Day … I’ve lost count. Next to last

So I’ve fallen off the blogging map.

I’ve been spending all my time working on my final project and all of my other disciplines and good habits fell to the wayside.

First my partner and I wanted to create a simple HTML5 game but after four days of no traction we realized that we were looking at a mountain we had no time to climb. So we scaled it back to an implementation of Texas Hold’em.

We actually achieved about 60% functionality. My partner spent his time working through a very in-depth tutorial on how to create a deck of cards using only HTML , CSS, and JavaScript. Its actually pretty awesome. I spent my time making the layout of the game as well as getting the connectivity with Firebase. Separate, our two pieces were awesome. But alas, we were not able to put them together in time.

In oder to effectively display and access all the different pieces of data we needed we would have to completely rewrite all of my partner’s code. The way it constructed cards just would not work for the way Firebase and our App operated. And I’m not talking about swapping around a few functions. I’m talking about a complete reboot.

If we had two, maybe three more days we could totally do it. But we dont. Ugh. We worked really hard on it today and we’ve logged more than 16 hours today alone. I had to accept defeat.

I guess this is time for me to reflect upon this course:

Overall, this was the best educational decision I think I’ve ever made. Its a legitimate trade skill that I love and I know I will excel at. There are a lot of rough edges, but I see the work that the staff puts in and I respect them for it. This school will be an excellent program one day. As it stands, I’d probably give it a 7.5 out of 10. Good, and on its way to awesome.

As far as my own skills go: I have learned so much so fast that my head is starting to spin. At this point, I really just want to pick one thing and dominate it. I was really comfortable with PHP and CodeIgniter and I probably would be very comfortable with Ruby and Rails. I think one of my problems with this course is that instead of focusing on what I was really comfortable with I chose to tackle something very ambitious for someone at my experience level: Node.js.

Node.js sucked my coding soul dry. JavaScript is the future of much of the web and it’s extremely powerful. However, theres so much about JavaScript that just makes it effing screwy and a pain to deal with. JavaScript, as a language, doesnt operate as other languages do. It really has to be dealt with as its own monster.

I really want to spend a good amount of time in the future dedicating myself to studying JavaScript and all the connected emerging tech (such as Node.js, Express.js, Angular.js).

However, I feel like I’m ending this course on a very low note. I have two half finished projects to show for my 9 weeks here. I believe that the reason is that I have a sort of foolish optimism and I’m very ambitious. I never realized how hard it would be for me to learn Node.js at this level. I had no idea there were so many things that go into creating a simple HTML5 game. I didnt realize how long and how hard it would be to overcome certain subjects or aspects of a tech.

Yet, as they say, through struggle, comes strength.

I really have covered and learned a lot. I cant even quantify it. I absolutely love this.

Demo day is tomorrow. At this point in the course’s life cycle, its really unnecessary. Demo day has really been more about introducing recruiters to what the students can do. Once they understand where we are at then they can better judge whether or not they can put is into positions. By now, most recruiters know the business model and they know what kind of people come out of these courses. Nobody gets hired at demo day. Thats not what its for.

At this point it would be more useful for Demo Day to just be a fun last hurrah party where the senior class shows off their projects to the junior class. And we drink beer. Lots of beer…

Thats it. Thats all Demo Day should really be. The problem is that most students coming into these bootcamps expect Demo Day to be a really big hiring speed dating activity. Its not. It never was and never is in any boot camp.

Oh well, I dont know what I’ll do tomorrow.

However, I think I have decided that starting tomorrow, I’m going to rewrite everything in our code and complete this Texas Hold’em game. When complete it will actually be really cool. That is my mission.

And I always complete my mission (sooner or later).


8 thoughts on “Day … I’ve lost count. Next to last

  1. Vahe says:

    Read your blog and it’s inspiring. I’m in a similar
    position wife + kids, and need to change careers. I’ve been looking
    at App Academy and Coding Dojo. Any updates? Any recommendations?
    Have you found a job?

    • Yeah man, it’s an all in gamble. I’d honestly recommend Coding Dojo over app academy. App Academy puts enormous pressure on you and they are actively kicking people out of their course. Maybe thats cool if you were single and fresh out of college, but not if your family depends on you. That and by and large, they only teach you Ruby and Rails. That’s like being a one trick dog: neat but worthless if you have any aspirations of living outside the Bay Area.

      I loved the Dojo. It’s a goofy name and some rough edges on content, but you’ll learn sooo much.

      As to jobs, no I don’t have one yet but I have a lot of good leads. I’m working on finding something on the east coast (VA and PA) and its all PHP. A number of my classmates have jobs already and a good portion of the class ahead of me has jobs. It takes about 2 or 3 months usually.

  2. James says:

    I read through all of your blog for Coding Dojo. I just got accepted and your blog both made me nervous and excited. I was recently laid off as a web developer, but don’t let that fool you. I definitely have HTML and CSS experience but lack other critical languages.

    I noticed your last reply was in September. I start this boot camp November 11. BAsed on your blog, some advice you would have is spend a lot of time a day learning/networking/coding. What other advice would you give?

    • Yeah I kinda fell out of the habit of blogging (which is a shame because I was doing so well! haha). Long story short, I got a great job in Pittsburgh about a month and a half after graduating.

      Honestly though, other than working like a dog and understanding that your life is 97% dedicated to coding (3% is allocated to sleep, and if you’re like me, church). Just keep banging away at it and suck up everything you can from the instructors, other resources, and each other.

      Truth be told, even though the instructors were recently students, they still know a hell of a lot. They dont just stop after graduation but Michael (the founder) keeps them studying on more advanced stuff and they also work on internal projects. So they know their stuff. And when in doubt, the TAs in the Philippines and Michael are rock stars.

      Really, the biggest pice of advice I can give is to just do it and dont complain. There will be ups and downs and some of the material is a bit unpolished. But they are working on improving it all the time. And despite the rough edges, you’ll learn a ton!

      Ergo: do it

  3. James says:

    Thanks for the reply! It’s helpful to know that aftermath of the brain suck I will have by attending the school. I’m a highly motivated person when it comes to coding. I’m constantly trying to learn and realized that I have no one around me to sit with to feed off of and learn from. That seems crazy to say being that I live in Silicon Valley! ha! But nonetheless, I enjoyed your blog and experience through the time you spent at Coding Dojo.

    On that note…Here goes nothing!

  4. I’m thinking about CodingDojo, but worried the pace will be too fast. What happened to people who fell behind? I know HTML and CSS. I’m worried after week 2 I’ll just bomb. I have been left in the dust in programming classes before.

    • So it was more than a year ago that I attend and a lot has changed but the basic structure remains the same. The course is self paced and everyone usually stays within the same two week range of each other. Some are faster, some are slower. I made a lot of quick progress because I put in a crazy amount of time. They never kicked anyone out for falling behind and they were totally willing to help out anyone who needed it.

      Punch line: go for it! 🙂

  5. Shawn says:

    Really like your blog. I’m weighing Dev Bootcamp – Coding Dojo and App Academy. I was wondering if you could give an update on your post Coding Dojo life. How easy was it for you to find a job? Are you currently employed? Did the training adequately prepare you? How was your bootcamp-style education received by employers / professional colleagues? From what you know of your colleagues at Coding Dojo, how “employable” are Coding Dojo alum? Thanks!

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