My first week at Makers has surprised me in so many ways. We were introduced to pair programming and TDD in our final week of the precourse, but I’ve never been in a situation where I’ve had to work with a new person every day and our project has been a lot more complex and longer than anything we came across in the precourse. Every day we have a ‘stand up’ where as a group we think about the previous day and consider what went well, what we struggled with and what our focus is for the upcoming day. For me, there have been a few recurring themes which I’m going to highlight, in the hope that it will help me create targets for this week.
I think these last three days have been my most productive in a long while, and I think that’s largely down to pair programming. I can’t quite believe it’s only Wednesday, when I feel like I’ve managed to learn so much.
On Monday, we officially started our bootcamp and I finally met the rest of my cohort. We shared mixed emotions of excitement and apprehension as we had no idea what to expect from our first day. Day one actually ended up being pretty easy going. It was largely a day to get introduced to the cohort and staff, what to expect and how to get the most out of our time and then a teeny bit of coding at the end. Followed by pizza. Obviously.
1.. 2.. FIZZ!
Ring any bells? What if I continue? 4.. BUZZ! That innocent Fizzbuzz game teachers made you play in primary school to learn your times tables that you corrupted by turning into a drinking game at uni? Oh yeahhh… That. That was our task this week. Our aim was to create a FizzBuzz program, a pretty straightforward task by our standards now, except we were to use it as an opportunity to pair program and to start incorporating TDD into our coding habits.
Thankfully, the July cohort were right when they reassured us that Chris Pine week (aka PreCourse Week 2) would be the most difficult, and once over that hurdle, it would be an easier ride for the remainder.
On Friday evening, we were invited to see the May 2016 cohort present their final projects to their family and friends. I was warned that I would be blown away, and boy, I was. These projects did not disappoint.
On Tuesday evening, after a solid day of working on Week 3 of the PreCourse at Google Campus, I ventured over to the Entrepreneur First offices in Bermondsey to attend my first coding MeetUp.
It was organised by Ladies of Code and focused on TDD: Test Driven Development. As part of the PreCourse so far, we’ve touched upon this concept, in running RSpec scripts to check some of our code submissions, but in reality I couldn’t tell you much about how you actually go about demonstrating TDD in the professional programming space. Until now that is.
I find it incredibly reassuring when I google ‘recursion’, the concept I really struggled with on this week’s challenge, this post on topcoder.com came up as one of the top results:
‘It is often hard, however, to see how a problem can be approached recursively; it can be hard to “think” recursively’
Yep, you can say that again. Of course it’s hard to think recursively. I’ve been educated my whole life to ‘get to the point’. To ‘stop going round in circles’. And now, I’ve find out that actually this is one of the most powerful tools in programming. I had some unlearning to do!
The Makers Academy PreCourse takes place in the four weeks prior to the three month bootcamp and involves completing set challenges and going through learning materials remotely from wherever you’re based.
Our first challenge was based on understanding the command line and git. Our task? A murder mystery to be solved by using only the command line to navigate a huge number of files and search for clues. Ummm, what? I’ve only been using the command line to execute my .rb files so far… which I made in SublimeText… and I’m not allowed to use that?!