Code School – Postmortem – Part II

Continued from Part I

The weekend bootcamp came and went pretty quickly.  The basics of web development (AKA learning what happens when you click on a link in a browser besides “a page loads”) were covered, websites were launched and before you know it the weekend was over.  It was enough.

After marinating on the thought for a little while I decided it was time.  I loaded up the application page in my browser and… the application date had passed.

Damn.

On a whim I shot off an email checking to see if anyone had dropped out and if I still had a shot for the summer session.  As luck would have it, fortune favors the mildly inquisitive.  A few days later I had an interview and several days after that I had a curriculum: get comfortable with HTML and CSS because on day one you’ll be expected to work with it (the book we were assigned was by Jon Duckett and has the pleasure of being both informative and beautifully designed).  So far so good, though, as it turns out once you apply for a 9-5 programming bootcamp you have to actually quit your job.  In the interests of full disclosure I left a position in administrative assisting… somewhat non-ironically a field ripe for automation.

Two weeks went by quickly, but time slowed slightly for my non-deathbed conversion to OSX and then quickly sped up again.

Week One:

Day one is difficult to separate from all of week one without the aid of a spatula, but I vaguely remember introducing myself to a lot of unfamiliar faces who I count as friends today.  The subject was Ruby, Git, and environment setup for anyone who hadn’t quite acclimated to their knew development home on the command line (hint: me!).  The days were structured, lectures, assignments, readings and of course pairs for paired programming.  I don’t recall the first few days being mind blowing, but they were demanding.  A little later we found our Everest: Recursion. Most of us slammed our brains against the concept of implementing recursion and just before we grasped it we were moving on to the next thing.

I recall at the end of the week taking stock of myself.  I was exhausted.  10 hour days and all of them spent learning something new.  Everyday involved constructing context just to feel comfortable enough to crawl ahead another inch.  I’d been out of practice educating myself for some time now. I wasn’t sure I could do it.  Maybe I just wasn’t cut out for this.  I could quit the following week and only lose the deposit… I could probably get my job back.  I’d give it one more week.

Week Two:

More Ruby, the command line doesn’t feel alien, programs are starting to do what I want them to.  I think i’ll stick it out.  Finding out that I wasn’t the only one completely off balance was a great comfort and paired programming really helped drive home that I was among good people to learn with.

Week Three:

Javascript, the language of web ubiquity and semicolons, but mostly semicolons.  We started by way of jQuery. The pace had been set by now to the point that no one seemed particularly phased by the complete shift in programming language.  The ability to make things fly across the screen was a welcome change from ASCII graphics on the command line.  A good week for small constructive victories.

Week Four:

You can test Javascript? Weird.

Read the rest:

Read Part I Here

Part III:  Group Projects, Agile Development, and Employer tours.

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