team, Publications and Jobs pages on the main site.

My main challenge has been systematically thinking through code problems and writing their solutions. Cam has been helping me practise a method that includes extracting the nouns and verbs from problems, figuring out test inputs for the data structures, writing out pseudo-code and then testing my pseudo-code against the data structures before delving into writing any code. It may sound lengthy but with practise it will all become second nature. The method has definitely helped me better approach code challenges and feel less anxious when I come across them. In the upcoming weeks I will be moving on from learning JavaScript to putting it into practise on a larger project. I will also begin learning and working with Ruby on Rails.

It has been a jam-packed 3 weeks and I have enjoyed every moment of it! I feel very fortunate to have Zooniverse as my starting base into the realm of technology, not only because it is a brilliant cause but also because the team here are so welcoming and incredibly supportive. I’m very excited for the upcoming weeks and I hope to keep you up to date with my journey whilst at the Zooniverse.

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