Week 6, 7, & 8!!

Man I can’t believe it has been three weeks since I’ve last blogged.  Talk about slacking.  Needless to say the past few weeks have been a blur.  Student-life balance?  What’s that?  It’s kind of funny, if anything I feel like what’s throwing me off balance is this pursuit of balance.  How ironic is that? Attempting to have some kind of semblance of a social life while I’m in this coding boot camp has been exhausting.  Man what I would do for a day to just chill and relax at home. Oh well, on to my recap of the past few weeks…

Week 6

So we’ve finally getting into the nitty-gritty of back end development.  We started to learn MySQL.  The syntax takes some getting used to, especially since it doesn’t resemble anything that we’ve learned so far.  However the material isn’t too hard to digest.  The concepts are fairly straight forward.  Make tables, put stuff into tables, read and update the table.  There’s actually a funny acronym for it; CRUD.  Create, Read, Update, Delete.  The homework for this week was to create a basic store app that ran on the command line.  Sure it doesn’t sound like much, but I had a blast coding it.  Why?  Because EVERYTHING WORKED THE WAY I THOUGHT IT WOULD!  There’s nothing more satisfying than sitting there, typing out code, and having everything work the way you thought it would.  The assignment was due on June 26th, I ended up finishing it the night it was introduced on the 22nd.  I was so enthralled by the assignment I was actually eager to show my instructor the app the next day before class.  Here’s a screenshot I took as part of my homework submission.  2_quantity_update

Week 7

Now we’re finally starting to deploy full stack applications using Express.  I find it to be pretty exciting to have finally come full circle.  We started off learning front end, then we learned some back end, and now we’re finally putting it all together.  At first Express was pretty foreign, as things usually are when we first learn them, but after a few exercises it wasn’t that bad.  Setting up routes and testing them with Postman was fairly straight forward.  Our assignment for this week was to make this Friend Finder app.  Feel free to take the survey and find out who you new best friend will be!

Friend Finder!


Week 8

This week we focused on two things primarily.  Handlebars and incorporating MySQL with Express.  Handlebars wasn’t nearly as bad as it looked.  Sure the syntax at first was strange but once you got used to it, it wasn’t that bad.   I definitely appreciated the #each and #if helpers.  Saved some time not having to code out the iterations or conditions.  Not to mention it ends up making the code look a lot cleaner.

After the boot camp is over I definitely want to spend some time getting better with MySQL.  It seems like a very powerful tool.  I’d like to get to the point where I feel comfortable making all the basic queries without having to reference documentation.  We started to learn about object-relational mapping which I found to be pretty interesting.  I’m all for efficiency, why would you want to constantly write the same code over and over again when you can just have a collection of ORMs that you could use.

For this week’s assignment they wanted us to construct our app using the MVC architecture along with ORMs.  Now at this point we’re not using Sequelize and we had no idea what MVC was.  There were a few activities that they gave to us as reference to help with the assignment.  It took me a good hour or two to finally get how the flow of the MVC worked and about another hour to fully understand what their ORM was doing.  I could’ve copied the ORM from the activity to use in my assignment but I decided to make my own since I was able to tailor them for what I needed.   Check out the final product.  A simple app that asks users to create a burger, stores the burgers and their status on a SQL database, and displays them on a page.

Eat Da Burger


I really can’t believe there’s only a little over four weeks remaining in the course.  It’s really hard to believe how much we’ve learned in this short amount of time.  It’s crazy to think that it’s about time to start redacting my resume and start applying to places.  I’m excited to see what the future has in store.  The whole process has been really great so far.  For the first time in my life I can honestly say that I’ve really enjoyed being a student.  Also with great sorrow It may very well be the case that for the first time in my life in my group of friends I could very well be the worst one in a video game that we all play…



Week 4 & 5 Combo!

Man, time is sure flying by.  I don’t know if that’s a good thing or bad thing.  I can still remember how slow week 1 went.  Coding was such a new experience, everyday I was building a foundation on a blank slate, and each day felt long and drawn out.  Fast forward to the present and it’s already day 1 of week 6!  Every day I’m still learning new things but the concepts aren’t as foreign as they once were.  A foundation has been laid.  I won’t call it solid but it’s there.  I’m not sure why times going by as fast as it is now as opposed to how slow it was going initially.  Now that I think about it, it kind of makes me nervous that times going by as fast as it is.  I’m nearly halfway through the program and there’s still so much I want to learn and practice but the pace of the boot camp is unrelenting.

