End of Week Two

So much has happened this week and I feel like I have experience every range of emotion when it comes to programming. Some days I feel as if I know exactly when I’m doing. Other days I stare blankly at the screen not even sure where to begin. Sometimes both of those emotions happen during the course of the same day!

Thursday and Friday was finishing up jQuery. It’s really cool. It adds more functionality to web pages beyond just vanilla JavaScript. I was able to create a few exercises that involved dynamically creating content after the user interacts with some part of the web page. Pretty cool stuff.

Friday was also starting on APIs and Ajax. Basically, Ajax allows you to draw information from sources (APIs) and use them on your website without refreshing the webpage. Think about whenever you post a comment or like a photo. The page doesn’t reload or open another window.

This weekend I finally caught up on all of my assignments for Web Fundamentals. I feel pretty good about it. I feel like for the first time, I’ve actually made some really cool and practical apps. I feel as if I have a pretty good foundation for HTML, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, APIs, and AJAX.

almost

Monday we begin our first stack. We will be learning Python and a lot of the students have told us to prepare for the long nights. Apparently we are just getting started. I’m still looking forward to it. I’ve never been one to turn down a challenge!

challenge

Halfway Thru Week Two!

Just wanted to give a quick update.

I got a notification from my Dojo instructor last Sunday notifying me that my Belt Exam was posted on the learning platform. I immediately logged in to check it. 9.5/10. I felt pretty good about that. It was a nice boost of confidence before moving into JavaScript which, in my opinion, is MUCH harder conceptually than HTML or CSS.

Monday we spent class time wrapping up JavaScript, Objects, and manipulating the DOM. I feel like I have a pretty good handle on those concepts primarily due to the supplemental materials I used a few week before getting to Coding Dojo. I am so happy I am able to reference those other resources. I am learning that the Dojo is very independent and self-driven that I thought it would be. For some, this could be good or bad. If you are looking for someone to “spoon-feed” you the materials, coding bootcamps might not be the best resource for you. However, you if like googling, researching, and being in charge of the pace of your learning (similar to how it is in the real world) then the Dojo is perfect for you.

Tuesday we started on jQuery which is a JavaScript library. It makes things SO much easier! You can now add interactivity to web pages and alter HTML and CSS with only a few lines of code! I made a really simple game that involves clicking on pictures to hide them and then clicking a button at the bottom of the page to reset the images. My next project is to create a puzzle that involves images that get “flipped over” using jQuery.

Tomorrow we finish up jQuery and end the week with AJAX and that closes out our Web Fundamentals track. The next four weeks after that will focus on Python and different Python libraries. Also, our next assessment won’t be until the Python Belt Exam, so I’ll have a few more weeks to study. Looking forward getting to work with the lead instructor on Thursday and Friday!

P.S. – I bought some noise-cancelling headphones today from Best Buy.  I got a REALLY good deal on them. $100 off the orginal price of $249. They sound great and the noise-cancelling works pretty well. The best feature is that they are wireless! No cords! Love it.

Okay, heading to bed now. Early morning tomorrow.

Week One is Finished!

Officially finished up week one of the bootcamp yesterday. It’s crazy to think how far we all have come since the first day. Just a few weeks ago, I never thought that I would be able to recreate the design and layout of a real professional website. Now here I am being tested on that skill with only 5 hours to complete the exam!

level up

The saying is true, “Practice makes permanent” and I had a BUNCH of opportunities to practice this week. Side note: another great saying I found this weekend, “The way you do anything is the way you do everything.” I think that saying is so powerful. I really am trying my best to be as dedicated and committed to coding as I am with music and teaching. I feel like if I can at least match that intensity while learning and coding, I’ll MAYBE be okay.

motivation cat

I arrived at the Dojo early Friday morning. I wanted to finish up a previous CSS assignment from Thursday. I remember working on it for hours and feeling lost, frustrated, and depleted. Anytime I would change one property, it would warp my entire CSS layout. Thursday was not a good day. Friday morning, HOWEVER, was much better.

