Making society more equitable through expanded access to STEM education

America is burning.

The compounding effects of an incredibly incendiary, divisive, and volatile presidency, trade wars, war wars, a global pandemic, the geopolitical and economic fallout resulting in the highest unemployment rates in the US since the Great Depression, added to the backdrop of the worst wealth disparity in modern history, and now the greatest Civil — really HUMAN — Rights Movement the world has ever seen, have added up to the perfect storm that will no longer allow us to ignore the festering wounds we’ve refused to address for decades.

This is a fire cleanse.

I could write an…

How to add dark mode to your React apps

While working on my personal portfolio page, I’ve spent a fair amount of time learning about the latest, most hyped, seriously mind-blowing subject in web development: dark mode. Why it took us 50 years to come up with this concept, I’m not entirely sure, but now that we finally figured it out, it’s here to stay since it’s objectively superior to bright white pages blinding you during your 3am browsing adventures. Darker colors, problem solved. Who knew?

There are several way to write dark mode into your React app, you can use styled components, but I’ve found use-dark-mode by Donavon…

A quick what, why, and how of Scrum

If you’ve never worked on a dev team or in a structured corporate environment before, you likely don’t really know what Scrum is and the prospect of diving into it can feel somewhat daunting. I was recently lucky enough to attend a webinar on the basics hosted by Dan Eberle (Agile Coach, New York Times) and get a comprehensive introduction to Scrum — what it is, why you should know it, and how it improves efficiency and quality of your work.

The What

Scrum is a simple framework created to facilitate a more agile workflow across teams, including large cross…

… or so I thought.

This past week I applied for a job, had a great first round chat, and was sent a code challenge. Simple JS, some files provided, some basic methods for me to complete, no biggie. Let me send it right back to y — oh.

Lots of code, a detailed README, a deck of cards needs to be shuffled and dealt to several players, the details of how to achieve both were up to me. I was told there was no rush to return the challenge, so I took my time combing through the files, read every line of code, took…

… but what should you focus on next?

Whether you taught yourself through online courses, tinkering, and programming books over the course of years or went through an immersive software engineering bootcamp in just a few short months, you’re gonna get to the point where you have basic proficiency but aren’t entirely sure what next steps to take. Build large-scale projects to deploy? Mess around with a bunch of smaller programs to add a bigger variety of technologies to your repertoire? Work through data structure courses and leetcode until your eyes bleed?

The answer is yes.

Most coding bootcamps equip you with an extensive roadmap on how to…

How to get started unit testing your JavaScript code

Testing your code is one of the more intimidating parts of programming for beginners, it can be difficult to even figure out what to test, let alone how to do it. Most development courses will provide tests along with the challenges you need to solve so you never get to work directly with testing until you finish the material and are out in the scary big world of code on your own.

Let’s break it down: testing simply means comparing your code’s output with the expectations for your code. Input is put in, output is put out, the test gives…

Building a team, cook time: 3–11 minutes

Anyone can learn to code. No really, anyone. Since the pandemic started and New York City schools closed in March, I’ve been spending many of my lunch hours teaching 4th graders to program games and web apps, both in text-based languages like JS and Ruby using my own projects to explain core concepts, and in visual programming languages like Blockly, through educational sites offering courses specifically designed for young learners. The kids understand the technical content just fine, even fairly complex issues like inheritance or state, they ask great questions, and have built fun little projects together. Some of them…

Major security flaws and deliberate exploitation strategies in our most popular apps

People like free stuff. Love it, actually. That quality is one of our greatest exploitable weaknesses, luring us into traps time and time again. Combine that weakness with our desperate and increasing need for instant gratification, and you got yourself a data mining gold rush, severed fingers and all. Most people don’t spend much time thinking about why products might be free and download those apps with reckless abandon. The nightmare scenario. If you’re reading this, you’re hopefully somewhat familiar with the concept of “being the product” and I will save us all the intro.

“In the future that the…

VS Code extensions to make the JavaScript life a little easier

If you haven’t spent any time customizing your text editor, now is the time. Below you’ll find a short list of my favorite extensions that’ll make your life much easier.

1. Live Server

This extension will automatically apply all changes to your document in the current browser window, without manual page reload. Saved you roughly a million clicks just now and we’re only on the first one!

While attending Flatiron School, the most valuable lesson I have learned is to not quit. I’ve run into many, many obstacles, academically, financially, and privately. I’ve cried many rage tears, and I’ve pushed through crushing defeat. I’m used to excelling rather effortlessly and trying to learn to code has served as a hard reality check on many occasions. There’s no effortless understanding, there’s only trial and error and incremental progress adding up to real accumulation of hard skills over time. You have to grind away at the problems and sometimes, no matter how hard you try and no matter how…

Kat Maldon

Software Engineer. Creature of Havoc.

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