We’re beginning to transition to back end development.  We briefly worked with Google’s Firebase platform.  Using it as a database I created a train scheduler for a homework assignment.

Train Scheduler

The user inputs a train name, destination, the first time it runs, and the frequency.  The information gets stored in Firebase and we then use the information to calculate an arrival time and then display everything to the page.  Seems pretty straight forward but it was pretty cool for the first time to have user input saved and displayed.

I’m looking forward to learning more about back end development.  I think right now if I had to pick between the two I’d probably lean more towards back end.  Although creating a visually stunning front end of a website is fun and rewarding, I think I’ll find the back end workings to be more interesting and challenging.  That’s just where I’m at now, but who knows what I’ll be thinking by the end of week 12.

Week 3

First off, I’d like to apologize to all my faithful readers.  It is now Tuesday evening and I still haven’t updated you guys on how Week 3 went.  That’s because this past weekend I actually had a social life!  Yup, went for the full trifecta and went out on Friday, Saturday, AND Sunday.  Yes, yes shame on me.  All those good hours I could’ve spent coding wasted on family and friends.  In my defense I coded before going out each night and my homework wasn’t due until Wednesday.  So I don’t feel terribly guilty about not dedicating my entire weekend to coding.

Back to week 3.  Everything is going pretty well.  I felt better at the end of week 3 than I did at the end of week 2.  I feel like I have a decent grasp on the JavaScript and jQuery material we’ve covered so far.  Check out this Game of Thrones trivia I made using JS and jQuery.

Game of Trivia

I had originally written all the questions out in the HTML.  After looking at the giant wall of text in my HTML file I figured there was probably a better way of doing this with JavaScript.  And sure enough there was.  Placed the questions and choices in an object.  Then created a loop and used jQuery to write it to the HTML.

That’s the beauty of JavaScript.  If you can think of a solution to your problems there’s usually a way to do it in JS.  A classmate had an issue “grading” her trivia.  As part of the instructions for the homework in addition to the right and wrong answers we also had to take account of the unanswered questions as well.  Her problem was accounting for the unanswered questions.  This was also the hardest part I had with the homework.  It took me a while to figure out the solution for my homework, but with the guidance of my TAs and instructor I was able to figure it out.  Because of the way I had written my code the solution to my problems ended up being pretty complicated.  So naturally when I was trying to help my classmate I was trying to implement the things that I learned from my own problem to hers.  Our code ended up being drastically different and I wasn’t able to implement a solution that was similar to what I had done.  Later that day I checked in with my classmate to see if she was able to get it working.  Turns out she had found a really simple solution to her problem.   Had I not been so focused on the way I solved my own problem and took a step back to look at the big picture I may have been able to see the simple solution that was right there.  And I guess that’s the beauty of coding.  Even though we had the same exact problem, the solutions couldn’t have been more different.

The lesson there is to always be looking at the big picture.  What exactly is it that you’re trying to do?  What are the things that you’re currently working with?  Is this enough to do what you’re trying to accomplish?  If not, what else do you need?  I’m still really enjoying this learning process.  The more I learn and understand the better I get.  And getting better is fun.  I’ve never been in an educational setting that was so instantaneously gratifying.  I can only hope the remainder of the boot camp goes the same.


Week 2: JavaScript and jQuery

Well the boot camp is definitely starting to get harder.  Instead of the end of day burnouts I had during week one, I actually found myself getting burnt out during the class on some of the days.  I guess with HTML and CSS most of the concepts have a visual aspect to them so it isn’t as hard to conceptually visualize how things should work.  However with JavaScript and jQuery since a lot of the concepts are more dynamic and kind of take place behind the scenes it requires a bit more brainpower to digest.

One of the most difficult aspects of learning JavaScript is that there’s just so much to learn.  The best way I can describe it is that in class we’re taught how to put sentences together, but we don’t know enough to make a paragraph.  And in most cases we need to be making paragraphs, not sentences.  When I was working with HTML and CSS if I had parts of the paragraph missing I could usually describe what I needed to search for to fill in the blanks.  With JavaScript it’s a lot harder since there’s so many different ways of going about doing the same thing.  Even if you’re able to find a solution to your problem it might not even apply to the method you’ve used.

