This week leading up to the exam has been action packed. The good news is I’ve learned A LOT about myself during this whole process. I’ve discovered what I am capable of and my limitations.
Also that asking for help is NOT a bad thing as obvious as that sounds. I wanted to learn coding and not be told the answers but sometimes, especially when doing something completely new, it’s not a bad idea to ask for guidance.
On to the exam. Just FYI, “Black Belt” means scoring at least a 9.5/10 or higher. So Coding Dojo has this to say about their exams:
“Know that many of our black belt students had to take the belt exam two or even three times. These exams are NOT easy. We give these exams to those that apply to join Coding Dojo staff as an instructor/consultant, many of whom have 5-7+ years of experience, and 70-80% of them fail the exam.
Do NOT get discouraged, and even if you fail the first time, take it again until you can earn your red/black belt. We believe that all of our students can get belts. It’s just a matter of time and perseverance.”
Now, with that all said, the exam was hard but I think it was doable! Without getting into the details, it involved the concept of database tables and self join. Kind of a tricky topic for someone who is just learning but I started with what I knew and went from there. All in all, I completed the exam in just under 5 hours. I turned in what I had and sat in my chair for a few minutes just to decompress.
While I was sitting, I had a thought. A little over a month ago I had absolutely no idea how to code. In just 5 week I have learned to create a simple but functioning website that is actually deployed on the internet for anyone to see/use…
I then compared it to my first month of teaching and how new everything was and how things seems to be flying by at 200 mph. Now compared to year 7 of teaching, there are always going to be challenges, but I feel like a much stronger teacher than I was my first MONTH of teaching.
I haven’t even been coding for a year. I haven’t even been coding for 6 months! Just the thought of the potential for growth and experience a year from now really gets me excited about programming.
I got up from my chair and walked over to my instructor and asked if she could grade my exam today instead of over the weekend. She was happy to do that. I then asked if it wasn’t too much trouble, could she go over it with me and point out the things I could improve on this weekend. She seems to really like that idea. So much so, she asked everyone to stick around after the exam to go over it together.
I made a 7.95/10. Coding Dojo requires a minimum of 8/10 to pass. I’ll be taking it again on Tuesday of this next week.
Now on to the good news, I spent all this morning basically “taking” my exam from Friday again. I studied fixed the things that deducted from my overall score and made it completely functional. I sent it to my instructor to review and she was happy I was working on it this weekend. She told me the exam we took was really hard and that now I should have no trouble with the next exam because it’s slightly easier.
I am looking forward to taking the next one on Tuesday!
P.S. – Post exam, a big of group of students from the dojo invited everyone to meet at a mexican restaurant downtown for food and drinks.
I almost didn’t want to go because I wanted to come home and start working on redoing my exam but then I remembered: One of the most important things for me while I was teaching were the people I worked with. Having that connection with people you see almost on a daily basis makes a HUGE impact. It ended up being something I would look forward to each day and those co-workers ended up being my best friends.
I decided to meet up with the group and it was a really good time! It’s cool when a group a people from all different backgrounds can come together with the same purpose; to learn programming.