Interview with Sofía De Jesús


Sofía De Jesús is the author of Applied Computational Thinking with Python, we got the chance to sit down with her and find out more about her experience of writing with Packt.

Q: How did you become an author for Packt? Tell us about your journey.

Sofía: I am a Computational Thinking teacher in Cleveland, OH, and teach programming, robotics, circuits, and more. I was contacted by a Packt acquisitions editor about possibly authoring this book. I was excited for the opportunity to write the book, which looks at how to approach problems, especially since we are almost always taught coding languages in a straightforward way, with definitions and it can be hard to apply those concepts to actual scenarios and problems. As I started writing the book, and later with the help of Dayrene for the chapters that discussed Machine Learning, I wanted to provide applications for everything discussed as we were learning it. My hope is that the applications allow the readers, students, and developers alike, ways to tackle their own scenarios either at school or work.

Q: How long did it take you to write the book?

Sofía: The book took a little over a year to write, as the pandemic made it harder to write while adjusting to added responsibilities in my job.

Q: What kind of research did you do, and how long did you spend researching before beginning the book?

Sofía: I’ve researched this book extensively, using many websites, books, and speaking with other professionals, but I started writing almost immediately. I have spent the better part of my life studying in the summers, spending time with textbooks, and learning everything I can about a lot of topics. Programming languages have been one of those topics for quite a few years, so writing about what my own experiences have been like and how I tackle problems that are not always well defined seemed like a natural progression of all that studying, researching, and learning.

Q: What advice would you give to readers learning tech? Do you have any top tips?

Sofía: The best advice I can give is to take each failure as a step in the right direction. Coding takes time, energy, and perseverance. Some of what we consider our most brilliant work may never work properly and some of what we struggle with may become our best work. If something doesn’t make sense, ask for help. Too many of us continue to struggle for days, even weeks and months, instead of calling on other programmers and developers to simply bounce ideas off of. A simple comment or suggestion may save us hours of work.

Q: Did you face any challenges during the writing process? How did you overcome them?

Sofía: Yes. I blame the pandemic for the delays I had in writing. Due to all the additional responsibilities thrown my way, I sometimes found it hard to focus on the writing. The best way to break out of the last hurdle, which was writing chapters 13 and 14, was to work with a coauthor, Dayrene Martinez. That turned out to be the best decision I could have made. Dayrene generously gave her time and energy to help me outline those chapters thoroughly and provided much of the content and code needed to get that finished. She also helped with some of the applications in chapters 15 and 16. When we would get stuck, we would have video calls while we both wrote and worked so that we could ask each other questions on the spot. We were able to work much faster than I had been able to do on my own because we were collaborating rather than me working on my own.

Q. How do you keep up-to-date on your tech?

Sofía: Teaching is how I keep up to date. I’m consistently working on creating courses and adapting existing courses. Because I teach this content, I am always needing to learn, keep up with updates to languages and uses, and just continue growing as a professional. That has also led me to work on exciting projects for clients, using my knowledge to create pieces for games, apps, and more.

Q. Can you share any blogs, websites, and forums to help readers gain a holistic view of the tech they are learning?

Sofía: I personally love Geeks for Geeks, HackerRank, Project Euler, and similar sites. I prefer those that do some teaching, but provide ways for the readers to practice and challenge themselves.

Q. How would you describe your author journey with Packt? Would you recommend Packt to aspiring authors?

Sofía: I would absolutely recommend Packt to aspiring authors. The team was always present, helping navigate the process, and providing feedback. The entire journey was transparent and positive, which helped us write a book we can be extremely proud of.

You can find Sofía’s book on Amazon by following this link: Please click here

Applied Computational Thinking with Python – Available on Amazon.com 

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