The homework assignments have also started to increase in difficulty.  In week one the homework assignments were more time consuming than they were hard.  Planning, AKA pseudocoding, is very important.  I’ll admit, planning has never really been my style.  I’m more of a throw it against the wall and see if it sticks type of guy.  But it didn’t take me long to learn that if I wanted to work efficiently I would need to take the time to pseudocode and figure out step by step what I needed to do.

Even after all the planning in the world, I’m still my own worst enemy.  Debugging code as a newbie is definitely a frustrating experience.  Does my code actually work?  Did I write it correctly?  Are there any typos?   How about a missing semicolon?  Do my conditions have the right number of equal signs?  Are you sure there aren’t any typos?  Are all my parentheses and curly brackets closing the right things?  Is everything in the right scope?  Lexical !@#$ing scope…  If you have no idea what lexical scope is I wont burden you with an explanation.  Just imagine Schrödinger’s cat meets Inception.

I think my head is still above water at this point, but I do feel myself sinking a bit.  While most people will spend this MDW at the beach or BBQing, I’ll be spending a majority of it trying to stay on top of all the material we’ve covered, maybe one BBQ…



Week 1

I’ve made it through week one!  It has definitely been a challenging week.  The pace is faster than anything I’ve ever been exposed to before.  Luckily I’ve managed to keep my head above water and stay afloat.  The experience is like being on a roller coaster.  At the lows I know absolutely nothing about the material we’re about to cover.  As the coaster gets higher I’m gradually understanding and grasping the concepts.  Then at the top I’m able to apply what I’ve learned and then I plummet back into a state where I know absolutely nothing.  So far we’ve learned how to use GitHub, command line, HTML, CSS, and Bootstrap.

I’m really enjoying this experience so far.  It is challenging enough so it keeps me engaged.  Yet not so challenging that I’m not able to overcome the learning hurdles.  The homework assignments have actually been kinda fun too.  It’s a rewarding experience when you can conceptually visualize how a project should be tackled, apply what you have learned, and then execute and turn the code you’ve written into what you had imagined.  Even when things don’t workout as you had planned, the learning experience in finding a solution or a workaround is just as satisfying.  Here are a few of the assignments that we’ve had so far.

Aside from coding this first week has also given me some things that I’ve never had before.  A new found appreciation for any individual supporting themselves and making the commitment to further their education.  I can’t possibly imagine having to work in addition to attending this boot camp.  The immersive nature of this boot camp probably wouldn’t allow anyone to not fully commit themselves to this full time.  Still I have much respect for anyone that can find the motivation to day in and day out go to work, support themselves, and still find the energy to further their education.  I have also never in my life felt like there wasn’t enough hours in a day until now.  On a daily basis I’m finding myself wishing I had more time to either study, do home work, or catch up on chores around the house.  Most of all I wish I had a few extra hours to sleep at night.  Lastly I have learned how to enjoy the activity of completely vegging out.  Now some of you may be thinking, C’mon Adam you’ve done your fair share of vegging out.  You’d be surprised to find out it’s actually quite the opposite.  I hate doing absolutely nothing.  I hate being in a quiet room, I’m always either watching something, listening to something, or doing something on the computer.   After my second day of class I came home and spent the entire day coding.  Reviewing what we were taught in class, going over supplemental material, and working on homework.  It was about 10:00 PM when I decided I had my fill for the day.  I decided I’d join some friends and play some video games online.  I couldn’t.  My brain was so burnt out that I couldn’t enjoy a few minutes playing a game on the computer.  As unusual as that was I thought maybe I’d just watch some TV before bed.  Again, I couldn’t.  Just the noise and stimulation was discomforting.  So instead I turned off the TV and just sat there on my couch doing absolutely nothing, and it was great.

This week we’ll be diving into JavasScript, another low along the roller coaster where yet again I’ll know absolutely nothing.  I hope to keep up my motivation and stay afloat for another week.  I’ll leave you guys with a quote from one of my favorite shows which reflects how I feel on a daily basis.