Category: Programming

Self Employed In 90 Days

Hello,

I’m Sean Witzke, and I’m a music producer, videographer, photography, and all around media enthusiast. 90 days ago I cancelled my Netflix subscription, and set out on a journey to upgrade my personal skill set, become self employed, and in the end foster a lifestyle of learning and creativity versus consumption and laziness. In turn, I exchanged my Netflix subscription for a Lynda.com subscription; a website which develops university level online tutorial videos (photography, videography, music production, photoshop, autocad etc.). This website gave me the platform to help achieve my goals, and in the end, I achieved them.

What started off as a personal experiment, trying to teach myself how to program, turned into a full on lifestyle change through pursuing business opportunities, learning new skills, and overall being more prone to take risks and adventure out into the world. I can say that I’ve accomplished more than I ever have within 90 days. I went on multiple road trips across the coast of Oregon, and British Columbia; both endowed with amazing scenery and photographic inspiration… upgraded my video production arsenal far beyond what I thought I would personally own at this point in my life… founded my own video production company which currently specializes in wedding videography, Small City Film… and built a hefty portfolio in both videography and photography.

A Change In Direction

I look back now, and it’s interesting to see where this journey has led me. My original intent was to learn different programming languages, and see where that would take me in the world of technology, but after multiple nights on Lynda.com, I began watching tutorials on video production; more then I planned. I started growing more in my confidence as a videographer, throwing myself into new opportunities, and taking on projects I thought were once out of my reach. Overtime, I started filming more and more, and eventually landed multiple wedding video gigs over the summer. My goal at becoming self employed grew far closer then it ever did with programming, and so the switch was made.

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Day 47: The Case For The Visual Learner

In regards to getting a grasp on programming fundamentals, Objective-C has been a lot easier to learn then PHP. Not necessarily the programming language (all though it is more readable), but the fact that everyone who’s coding with Objective-C is using the same developing environment; Xcode. A developing environment is a piece of software that has all the capabilities for reading, writing, and compiling code built into it, along with a graphical user interface builder (and many other tools). To create any sort of program or application that will run on iOS or OS X, you’ll need to use Xcode. Some might say that’s very crippling for developers, but I think it’s the one reason that made the AppStore take off, and has made learning Objective-C a lot easier for me, then PHP.

Consistency While Learning

I tend to leap onto “industry standard” programs, just because I learn better on more widely adopted technology, because it’s a lot easier to learn when everyone is using the same technology/program, and platform. Inherently, widely adopted technology makes for easier learning when surfing the web. If I’m watching a tutorial on Lynda.com one day, and then watching another tutorial on YouTube the other day… when both tutorials are using the same platform i.e Xcode, or Pro Tools, or Premiere Pro… it makes it a lot easier to learn and build off of content from multiple areas on the web.

When I was just getting into audio engineering (around the age of 13), I had some entry level software to do all my mixing and editing on. I remember at the time, searching for tutorials and guides was brutal! There were a lot of videos out there on Pro Tools, and Logic, but watching them, and then looking at my software trying to translate what I was learning was hard and inefficient. While I was learning some core concepts of PHP, different tutorials would be using different code editors,  colours, fonts, and sometimes operating systems based off of the time they were recorded at. You might think these are all peripheral things, but when it comes down to it, visual learning works best when the visuals remain consistent.

“Free”dom For Programmers

So far, every tutorial I’ve watched on Objective-C has been coupled with Xcode, and that’s been extremely helpful when trying to remember the things I’ve watched. Now, opening up Xcode is a lot like replaying a tutorial I’ve watched in my mind, just because that was where I was first acquainted with it. Not everyone has this luxury, mainly because not all IDE’s are free like Xcode. You could be watching a great tutorial on C++ in Microsoft Visual Studio, but for someone who’s just learning to program, that might not be an initial product purchase you’d be willing to make. Then you’ll be in the same situation I was when I was 13; using some sort of entry level software, but watching tutorials on industry standard software. If you have a Mac, and a burning desire to learn some programming, then you have the ability to use a widely adopted language on a great platform for free; Objective-C and Xcode.

