Baby Steps into Tech

By Melanie Chongolola-Nestor

September 24, 2015

Melanie here. As you may know I’m the newest member of the YIKES team, and my experience in tech before joining YIKES was pedestrian at best. I’ve never had a problem navigating my own personal path through the internet; I have a LinkedIn, Instagram, iPhone, I’m a former Facebook and Twitter user. I’ve always known which app to use to get what I wanted from the internet, and I can download and upload with the best of them.

My role as Account Manager and Office Administrator for YIKES is to handle our clients’ accounts, make sure the day-to-day operations of the office run smoothly and ensure that the developers and web designers have what they need to get their jobs done. But how could I join such a dynamic office and not want to learn more about web design and development?

So I’m rolling up my sleeves and diving into the world of code. Gives you the chills, no? On one hand there is a specific framework that you must master if you want what you created to work, but on the other there is virtually no limit to what you can design online. If you can imagine it, I’m sure there is a way to code it.

So that’s the best way to begin? I’ll share with you what YIKES has given me thus far.

Online learning:  Treehouse is a great place to begin. The courses are taught by professionals from all over the country and you can learn at your own pace, and follow your own curriculum. There are loads of reference resources throughout the videos and transcripts, and an online community to ask questions and seek answers.

Casual classes: Meetup.com is the newest site in my vernacular. From the meetup site you can find similar interest groups in your region, sign up for classes taught by local professionals and find other people with the same level of understanding as you. Here are the best meetup.com groups for Tech in the Philadelphia area (you may have to make a meetup.com profile to view all of the links to groups below).

  • Girl Develop It: Teaching Women to Code!
  • #TechinColor: Meets to mix, mingle, and network among Philadelphia’s vast and diverse technology community.
  • WordPress Philly: Meetings cover a variety of topics including WordPress usage, designing WordPress Themes and styles, creating WordPress Plugins and Widgets, and using WordPress to its full potential.
  • Technical.ly Philly: Events explore how the local tech community is impacting job growth/retention, digital access/education and government/policy reform in Philadelphia.
  • Tech in Motion: A place for technology professionals who wouldn’t normally cross paths to meet, collaborate, and learn about what their peers are doing across the city

Networking events: Philly Tech Week is a great place to meet people. Depending on where you live, networking events can be every day and plenty. Check with the local tech companies and universities to find out if there are any events open to the public. Local entities, like libraries, often host public events too. But if you’re really far out in the sticks the next option is the closest thing to face-to-face meetings.

Social media: Twitter has become the first page for the internet. News breaks on Twitter, gossip starts on Twitter, and people make-up and break-up on Twitter. But Twitter isn’t just celebrity drama and navel-gazing. A lot of tech leaders and tech companies will announce events, job postings, share relevant articles and connect with new talent on Twitter. I guess it’s time for me to dust off my old Twitter handle and join the coding revolution.

Good luck! And remember to have fun.

WordCamp Philly 2014

By Jodie Riccelli

June 11, 2014

This past weekend, YIKES had the pleasure of being a sponsor for WordCamp Philly. WordCamps are informal, community-organized events that are put together by WordPress users. Everyone from casual bloggers to core developers can participate, share ideas and get to know each other.

This year nearly 400 were in attendance on Saturday to navigate through over 30 different sessions that covered everything from the basics of setting up WordPress to automating theme development.

WordPretzels from Center City Pretzel Factory
WordPretzels from Center City Pretzel Factory

Friday kicked off the weekend with the speakers dinner at Moriarty’s in center city. This was an opportunity for all those presenting to meet one another or perhaps catch up from previous WordCamps. On Saturday morning the events began bright and early at 8am. This year WordCamp was held at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Attendees were greeted with “W” shaped pretzels from Center City Pretzel factory in South Philadelphia! Ice cream straight from the famous Franklin Fountain in Old City ended up being the perfect afternoon treat. Attendees got to sample a variety of flavors of the local favorite.

WordCamp is typically broken down into four different tracks: User, Power User, Designer, and Developer. This year also included two breakout panels and a keynote address from Helen Hou-Sandi. Helen is the Director of Platform Experience at 10up, a WordPress core committer and the WordPress 4.0 release lead.

Helen receiving her WordPress pillow from the folks at YIKES.
Helen receiving her WordPress pillow from the folks at YIKES.

Tracy giving her presentation
Tracy giving her presentation

YIKES, Inc. co-owner, Tracy Levesque, gave her presentation “6 Ways to Up Your Theme Game” as part of the Designer track. There were many presenters and all were great. It was a full house for most sessions. If you are curious about the other presentations, the day’s schedule is still online. Search #WCPhilly on social media for great tips and tricks!

The day ended with a farewell from the organizers, Brad and April Williams, Doug Stewart, Reed Gustow and Liam Dempsy. We want to thank them and all the volunteers for their hard work organizing a great event.

After the closing remarks it was off to the Girl Develop IT and YIKES happy hour at Khyber Pass Pub. Can you say bacon grease popcorn? Yum! They provided great cocktails, beer and snacks for a hungry bunch. Everyone got a chance to catch up from the day and get ready for the after party at Buffalo Billiards. Drinks were poured, pool was played, and friendships were solidified.

Sunday was Dev Day and was held at City CoHo Philly Nexus. Dev day is a chance to contribute to projects and WordPress core. Here Tracy and a team of brilliant people got to work on the WordPress training initiative.

Team Training getting it done.
Team Training getting it done.

And that is a wrap from WordCamp Philly 2014. We will see you next year!