It’s as easy as ABC

With lab week almost over and week 7 around the corner, I’m slowly starting to feel nervous about what’s going to come after this bootcamp.

I’ve read this blog post about junior developers getting a job and which mentions challenges especially bootcamp graduates face: not enough computer science knowledge and/or being used to solve algorithms. So I should be learning about:

  • Graph Search
  • Big-O Notation
  • Linked Lists
  • Multi-Dimensional Arrays

as well as going to at least one meet up per week, either as attendee or as volunteer, and of course go to loads of hackathons.

I think I’ll start with the computer sciencey stuff. I had a go at creating a linked list in Ruby and found this article on big-o notation. I’ll also go back on codewars, to improve my algorithm-solving skills.

Good thing, we have this weekend off 😂

ABC – Always Be Coding

Mice and motivational problems

At home, we had a little four-legit visitor last night, which kept us awake for quite some time before we could finally catch him (see below for a picture).

So with my beauty sleep interrupted, I was tired and unmotivated today and couldn’t really get myself to code, which is quite unusual.

I think right now, the constant coding and learning of new things feels very overwhelming, and it is quite crowded in my head. I’ve been programming every day for the past 7 weeks. In the past 4 for probably at least 7 hours a day during the week and who knows how many hours during weekends. Constant learning, pairing, failing/passing/rewriting tests.. This has definitely caught up with me now and I can feel it.

So for me, this Easter weekend feels like a bit of a breather. Even though, not for very long… since next week will be shorter and we’ll have less time to solve the weekly challenge, but there you go! It’s not like I hadn’t been warned about the most intense, but best 12 weeks ever!

mouse
The little guy when we set him free

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 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 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.

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 1 – Summary

All the Maker’s students have to fill out a weekly learning process. Throughout the course, the students use the agile methodology to reflect on their progress and their work in general.

So here’s what I’ve taken from the first week of Maker’s precourse!

Most Important Things I Learned:

  • It’s okay not to be the first to finish every exercise (note: especially if you’re working full time)
  • The command line can be understood! (even if it looks odd at first)

Things I Struggled With The Most:

  • From the material – understanding grep and regex
  • In general – working full time and doing all the prep work

Changes I Plan to Make Next Week:

  • Strict learning schedule (see you in 15 weeks, friends!)
  • Doing the optional exercises which I haven’t done yet
  • Get going with Ruby!

Other Experiences This Week:

  • Using Slack (our communication channel) makes me feel part of the community despite being unable to attend day-time learning groups
  • If you want to pass the challenges, you need to follow the instructions to the letter – things like different file names cause the tests to fail

Bottom line:

We covered a lot of material in the first week and looking back, it’s crazy to think it’s only been a week of studying – 6 days to be fair, since on the first day we didn’t get any material! I’m definitely enjoying it so far, despite my head hitting my desk occasionally. 🙂

Precourse week #2 here I come!

Source: http://guh-gifgarden.tumblr.com/post/49104576486

Your wish is my command (line)…

During the first week of the precourse, we’re focussing on learning about the command line and version control.

For the past few months I’ve been doing a series of courses on the website coursera.org about responsive web design. The courses talk about programming languages such as HTML, CSS and Javascript, and also uses the Meteor framework which runs on MongoDB. So during the courses I’ve learnt the mere basics about using the terminal/command line (‘cd’, ‘mkdir’, how to ‘add’/’remove’ packages to our meteor projects, view the db etc). As the course teaches quite a broad spectrum, they didn’t really go into the whys and hows of the command line, so I’m pleased to actually really focus on it now in the precourse.

I think the hardest thing for me is to see using the commands in the terminal like any other programming language. Just like in JS, we’ve got functions that take arguments, we can run them and we can get something in return, change something, etc. I know the terminal can do more, but me and my brain are taking one step at a time!

My favourite command is obviously ‘man’ – a saviour!

One of my fellow maker’s students has also told me he’s done the command line track on codecadamy.com. After I’ll finished the Maker’s material on the command line, I want to do this 2-hour track as well – having different types of learning input will definitely be helpful! (I believe they have also one on git – wahay 🙂 )

 

First day precourse: check!

First day of the precourse is done and I can’t wait to start! Today we, the February cohort, met up and had the change to get to know each other a little bit. The group is quite international which makes it an interesting bunch – I believe we cover 4 continents!

Other than that we we’re given more info about the schedule of the precourse. We will have learning material for every week to work through and then on Fridays we’ll be given a weekend challenge. They emphasised on working in pairs/groups for the exercises which will help us getting used to pair programming, a method we’ll be using throughout the course. The weekend challenges are designed to be done on our own, so we know we’re were at and, importantly, so the coaches know how we’re doing.

They also suggest to code everyday during the 4 weeks – so I’ll end this blog here and get on some codewars.

Source: http://cheezburger.com // I was told my blog lacks gifs … 🙂

 

Off to the precourse

Tomorrow is finally the day when the precourse will start. We will meet at the Makers Academy building and get to know each other and find out what we’ll be doing for the next 4 weeks.

I can’t wait to get started but I’m a little bit nervous as well, as I’ll be working full time alongside for the first three weeks of the precourse. During my interview with Makers they recommended giving yourself at least 15 hours a week for this precourse, so technically working should be fine. They also said, however, that having more time will be beneficial and someone even recommended taking time off work if possible.

On the other hand I see it as a good way of getting used to the busy and long schedule of the actual course.

So far the preparation for the precourse seemed well organised. We’ve been sent information on how to set up our machines for it, including which software/apps we need to stay in touch with other class members and staff. It’s nice to be able to feel prepared 🙂

Can’t wait!!!