Day 40: People Over Personal Computers

An interview with Steve Jobs from 1995, while he was still working with Next, provided some insightful input into what it means for someone to become enticed with curiosity. You can skip to 9:20 and watch till about 18:00 to see what I’m talking about, but for the most part, the entire interview is fairly phenomenal.

Putting A Face On Learning

Previously in the interview, Job’s was speaking towards the fact that he almost had his creativity and zeal for learning beat out of him by the time he was in Grade 4. However, a certain teacher decided to give him one last chance, and that chance helped re-engage his drive and desire to learn. Jobs, then mentioned that machines cannot engage someone with curiosity as well as a person can.

Putting a face behind learning isn’t something we naturally tend to do. Most of the time when someone envisions what it means to learn it usually looks like sticking your head in a textbook, taking some tests, and getting a passing grade or degree. Yet rarely do we equate it with professors, teachers, educators, and mentors. Like I said in an early post… who are you surrounding yourself with? Are you approaching life with a sense that there is always something to be learned from somebody? Or do you just equate that with “school” or “education”, letting yourself off the hook from learning in any other facet of your life?

Don’t Waste Your Time

If you’re in high school or university right now, I’d encourage you to fully utilize the ability to speak personally with your professors. Pick their brains. Ask them about their successes and failures. They are there for a reason. Otherwise it would be no different then taking the class online. Most of the professors I’ve had while attending University said specifically that they could be off doing some other thing that would make a lot more money, but the truth is, they enjoy teaching; and they enjoy teaching those that want to learn, even more.

It thrills me to say that you can learn a lot of what your learning in University on Lynda.com, but it also saddens me that University has become no more then an experience that could be swapped for an online tutorial, and you can change that… just by opening your mouth, asking a few questions, and become someone who wants to learn from people while the ability is still there.

Day 38: Apple WWDC 2014, Swift, and OOP

Considering it’s mostly Apple technology that’s powering my creative pursuits (my MacBook, MacPro, Final Cut Pro X); whether it’s programming, editing video, or recording in my studio. I thought it’d only be appropriate to talk a little bit about Apple’s WWDC, mainly the release of their new programming language, Swift, and how that’s affecting my journey in the programming space.

What Is OOP

After finishing my first tutorial on the PHP programming language awhile back, I figured it’d be good to move into object oriented programming (OOP). Object-oriented programming is an approach to designing modular, reusable software systems. Instead of running a piece of code from the top-down on a script, OOP allows you to create objects the operate independently of procedural code. An online shopping system would have objects like shopping cart, customer, and product. Each object will have multiple methods that you can call upon at different times within your code. Productfor instance, might have different behaviours such as electronics, books, or kitchenware. This brings a sense of hierarchy, which in turn makes for more clean, readable, and manageable code… and for someone who’s just diving into programming, that’s always a plus.

OOP, iOS and Swift

iOS development uses the programming language Objective-C, an OOP language. I figured an exciting way to learn OOP, would be to dive into iOS development, and in turn, prepare myself to be able to take on the programming language, Swift, in the future. I’m a firm believer in remaining updated with the latest software, techniques, and hardware for whatever task it is that I’m working on. Seeing as how the iPhone and iPad are working even closer with desktop systems like OS X, it’s only reasonable to assume that the mobile development space is not even close to slowing down.

The following video is a basic look at the Xcode development software for Apple, and is one of the introductory lessons to the iOS App Development Essential Training course on Lynda.com.

Day 3: Anyone Can Learn To Code

The first course which I’ve been taking on Lynda.com is PHP With MySQL Essential Training. It’s a 14 hour course that dives into the history, and foundations of PHP, as well as the connectivity of MySQL with PHP, and the uses the two can have when working together.

What Is PHP

PHP is a server-sided web development language, meaning that it is independent of the user’s personal computer and browser. If a user who was browsing a webpage which had PHP coded into it, shutting down the web browser, or turning off the computer would not affect the PHP code, because it’s being run on a server independent from the user’s personal computer.

What Is MySQL

MySQL is one of the world’s most widely used open-source database management systems. A database management system is much like an excel spreadsheet, but instead of dealing with numbers (which is what spreadsheets are great for), a database deals with data. Data is stored information. It could be your account balance in your bank account, the photos you uploaded to Facebook, or the text messages that are stored “in the cloud.”

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