Recap: Follow Me from HTML Illiterate to Professional Programmer
In case you haven’t read Week 0 (about my preparation), I am currently a student at a programming bootcamp called Coding House in the San Francisco Bay Area. I finished college a few months ago, but decided my business degree wasn’t going to let me do what I really wanted: to build rather than manage. This realization and my love for startups (and California) led me to begin working toward a career in software development.
3 Highs: Shortcuts Galore
Bootstrapping EVERYTHING: Bootstrap is an HTML and CSS based front-end framework that saves a ton of time when it comes to laying out a webpage or app. I’ve been using Bootstrap a lot more this week, which has left more time to work on design aspects and back-end applications. It is essentially the perfect way to cut out busywork!
Git Init! Using Git from the terminal can seem unnecessarily involved when I just need to make one update to my GitHub account, but now that my projects are including dozens of files, Git makes file sharing a lot easier. I won’t say I’m a complete pro at using it yet – merging is still a pain in the neck when my HTML file suddenly has a row of ‘>>>>’ in the head. I do think, though, I’ll be pretty good by the end of the 9 weeks!
The Front-End: It seems like everyone is beginning to veer toward the side the like best – front-end or back-end – at this point. I definitely like learning about the back-end and plan on developing proficiency in the area, but I’ve always been partial to art and design and front-end development makes way for this life-long interest as well. I’m definitely looking forward to learning more design and UX principles as well!
3 Lows: The Mysterious Errors
The Terrifying Terminal: Said Errors generally occur while working in the terminal. Typing blogs and sentences has become second nature to me over the years, especially with my inclination toward writing, but typing for programming is very different! We use keys that are rarely used in every-day typing (like ‘ } ‘ and ‘ ` ‘ ), which means that they aren’t engrained in muscle memory yet and my fingers still get clumsy as I type them. As a result, I make more mistakes which aren’t easily rectified in the terminal; I always have to retype the entire line.
The Immersion: When Sleep Sounds Better than Money
Naps: I’ve never been the kind of person who can take a short 30-minute nap during the day. I’m still not – if I fall asleep, I’m out for at least an hour usually. Naps have become necessary to keep myself going during the day without burning out, though, so I’m definitely getting used to them for now. I’d like to go back to sustaining myself during the day since I won’t exactly be able to nod off at work half way through a meeting, but for now, I’ll just take whatever amount of sleep I can get!
Dining with Developers: Food, as usual, is fantastic at Coding House! Sarah made these amazing street tacos with a mango salsa for lunch one day…they were absolutely delicious. I’ve made up my mind to fill up a notebook of her recipes as thick as my coding notes before I leave here!
Post-Bootcamp: I have always been very clear about the fact that being at this bootcamp is a way to put myself in a programming mindset that will allow me to propel myself forward in the learning process during the months following the bootcamp. I’ve really been working toward preparing for this during the past week by noting down all the things I didn’t fully grasp but don’t have time to go back to since we are moving so quickly. I’ve also been making a list of related technologies and methodologies that I’m seeing online or the instructors are mentioning so that I can go back to them. My goal is to spend a year or so after the bootcamp not only working as a programmer to practice and develop my new skills, but also continue to learn on my own rigorously through online tutorials and computer science MOOCs. Of course, learning will be a life-long process in this career, but the next year will be essential for conquering the learning curve!
- Just because something seems annoying or useless, doesn’t mean its time to give up on it. Practice with it for a bit. Chances are, the technology is popular for a reason and you’ll end up loving it too.
- Don’t let yourself be overcome by errors and mistakes. Accuracy will come with time and practice!
- Be realistic about your learning expectations. Learning to be a proficient programmer in 9 weeks is frankly not realistic. However, it is within your reach to learn how to learn programming, which is immensely valuable in its own right.