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Michael Tharrington for The DEV Team

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Featured Mod of the Month: Anita Olsen

In this series, we shine a spotlight πŸ”¦ on the different DEV moderators β€” Trusted Members and Tag Mods β€” who help to make DEV a kind, helpful place. Aside from spreading good vibes and helping fellow community members, these folks also assist us with removing spam and keeping posts well organized by adding and removing tags as necessary amongst other things.

If you want to learn more about what these awesome folks do, I recommend checking out our Trusted Member and Tag Moderation guides. There is information about how to apply in both guides if you're interested in joining up as a moderator.

Introducing Anita πŸ™Œ

For March β€” yes, I'm a little late! β€” our featured Mod of the Month goes to Anita Olsen. Anita joined our community about half a year ago, but quickly began making an impact primarily by speaking with folks in the community and being friendly. She regularly starts up discussions that get us talking about interesting things, for instance sharing honest thoughts on our old code. Many of these discussions like "How do I Know I am no Longer a Beginner?" bring together beginners and more experienced devs, helping to bridge that gap. Aside from starting up conversations, you'll also often see Anita warmly welcoming new members in our weekly welcome thread. Thank you for all the awesome help, Anita!

The Interview

Michael Tharrington: I’d like to hear your developer origin story. How did you first get into coding and how have your skills and focus evolved over time?

Anita Olsen: I first got into coding when I was 16 years old. I taught myself HTML and BBCode in my office at my school whenever I had the time. I came over tons of β€œkawaii” (The word β€œkawaii” denotes the Japanese culture of cuteness) inspired websites and profiles which some girls had made and I wanted to make some of my own as well. I learned HTML so I could make my own websites and profiles on different sites which allowed me to write my HTML code there. I also came over other sites where I could also make profiles but they used another type of code for that (namely BBCode) so I learned that language as well.

I was in good company with others on a girls-only social website with a β€œchibi” theme (β€œChibi” is a Japanese style of caricature) where I coded my own profile. The site offered you your very own profile with a fixed width, a seemingly unlimited length, and the opportunity to write as much HTML code as you pleased. I displayed the animated pixel GIFs on my profile which I had made at home and links to different simple websites which I had made as well. I received many compliments on my β€œkawaii” profile, my animated pixel GIFs and my websites.

Later I learned some C++ from a book and created several pop-up windows, I learned some CSS and Python online and made a whole zoo and created those mini-games which you can play on my personal website.

One of my pure CSS images got picked on Popular Pens on X which is an unofficial feed of the most popular and outstanding Codepen pens, I did not see that coming! I spent one week learning CSS on Codecademy (with no prior knowledge of CSS) before I started to get busy creating pure CSS images on my own on Codepen. I originally wanted to join all the pure CSS image courses which I saw from old tweets on old Twitter but none of them were active anymore. I was forced to learn and make CSS images on my own without guidance but my own imagination and with the use of the DuckDuckGo search engine.

I just keep playing around with code and learn as I go while learning from several sources. I have come to understand that if you love what you make, there is a good chance that others will love what you make as well.

Michael: From your DEV profile, I know that you have an education in business and also work as a private investor. Can you talk about how (if) you apply your developer knowledge and skills to this work?

Anita: Yes, I have attended a Norwegian business school, an International Baccalaureate (IB) school of economics and a Norwegian maritime school (which I did not finish).

Unfortunately, there has been no need for me to use my developer knowledge and skills with my investments as I invest in Scandinavian businesses and real estate projects. I spend my time evaluating potential investments, signing contracts and transferring funds which make coding a purely unrelated hobby to me.

Michael: Looking at your portfolio website, I noticed that you’ve created a couple of games. Would you please talk about that experience a bit? How did you go about creating these games and did your knowledge of game development improve from one project to the next?

Anita: I have lifetime access to the subscription-based code-learning website, CodeCombat, where I enjoy learning Python and taking all the Game Development courses offered there. Those games I made were a part of the Game Development 1 and 2 courses (there is also a 3rd course) on CodeCombat. You code the games entirely on your own from scratch by the use of the knowledge you have gathered from the lessons in the Game Development courses.

I like to believe that my knowledge of game development improves after every project. I do make an effort to change things up and code a little differently every time I make a game while I keep practicing what I have learned so far.

Michael: You do a great job of initiating discussions in our community. Do you have a favorite discussion that you’ve started up on DEV and/or a favorite response that you’ve received?

Anita: Thank you! I do not really have any favourite discussion or favourite response. I have received so many excellent comments on my posts, it is hard to pick just one.

Michael: What’s your favorite thing about being a DEV moderator?

Anita: I love lending a hand to support our lovely community and to feel like I am making a difference!


Wrap up

Thanks so much for reading. We appreciate you taking the time to learn about another one of our amazing moderators. πŸ’š

Stay tuned for future mod interviews in this series!

Top comments (13)

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erinao profile image
Erin A Olinick

@anitaolsen , it was so great learning more about your journey! You're definitely making a difference on DEV. Having awesome mods like you makes our work meaningful and fun. Thanks for all you do. ❀️

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anitaolsen profile image
Anita Olsen*Β°β€’.β˜†

Aw, thank you! ☺️ I am happy to hear I am making a difference on DEV! Awee πŸ€—

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anitaolsen profile image
Anita Olsen*Β°β€’.β˜†

It was a great honour and I had great fun being interviewed by you. Thank you SO much, @michaeltharrington!

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thomasbnt profile image
Thomas Bnt β˜•

Thanks a lot @anitaolsen for the interview! Learning while having fun, I've always found this approach very cool. πŸ’œπŸ™Œ

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anitaolsen profile image
Anita Olsen*Β°β€’.β˜†

You are always very welcome, @thomasbnt πŸ™‚

Indeed! I find it of the utmost importance to have fun while learning, that way you last longer as well! πŸ˜€ ✨

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anmolbaranwal profile image
Anmol Baranwal

You deserve every bit of it @anitaolsen :D
It always feels good when there are so many supportive awesome members in the community. I truly loved your developer origin story.

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anitaolsen profile image
Anita Olsen*Β°β€’.β˜†

Thank you very much, @anmolbaranwal! 😊

You are absolutely right! I love this place and the people in it! πŸ€—

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ilizette profile image
Elizabeth

Congratulations on the spotlight @anitaolsen I enjoyed reading about your journey.

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anitaolsen profile image
Anita Olsen*Β°β€’.β˜†

Thank you so much! I am happy you enjoyed reading about it! 😊

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sebastianccc profile image
Sebastian Christopher • Edited

Good to see someone that deserves the spotlight, and highlighting all your achievements among everything you’ve done here on DEVπŸ™‚. Awesome stuff @anitaolsen

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anitaolsen profile image
Anita Olsen*Β°β€’.β˜†

Thank you so much! Much appreciated, @sebastianccc! 😊

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salika_dave profile image
Salika Dave

Congratulations! @anitaolsen β™₯️
I loved reading about your origin story! Well deserved! πŸŽ‰

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anitaolsen profile image
Anita Olsen*Β°β€’.β˜†

Thank you so much! 😊