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 😊.
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new syntax is probably the latest jazz in writing specs, it is SO annoying because much of the resource material is now outdated.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 outdated.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 Even seemingly great resources like code school, who made a rap song about Rspec, have now outdated should-syntax.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.
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 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)…
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.
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
Changes I Plan to Make Next Week:
Aim for 3-5 Katas (on Codewars.com) a day, I want to have at least Rank 100 by EOW
Trying the Pomodoro technique (which is basically working for 25 minutes without any distraction followed by a 5 minute break)
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 😀
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
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. 🙂
During the first week of the precourse, we’re focussing on learning about the command line and version control.
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 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.
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 🙂