Amberley Romo

MakerSquare Week 2: Blur

January 17, 2016

It’s becoming quite apparent that although I’m totally wiped, this experience is going to be over far too quickly. I can’t believe that two weeks have gone by. I’ve learned more in the last two weeks than I have in… I don’t know how long. It’s incredible what people are capable of in such short spans of time.

We were exposed to so many interesting things this week. For me, by far, the most compelling section was exploring the D3.js library.

D3.js is a JavaScript library for manipulating documents based on data. D3 helps you bring data to life using HTML, SVG, and CSS. D3’s emphasis on web standards gives you the full capabilities of modern browsers without tying yourself to a proprietary framework, combining powerful visualization components and a data-driven approach to DOM manipulation.

The interesting stuff being done with data visualization was actually a huge part of me making the leap to MakerSquare. While helping manage several incredible, interesting data-visualization-focused projects, I always wished I were instead able to contribute to them technically — both in terms of managing and manipulating the data, and in the presentation and interaction.

I was surprised to find how relatively prepared I felt to dig into it. I’ve only scratched the surface, certainly, but working with it no longer seems insurmountably daunting.

It was also one of my most interesting, constructive, difficult, and fun pair experiences. I was initially hesitant to pair with my partner — it seemed intimidating to pair with someone who already had a pretty significant amount of engineering experience. How would I really contribute, if they already understood so much of it? How would they get anything out of it?

This experience fed my main takeaways of this week:

  • It was highly presumptive to assume that I had any understanding of how they would feel about, or approach, partnering with someone with less technical experience relative to themselves. The program is just as much about learning to build strong teams and work effectively together. Not everyone has the exact same goals.
  • I learned so much about data manipulation. It was invaluable to be a part of the process of working through it with them, and learn more about the approach of really understanding and visualizing the shape of the data you’re working with.
  • This was already something I’m very sensitive to, but it was a huge reinforcement: Whenever you’re reacting in a certain way, more often than not it has more to do with what’s going on with you (and less to do with the other person), and even if it does or not, you have so much more control in the situation than you might think. A purposeful, mindful shift in your own mindset, particularly when you notice any kind of negative pattern, can fully transform the dynamic of a working relationship.
  • It’s not a bad thing that I have less experience than a particular person. Hopefully I’ll always be working with talented people that have more experience — all the better to learn and improve.
  • We did some really cool stuff, in a very short amount of time, and it was awesome. In general, I still feel this way most of the time…

…But I know that’s not actually what’s happening. (Or at least, that’s not all that’s happening).

Despite desperately needing both the rest — and the time to catch up on personal matters, — so far on Sundays (our only day off every week), I’m finding myself antsy to get back at it.

Next week’s short-term goals:

  • Write another blog post next week.
  • Recognize and disrupt negative patterns. This is just so vital to keep in mind, and makes such a difference.

Read "MakerSquare Week 3: Enter APIs".

© 2023 Amberley Romo