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Pacman pie image Julia Elman


Six months and counting

Six Months and Counting

While I am not a prolific writer on this site of mine, it’s been quite a while since I’ve written something. In fact, it’s been almost exactly six months since my last post and needless to say, I’ve been busy. So, I thought I’d write up what I’ve been up to in that time.

One of the many exciting things that has been going on was joining the wonderfully talented and dedicated team at 18F. It’s an amazing atmosphere to work in and contribute my skills and talents towards serving my country.

One of my first projects on the job was Pulse (, how federal government domains are meeting best practices on the web. I worked with a small team for six weeks to design and develop a website in which various agencies around government are able to access and measure the health of their HTTPS compliance and Digital Analytics Program (DAP) participation. We’re currently gearing up for the next phase of the project and are helping to develop more features for agencies towards building out this useful tool.

Another project that is currently under development is the U.S. Federal Web Design Standards website. While still at the alpha stage, the focus of this project is to create a centralized location for government agencies to use and reuse design patterns in relation to the websites and applications they are building. It’s a tremendous effort that I am proud to be a part of, with an incredibly dedicated team who is working hard to create accessible and reusable patterns to help guide agencies around government create beautiful websites and applications that are easy for everyone to use.

And more recently, Mark and I also worked on creating an updated release of “Lightweight Django,” which launched at the end of July. This new release includes an upgrade to Django 1.8.2 final, Django REST framework 3.1.3 and errata updates from our contributors (thank you!). It’s pretty great to look back on last year when we were just finishing up the book. It’s even better to see how much the community is enjoying it and how it has helped those wanting to learn more about Django!

And while I am no longer one of the co-leaders for Girl Develop It RDU, I am still actively mentoring women who are, or are interested in, working in the software engineering field. Having not had many mentors myself, I find helping other women as my way of giving back, but also find that I am learning a lot about myself too.

Yup. Busy. That is the one word I’d reply with when asked, “How are you doing, Julia?”. Needless to say, I am happy and feeling very fulfilled these days. There is always more to come, things to learn and people to meet. It’s a big part of why I love what I do and see myself doing so for a long time to come.