I felt relaxed and more clear minded after a night off from coding. It was wonderful. Sometimes it really does help to step away from a problem for a little bit especially if you are stuck. Friday morning, I was breezing through all of the parts I struggled with on Thursday. I didn’t suddenly become a better coder overnight. I was just working with greater focus and with a clearer mind. That was a very important lesson for me.

Anyway, I took the HTML/CSS Belt Exam on Friday. I started just a little after 9 a.m. I feel as if I did well. It took me about 2.5 hours to complete and I spent about half an hour just going over details and making sure the upload worked. Speaking of upload, some of my cohort members learned an important lesson about frequent saves and uploads that morning…That’s all I’ll say about that.

After the exam, I took a longer lunch to decompress and then immediately began working on the next section which is JavaScript. I feel like this new section is going to be harder than HTML and CSS but I’m going to prepare as best I can. Trying my best to be prepared and stay ahead of the curriculum.

be prepared

I am hoping to finish the JavaScript Module this weekend and be ready to discuss DOM manipulation on Monday!

P.S. SUPER excited about sushi tonight for my girlfriend’s birthday! 🙂

sushi

 

Day 3 – Finishing Up CSS

Today was the third day of class. I am starting to get more comfortable riding the train and being at the Dojo!

We started the day off with another algorithm challenge. These algorithms were harder than yesterday’s challenge. I like that they have us work on the whiteboard and not use a computer to figure out the challenges. It really helps you to think about the syntax and placement of the open and closing braces. It makes you realize how much the computer auto-completes for you! Additionally, after we graduate from the Dojo, whiteboard algorithms will be a major part of any serious interview we take.

We finished up our CSS unit today. I had a chance to post my assignments online. So far, I have been pretty successful in my goal to stay one day ahead of the due dates. Today I worked on some assignments due tomorrow.  I would still like to complete the optional assignments for extra practice. I’ll have to work on them probably this weekend. Below are some recreations of websites made completely from scratch! On the left is the template and on the right are my recreations. Each took between 3-6 hours to complete just using HTML and CSS. They’re not perfect BUT I’m really starting understanding the fundamentals of HTML and CSS. Check ’em out:

We could have started our JavaScript lesson but our instructor gave us another day to complete the CSS module. I feel pretty good with basic JavaScript so hopefully I can get a head start!

We have our first BELT EXAM on Friday…DUN DUN DUN!!! Basically, at the end of every unit, the students in the Dojo have 4 hours to complete an exam to prove their proficiency over the subject. In order to pass, students must earn a minimum of an 80%.

test

My goal is to earn a Black Belt (100% proficiency) in each stack that’s offered. Tomorrow is the review for the exam on Friday just over HTML and CSS.

Side Note: I still have not gotten used to staring at a screen all day. I try to keep a routine of taking a 5 minute break every hour to stretch my legs change my depth of focus for my eyes. Already developing some light discomfort in my back/shoulder/neck area. Going to bed early tonight. I really want to take care of myself and NOT deprive myself of sleep.

 

First Day!

My first day was actually yesterday but after coming home from the Dojo and working on some homework, I immediately crashed. So because of that, I am actually writing this the next morning…

sleep

Yesterday was AWESEOME. I took the train into West End Station and arrived at the Dojo around 8am. Upon getting there, I met two of my cohort members. We waited in the main area and met more people (both part of my cohort and members of previous cohorts) as they began to trickle in.

At about 9am, we all gathered in the main classroom area and did a simple “break-the-ice” activity. It was cheesy but fun and it did get me to talk to a bunch of new people so I really liked it.

After the activity, the members of my new cohort moved over to the “ice box” which was really just a cold break-out room. In here, the lead instructor for the Dallas Dojo laid things out for us. I really appreciated this session and wish I would have had something similar when I first got to college. It would have saved me from a semester of struggling! He basically was firm about us completing all of our assignments and reading up on the materials before the lecture. He helped us create the aggressive mindset we need to have going into the next 14 weeks. There can be no passiveness  in our path to becoming a professional programmer. It was a good speech.

clapping

We couldn’t begin with our first lesson because not everyone had completed the required assignments. We worked together as a group to help each other complete the pre-course work. I even had an opportunity to get up to the white board and help teach some algorithms! It was exciting to get to teach again! Everyone was in a different spot, but I think by the end of the day most everyone got caught up.

