Week 2 day 2

Today I continued with my partner to work on our oystercard challenge. He had already finished it at home and let me drive whilst pointing me in the right directions. I feel like I’ve learnt a lot about TDD today 🙂

Generally, it’s so refreshing to work with motivated, like-minded people. This has never really been the case for me before. So I’m enjoying this a lot, already a bit sad about the time when it will end…

Week 2 day 1

Today, we were supposed to have our code reviewed by out mentor. Unfortunately, not every mentor showed up, so Ive had a group review with 3 other students and two mentors.

The guys doing the review with us were doing their best but at the end of it, we spent a really long time on it, no one had actually looked at my code and I filled out my review myself..

Later in the day my mentor offered to review my code remotely. So looking forward to that. Our coaches also check our code and message us if there are any red flags. I haven’t received anything so I’m taking this as a good sign for now.

We also had kick off meeting in the afternoon with coaches. There we talked about common errors they’ve found from students and introduced us to this week’s challenge: Building an oystercard programme. Sounds good 🙂

I felt pretty exhausted and kind off worn out today. I guess since I spent pretty much all of my weekend on the challenge, I didn’t really rest. Next weekend, I’m meeting a friend for Brünch which will force me to leave the house and get away from my laptop for a bit.

I also want to try yoga this week. Just to see if I like it 😊.

Week 1: Weekend challenge

Our first weekend challenge is writing an airport programme. The airport can make planes land and take off, when the weather is nice – but be careful when it’s stormy.

The whole week was all about learning Rspec and the test-driven approach. I have to admit, I’m not in love with Rspec. Not at all.

[rant start] I find it still very frustrating to spend ages on figuring out how to write a test, if I can write the actual method for my programme a lot quicker. I just trust in the system that is Maker’s to know best, and will hopefully get used to it (so I’ve been told by seniors – they actually had some kind words for Rspec … these won’t be found in the Feb cohort atm…).

Another thing, which doesn’t make writing the specs any easier, is that Rspec had the brilliant idea to update their syntax. While the new syntax is probably the latest jazz in writing specs, it is SO annoying because much of the resource material is now outdated. And their is so. much. outdated. stuff! Even seemingly great resources like code school, who made a rap song about Rspec, have now outdated should-syntax. An up-to-date resource is, apart from official docs, is betterspecs.org which has been suggested during on of our stand ups. [/rant end]

That felt good, sorrynotsorry about that.

Back to the actual topic: Weekend challenge! It is exactly that, a challenge! Naturally we can use a lot from material we covered during the week, but have to adapt it accordingly. I still find that I often overcomplicate things, and try to do more that I actually should or test things, that don’t need to be tested.. and there is this one test, I shouldn’t pass but get a green…oops. Still working on that. 😛

Tomorrow I think, we’ll get together with our seniors and discuss the code we’re written for the weekend challenge. We’ll see how that goes.


Week 1 day 5 – Dealing with time pressure

Last day before the weekend challenge. As mentioned in my previous post, I had redone this week’s challenge and was only about half way through the challenge by the end of Thursday.

Even though the time pressure to finish the challenge was on, I really tried to focus on understanding it.

I also felt that the day was quite disrupted. I go to meditation at 2, which takes 30min. Then there was a marketing photo shoot of the female students for the international women’s day which took up another half and hour (we didn’t have to go but of course I want to promote female devs). Additionally, on Friday’s our cohort has a retrospective where we discuss our week (what we’ve done, learnt etc.). And it also turns out that after the retro the Makers HQ gets into a casual Friday mood (beers, loud chatter, etc). I have to admit I felt a bit stressed and would have preferred a quieter space to work in…

Obviously this wasn’t completely unself-inflicted stress. If I had finished the challenge of course I would have happily joint the Friday celebrations.

So even though, it was helpful to redo the challenge, I lost a day. So from now on I really have to be thorough from the start and make sure when I’m home that I’ve completely understood what was covered that day, so I can focus on moving forward when I’m at Maker’s during the day.

I’m no longer working 9-5, there is no denying!

Week 1 day 4 – Starting all over again

I hadn’t been quite happy with my knowledge and understanding of the course materials this week, i.e. how rspec works. Therefore I asked my pair partner if we could start from scratch and redo the hole thing!

He had actually redone it the previous day and so I’m very grateful that he started a third time. 🙂 It was definitely a good decision for me as we went through the tasks slowly to make sure to know what every line meant.

The only downside was obviously that we were now behind. I think he’d stayed on after 6, which is what I should’ve done as well I think (oh hinesight)…

Week 1 day 3

The challenge on Wednesday for me were two things:

  1. Pairing with a new partner, who was more experience than me and therefore had a better and quicker grasp of the concepts we’ve been introduced to.
  2. Realising how I rushed through RSPEC/documentation the day before and not actually understanding it.

So most of the day I felt like even though we were pairing, and changing who was typing, I didn’t do as much thinking of my own as I would have liked. I probably should have stopped my partner more and just take the time to re-read the documentation, have a few more examples etc. That being said, he was very good as making his thoughts clear and explaining the processes, which was definitely very valuable.

