About

Updated April 16, 2022

I'm Julia, the author and developer of this blog. I created this site in April 2021, but I've blogged sporadically on various platforms (Blogger, WordPress) since 2008. I've always enjoyed clarifying my own thoughts and sharing them with others.

To contact me, please send me an email. I'd love to hear from you!

Some links

A brief origin story

When I was a child, I thought I would be an English teacher and author "when I grew up". My best friend and I spent most of our time reading books, writing stories, and pretending to be Animorphs characters at recess. I also loved to use the computer, and my older sister and I learned HTML and CSS when I was 12 so that we could build our own Neopets graphics website.

In middle school, I had a conversation with my sister about what we wanted to do afterwards, and she told me that I couldn't be a teacher because she wanted to be one (fair enough). I didn't give it much further thought until grade 11, when I evaluated my favourite courses — English, journalism, sociology/anthropology/psychology, and computer science — and determined that computer science would probably be the best field to study at university. It seemed like the perfect middle ground for me: logical enough that you could reach a correct solution, creative enough that there were many ways to get there, and flexible enough to keep my career options open in the future.

Although I liked computer science, I wasn't excited about the prospect of studying it exclusively. Luckily, I heard about McMaster University's Arts & Science program from a family friend, and realized I could study computer science alongside all the arts and humanities courses that also interested me. The program ended up being an excellent fit for my academic interests and a tight-knit community where I met some amazing friends.

At the end of high school and the beginning of university, I didn't read much for fun and only posted on my blog occasionally – I felt like I was reading and writing so much for school that I didn't want to do it in my spare time. Fortunately, during my third year of university I had the opportunity to study for a semester abroad at the University of Sydney in Australia. I decided to resume blogging consistently to update my friends and family on my trip, and the travel afforded me the time to rekindle my love for reading – I read 81 books that year.

What I'm doing now

After graduating from McMaster in April 2019, I spent some time learning French in Quebec through the Explore program and travelling through northern Europe before returning to Toronto and starting work as a full stack software developer.

Where I want to go

I've enjoyed software development so far, and I especially like that I'm constantly learning. I'm looking forward to maturing as a developer as I continue to face new challenges and extend the breadth and depth of my understanding of the field. At this point, I see increased collaboration and mentorship as two critical elements of my career growth.

I'm also becoming more interested in digital ethics, tech policy, and the effects of emerging technologies like AI.

Some of my interests

Reading

I read for insight and for fun. I especially enjoy family sagas and tree books. My favourite novel is East of Eden by John Steinbeck, with The Idiot by Elif Batuman as a close second.

You can check out my bookshelf to read notes on books I've read, or visit my Goodreads profile to browse my lists.

Software development

I currently work in web development. My experience lies mainly in JavaScript (React, Express.js, Node.js), SQL, PHP, and Python.

I've learned the fundamentals of Java, Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), and ELM, but I haven't programmed in those languages in years. I've enjoyed trying my hand at Bootstrap, GraphQL, and WordPress through smaller projects.

In the future, I'd like to learn a NoSQL database like MongoDB, a functional language like Haskell, and another flavour of CSS, like TailwindCSS. I'd also like to try out Linux and some Python scripting.

Knowledge management

I'm interested in knowledge management and recently set up a Notion workspace to use as a productivity app slash second brain.

Blogging

I read other blogs extensively, using Feedly as my personal content dashboard and Pocket to save interesting posts for later.

Julia Cooke © 2022