Recent adventures in programming

Ever since I first turned on a computer in elementary school, I’ve been interested in programming. From BASIC, C, and Pascal in school to Visual Basic, SQL, and now Python, it’s been a winding path and (for me, anyway) a pretty unconventional one as many of my jobs through the years have offered the promise of improving my programming skills but then branched off in unrelated directions. However, I’ve never lost my interest and this year I decided I badly needed to start coding again. Here are a couple of the things I’ve been working on lately.

  1. Python scripting – while as a long time Linux user I’ve been tinkering with Python scripts for years, tweaking a constant here or a string variable there, now I’m writing scripts from scratch. I especially enjoy the “programming as online game” approach promoted by Codewars, HackerRank, and others. Here is a link to a Python script I wrote this past summer for one of the coding challenges on HackerRank. It uses one of the Python standard libraries (“re”, regular expressions) to validate streams of sample data (in this case, credit card numbers).
  2. Infrastructure as code – in my opinion, one of the most exciting developments in programming in the past few years has been the rapid spread of infrastructure as code. When I was first introduced to AWS a couple years ago, I immediately recognized its CloudFormation IaC tool as a huge game changer for systems administators like me. Here is a link to an entire demo website that can be built using AWS CloudFormation with just a few mouse clicks and keystrokes. Since writing this code, I’ve since learned that Terraform is the IaC tool of choice in the industry since it’s not locked in to a single cloud vendor like CloudFormation is with AWS, so it’s definitely a goal of mine to learn Terraform and eventually refactor this code to use that tool instead.

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