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 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.