Darlene Zouras

Artist, Educator, and Coder

  • B.S. Computer Science, Oregon State University
  • M.Ed. Art Education, University of Illinois
  • B.A. Studio Art, Loyola University Chicago.

Currently seeking employment or apprenticeship as a junior developer working on web or software. I have a preference in working remotely but am available for work in the Metro East and St. Louis area.


I'm a computer science student in Oregon State University's distance program for students seeking a second bachelor's degree.
I have lots of hobbies, including weight lifting, reading, and drawing. I have a cat named Lil Peppercorn, and a dog named Delores. I live with my boyfriend of 2+ years, his name is John.

Statement

In hindsight, it seems painfully obvious that I should have pursued Computer Science from the very beginning. As a preteen I spent my free time on my family's home computer exploring everything that Yahoo's Geocities had to offer. I quickly learned HTML, and then CSS, and even a tiny bit of Javascript. I learned how to transfer files via FTP and host a page on my own. Somehow it never dawned on me that this could ever be anything more than a hobby.
I pursued art instead. I'm an excellent illustrator, honestly. It always seemed that it would have been such a shame if I had never decided to go into artmaking professionally. I did, for a time. I taught studio art classes privately to young artists in town and to adults while I was in grad school with the University of Illinois. I was good at that too. Somehow... I feel unfulfilled. There's no thrill or challenge. I decided to go back to computers.
It was actually being an art educator that introduced me again to coding. As an American art educator coming from one of the best schools in the country I of course was painfully aware of the push to increase the presence of art and science. I learned a little bit of Processing, just to play, and was hooked. I decided to learn Python after that. And then I enrolled in Oregon State University's second degree program for a degree in Computer Science. And now I am looking for a job in tech.

There is no intention of ever giving up what I learned as a studio artist or as an educator. If anything, the skills to approach problems creatively, see both big pictures and small details, and to seek and accept criticism probably make me a uniquely qualified developer. I don't know how long it might be before I return to education, but teaching also lends me a perspective and skillset that some other developers may lack: I'm an excellent communicator, I am devoted to learning and helping others learn, and I have a deep interest in sharing knowledge with the community. It is this background that has led me to start my blog, ComfyCoding.com, which is currently on hiatus but served as documentation of my experience learning how to code. I still have a lot to learn, of course, and believe that the best place from this point on to learn how to do it is by working on real projects with a team of developers.

Coursework

** This section updated periodically to reflect assignments**
These assignments were completed as a Computer Science student with Oregon State University. As a student, these assignments make up a large bulk of my experience, and so they are documented in order to better understand my growth as a student. A collection of these assignments can be found in this GitHub repository.

CS 161 - Intro to Computer Science

Taught in C++
This class served as an introduction to computer science. There was an emphasis on building a strong foundation before introducing Object Oriented Programming techniques in preparation for the next course.
Completed Winter 2016

CS 162 - Intro to Computer Science II

Taught in C++
This class emphasized the use of Object Oriented Programming concepts, including Polymorphism.
In this class I built several complicated programs involving multiple files, lists, polymorphic classes, and pointers.
Completed Spring 2016

CS 261 - Data Structures

Taught in C
Learned about data structures like dynamic arrays, linked lists, queues, deques, and stacks all written in the C programming language. Worked weekly with groups to tackle programming and theory problems.
Programming assignments focused on writing and testing algorithms in order to make particular abstract data types work with a collection of data.
Completed Summer 2016

CS 352 - Usability Engineering

Worked in a small group throughout the semester to design a mobile application using the PRICPE design process, which emphasized designing and testing with the user experience in mind. Our team produced several design concepts as well as a function MyBalsamiq prototype of a mobile app, and then used other classmates in order to assess and improve on our designs.

CS 271 - Computer Architecture & Assembly Language

Taught in Assembly Language for Windows 64 bit processors.
Learned about CISC computer architectures and also wrote programs in Assembly Language using Visual Studio.
Completed Summer 2016

CS 290 - Web Development

HTML, CSS, Javascript, and NodeJS
Developed on both the front and back end of several small web applications. Built pages using NodeJS, Express, and Handlebars. Learned to connect a web page to read and write databases using mySql.
A tutorial that I wrote on accessing and using Etsy's API can be found here!
Completed Fall 2016

CS 340 - Introduction to Databases

Focusing on teaching Database theory and practices in SQL and PHP.
Collaborated with another student to create a website in PHP and HTML that could read and write data to a database.
Completed Fall 2016

CS 344 - Operating Systems

Made applications meant to access files and folders on Unix operating systems. Applications were made in C, Shell Script, and Python.
The final project (prog4 in the repository) made client - server connections that sent and received text files, encrypted the text, then sent the encrypted text back while decrypting it.
Completed Winter 2017

CS 496 - Mobile and Cloud Development

In this class we will be developing applications for Android mobile devices.

Projects


MapleNow

(Git repository currently private)

This is a Express Handlebars application that runs on Heroku. Between school terms I kept busy with this project and intend to update it continuously. It lists and displays each hair style and face style available around the Maplestory GMS world. I built this since I saw a need for it- if you find this information on other pages it's often years out of date and scales terribly for mobile devices. For this page I wanted to update that information and then make it accessible for all types of views.


Bubble Chamber

Active page is up HERE as of 12/20/2016!

I recently started this project in December 2016 in order to stay coding while school was out of session. For now, it's an incredibly simple drawing application, similar to some web-based drawing services that I frequented while I was an art student. Right now the customization that it offers is minimal: you can change the size of the brush as well as its color. I hope to add many more features to this and learn a lot as it reaches its functionality goals.

This is also a first step towards contributing to some open source projects, as it runs using Electron and includes many of the features of an Electron design package, Photon. Other NodeJS packages are included as well, such as Express and Mysql.


Remote Raspberry Pi Git Server

Here at home I have rigged a Raspberry Pi 2 to store the data of my school and personal projects. This data can be pulled or pushed from my iMac at home or my Macbook while I'm away. With this I never have to worry about not having up-to-date versions of my work while I'm coding away from home!

Although I was already familiar with basic Git commands through Github, this small project has taught me so much more. In particular, establishing a secure connection online that can be accessed remotely, as well as initializing and maintaining a private Git repository.

I have recently also programmed my Pi to run a Mysql database for testing purposes for my personal projects!


ComfyCoding.com

CURRENTLY ON HIATUS

The ComfyCoding.com project is a long-term project which documents my experience as I learn to code.
Although I am currently taking a break from keeping up on this project, I have intentions of continuing to work more so that it can one day become a helpful resource to others learning how to code.



Contact

You can reach me directly at dzouras@gmail.com.



Check out what else I'm up to:

darzouras @ twitter.com
darlenezouras @ linkedin.com
darzouras @ github.com
comfy_coding @ hackerrank.com