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DC-based software engineer, motivated by the power of technology as a tool for positive change / caitlinfloyd.com

Lessons learned about how best to contribute to a software engineering team

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Our team of four software developers met weekly with our mentors as we worked to develop a smart shopping app. Our mentors, experienced…


A small mindset shift that can make a huge difference

View the job interview process primarily as a learning experience, and secondarily as an opportunity to get a job.

This is of course much easier said than done, and not everyone has the luxury of approaching the job hunt this way; but in my experience the more I was able to make this mindset shift, the happier and more successful I was in my job…


Using Javascript, React, and Gatsby

Getting Started


Reflecting on the process of developing Couch Potato

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Working on Couch Potato was a huge learning opportunity for our team. It was one of our first times developing a project from scratch, without any kind of starting template. To face such a daunting challenge and be able to create a product we can stand behind and use regularly was extremely rewarding and empowering.

Successes

Overall, the single feature we are proudest of is the synchronized play/pause across Couch Potato users. As Grace mentioned in her comparison of Couch Potato to Hulu Watch Party, even Hulu’s official social distance viewing solution does not include this feature. This feature undoubtedly took…


Utilizing the new GitHub profile readme feature

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Before getting started, make sure you have optimized your GitHub profile as it currently exists. Edit your profile to include a brief bio, and some additional information such as your city and a relevant link (such as your LinkedIn profile). Add a professional…


How we incorporated feedback to improve the user experience

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Based on the feedback from our users, we identified a few areas for potential improvement. First of all, while some users found our extension to be intuitive to use, others were less confident and felt they could have benefitted from more explicit instructions. While reviewing this feedback, we realized there were actually two separate problems being described. Some users were unfamiliar with Chrome extensions in general, and others were confused by…


Adapting our coding workflow for WFH

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So far in this blog series, we have detailed the technical challenges we faced in creating Couch Potato, the Chrome Extension we developed allowing users to stream video content together remotely. We wanted to pause now to address the physical challenge we faced in unexpectedly having to develop our project remotely.

Our team (and the rest of our cohort) had signed up for a 13-week in-person coding bootcamp. At the end of the eighth week, we were told that we would temporarily be going remote in response to public health concerns. …


How we began utilizing React libraries to optimize our Chrome Extension

After working through the challenges of converting our code to React, we were eager to incorporate all the additional functionality that React allowed.

To begin, we created React components to allow users to start or join “couches” (chat rooms) upon launching the extension. Utilizing React components for this purpose allowed for more modular and cleaner code. Notably, it also allowed users to navigate to their target couch through a single page application-style div element. By avoiding the need to navigate through separate pages in this way, we prevented any unnecessary interruptions to the user’s web player.

We designed our “home…


How we began the process of developing a Chrome Extension allowing multiple users to stream video content together remotely

So you’ve decided to create a piece of technology that lets people watch shows together from the comfort of their own homes and chat while doing so. Where do you start? That’s the daunting question we faced when deciding to create Couch Potato for our bootcamp’s Capstone project.

Once we had a clear vision of what we wanted our product to be, we knew pretty immediately that we would be most effective with a Chrome extension, since this would allow us to overlay the chat next to the user’s streaming content and also pull information about the user’s streaming activity…


Why I’m passionate about software engineering

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I recently graduated from coding bootcamp at the Grace Hopper Program at Fullstack Academy of Code in New York City, and am now in the process of relocating to Washington, DC and looking for a job in software development. Admittedly, it’s not the greatest time to be entering the job market or moving out of state, but this experience has made me extremely grateful to be entering a growing, innovative, and resilient field which has done so much to solve unexpected problems that have arisen during this pandemic.

Part of what initially drew me to become a software engineer was…

Caitlin Floyd

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