I still felt a bit unsatisfied as I felt way behind my pair (not gonna lie: not an amazing feeling).

So Wednesday evening, after a quick half pint in the Maker’s local and a cheeky Japanese at home, I sat down and started re-reading rspec documentation.


Week 1 day 2

My second day at Maker’s was our first day of coding. Everyone was randomly assigned a partner and with them we were working through our weekly challenges. For most of us, it was the first time to actually code with a partner for this long. The difficulty with pair programming is to clearly communicate how you think the problem should be solved. However, there were a few cases where I wasn’t even sure how to solve it, let alone tell my partner what I thought is the best way.

We also did more TDD, where you write your tests first before you write an actual line of code. Technically this makes sense, however, sometimes it felt like the instructions and so the tests we were supposed to write, were taking so long, as the steps were so tiny that it could be a bit frustrating. I think I’m just too used to the process of getting stuff done the quickest way possible, and taking small steps isn’t usually the case then.

Week 1 day 1

This is actually being published on my second day, but I was so tired that I just feel asleep.

Yesterday was the first day of the main course of Maker’s Academy.  Even though we’ve seen each other on Slack, many of us hadn’t met yet and so we played some name games  (including spirit animals.. didn’t think the sloth would be so high up that list) to get to know each other.

After the game, those of us who had requested a laptop from MA, could go an pick it up and set up our dev environment. They provided us with the useful guide on http://www.preparetocode.io, to install programming essentials that we’ll need for the course, such as XCode, Homebrew, RVM & Ruby. My MacBook had been completely reset, like all of the borrowed ones, so I spent most of my time updating the OS to El Capitain and finished the rest of the setup at home.

When we broke for lunch many of my fellow students went to one of the plenty little food shops/markets. I’m trying to spend as little money as possible and since Makers has a kitchen area/ couple of microwaves I’m bringing in my own food (naturally forgot my food at home on the second day).

After lunch we had an interesting chat session on how to get the most out of Makers. One of the conclusions was that the course is only the precourse to the rest of our lives, as we will learn how to learn how to code—not just coding.

Another concept that stuck with me was, to aim for changing 1% every day at a time. Usually we (i.e. me) want to see results very quickly—obviously that’s because we do something, because we want something out of it. So when we don’t achieve our goal as quickly as desired, we can feel like we’ve reached a plateau or even failed the task and give up. And that’s when the 1% comes in: we need to keep going, we have to aim for only that 1% —even if the 1% improvement only means that that day we found out all the ways that don’t work to solve this or that problem. We now have this knowledge of what doesn’t work, which we didn’t have the day before and which gives us a head start for the next day.

The crucial aspect to keep in mind is to actually track what you’ve done each day, which is something that Makers encourage their students to do – and which is my reason for this blog as well.

I already regret not blogging daily during the precourse as I often felt like I’ve done or achieved nothing, but actually looking back now, I have learnt so much in the past four weeks already. It’s just so easy to forget as you think it’s natural and everyone knows it. (Memo to self: no it’s not, it been four bloody weeks of precourse work!)

So I will be trying to journal / blog as much as possible. I’m not a fan of my writing, so it takes ages for me to put something up (more often than not, I have about 5 million drafts…),  anyway I will actually try and use this brain dump. Be warned!

Precourse Week 3 – Summary

Here’s my summary of week three of the Maker’s Academy precourse.

Most Important Things I Learned:

  • Reading instructions carefully will save a lot of work
  • Arithmetic can often solve a tricky problem easily (instead of longwinded code)

Things I Struggled With The Most:

  • Time, time, time! and not working wifi at home 🙁
  • Some of the tests from the Chris Pine exercises

Changes I Plan to Make Next Week:

  • Do a lot more pairing
  • Recap what has been done so far
  • Getting started with TDD

Other Experiences This Week:

  • Meeting up with others is always beneficial
  • Difficult week due to limit amount of time, but glad to be off work starting precourse week 4


PreCourse Week 2 – Summary

Here’s my summary for my second week of the Precourse.

Usually I can do my current job from home, which means no commute and so I have more time for the Precourse. Unfortunately, I’d been having internet issues last week, so I had to go to the office but also doing the course work from home was a bit more tricky (#hotspotlife).

Most Important Things I Learned:

  • Need to get physically away from a problem, if I can’t solve it
  • Creating a ticket on stackoverflow shows similar tickets and better results than their search!

Things I Struggled With The Most:

  • Timing – due to no internet at home/working full time, I feel like I’m about half a week or so behind, but luckily my last day at work is this Thursday, so I’ll be able to catch up
  • Classes – getting the hang of them (as JavaScript doesn’t have Classes, the concept was completely new to me)

Changes I Plan to Make Next Week:

Other Experiences This Week:

Maker’s assigned each of us a mentor who we can pair with. My mentor is already working on his final project so hopefully I can put in some pair-programming time with him before he finishes. Generally, this is a great idea and it will give us the chance to programme with someone who’s more experienced and ask the 100 million questions that come up during the challenges 😀

My week in a gif! Source: http://reddit.com/r/reactiongifs/comments/2y50ua/mrw_the_internet_goes_out/