So week one of Makers Academy is over. How do I feel right now? Excited.
I am more excited now about the course than I was at the beginning of the week. Starting a course that is this intensive, with a company that is still fairly young, was daunting. But as I get more involved in the coding, and as I get to meet more and more amazing people who are on the same journey as I am, I get more and more excited.
By Friday, we had learnt a lot. We’d had hours of lectures and spent hours and hours coding. On top of all the pre-course materials we had covered, there was a lot of new information quietly nesting itself into my brain. But how much of it was actually sticking? Working through the project during the week was a good way to get a general idea of how I was doing, but it wasn’t concrete enough. I wanted to really know how much of it was sticking. Thankfully, we were given three ‘challenges’ on Friday. Two of them were related to the pre-course materials and were meant to be completed during the day. I worked my way through these, sometimes confident, sometimes a little unsure, and sometimes turning to the ever-helpful google for answers. I managed to complete both of them in time, and even earned my first official Makers Badge. For every challenge you complete well, you are given a badge to symbolise that you have succeeded in that area of coding.
The third challenge was given to us at the end of the day, as homework over the weekend. It was based around all of the new material we had covered over the week. I’ve slowly spent my day working through it and have managed to get it to a stage where it all works, but I want to spend longer on it tomorrow making it more elegant and efficient. It was made clear to us that these badges were highly sought after and that we really had to work hard to earn them, so work hard I will!
The next stages
During the past week I had been lucky enough to pair with an amazing partner for the entire project. We were told as a cohort, however, that from next week on we need to start learning how to pair programme with other people. This means that we now need to start a daily shift of pair partners. Although I will be sad to leave my partner, it is exciting to work with other people and see how they code. You might be thinking that surely everyones code is the same. If you are trying to create the same project, using the same learned material, shouldn’t it look almost identical? No.
What has really hit home this week is that coding languages are called languages for a reason. Although the syntax might be the same, the way that different people write code is very very different. There are many ways to make a line of code do the same thing, and everyone has their own unique ways of writing it. This is why I’m eager to work with other people, so we can share ideas on how to write efficient and elegant code. As with all languages, code can be written in a way that it appears ‘beautiful’, or code can be written in such a way that it appears ‘clunky’ and ‘ugly’. Learning how to write ‘beautiful’ code is one of the aims of MakersAcademy, and sharing knowledge and ideas is how we will *hopefully* get to that stage.
Retrospective/Lessons for the week;
By around 4pm everyone at MakersAcademy got together in the central area and had a group retrospective (based on agile retrospectives) about how the past few weeks had gone (or the past week, for the September cohort). Much of what was said was informative and interesting but a few things stood out for me that fitted in well with my own retrospective of the week.
- Learning how to code is a group activity. It is very hard to learn how to code individually. Remaining in your own bubble while at Makers will not help you, or others around you. Asking for help and providing help to others cements the knowledge much more strongly.
- Taking regular breaks in the office, to play ping pong, or to do yoga or meditation, are the key survival tactics. Although doing these can sometimes make the office noisy and distracting for others, it increases the relaxed atmosphere in the office that makes it such a nice working and learning environment.