I really like my cohort! I think even though we all have different backgrounds and levels of experience, the thing I really appreciate is how surprisingly tight-knit we are. We have a facebook messenger chat group set up that we actively use and we are already talking about working on projects together and meeting up after class somewhere to study. I think it’s really cool!

friends

We took a short lunch around noon which was a much needed break from sitting for so long. Our group walked over to the glass pyramid not too far from the Dojo. It had a bunch of restaurants and was similar to a mall food court. I ate my lunch at the Dojo but I still joined them for lunch. I am glad I did because we got to know a little bit more about each other.

After lunch, we had a short lecture about HTML and then the rest of the afternoon was spent working on our homework or other assignments. I finished all of my HTML which was our assignment for the first day and got about halfway through CSS which is our assignment for the next two days. I really hope I can stay ahead. Our lead instructor really said something earlier that day that resonated with me. “The difference between having fun in the pool with a drink in your hand and drowning is just an inch.” Meaning, we HAVE to keep our heads above water, stay ahead of our course work even if it’s only for an “inch”. Love it.

I left the Dojo at about 7pm. It’s crazy that think that I spent 11 hours there! Compared to teaching, it was a short day, but my brain was FRIED by the end of the day. I guess that means I did it right. Came home, ate dinner, made lunch for tomorrow, and continued working on my assignments for about another 2.5 hours. By about 10pm I could no longer look at a computer screen and my bed was calling me!

greatday

It was a great day!

 

Tomorrow’s the Day…

So I totally wasn’t planning on it, but I started out my day doing YOGA. I’ve NEVER done yoga before. On top of that, it was HOT yoga. Needless to say, I was completely drenched after the session.

Looking back, I’m so glad my girlfriend asked me to join her primarily because she has been SO supportive of my recent decision to learn to code. I wanted to do something that would reciprocate my support of her learning yoga. Secondly, since learning to code, I have learned to let go of my fear of failing or looking dumb. I put EVERYTHING into yoga this morning and while I might not have looked graceful doing it, I felt pretty good about my first attempt. I guess that falls in line with the title of my blog, strength through struggle. You can really increase your potential for learning when you leave your ego behind and just dive right in. “Don’t know how to code? Oh, well! I’m about to learn!” or “Don’t know any yoga poses? I think I look dumb doing this! Oh, well! Too late! I’m already here. Might as well give it my all!”

Speaking of struggling, I struggled through a module today. This one was over Git and Github. I struggled because it was something new I had not learned before. It also involved me using the command prompt on my computer. Something, that for some reason makes me REALLY nervous. Maybe due to fear of accidentally deleting something and summoning the blue screen of death.

I was not motivated to complete that module at all BUT I kept with it and eventually found small victories in understanding completing each small assignment. I can say I now know more feel comfortable with Git and version control.

After finishing that module, I got a head start on CSS even though it’s not technically due on Monday. Most of it was review but it was definitely needed as I haven’t worked with CSS in a few weeks. Actually, some of the slides were very helpful and filled in some gaps in my knowledge.

I stopped about halfway through the CSS module in order to write this post and get ready for bed. Early day tomorrow because it’s the first day of my coding journey!

P.S.

Rockets won tonight over the Timberwolves!

Today was St. Paddy’s Day…

I now have quite a collection of beads.

The parade was fun and a good reminder that friends are important. You can work as hard as you want and learn as much as you can but having friends that have your back and support you is very important.

Finished up the HTML module after watching the Rockets game (they beat the Pelicans btw). Basically in this module, I was given a template and asked to duplicate it using HTML. Below are a few shots of the templates and the finished products.

Here’s a snippet of some of the code I used:

Now it’s on to the next module: Git and Using Terminal Commands. This will be new material for me so I want to get a head start on it tonight and all tomorrow. Back to work I go!

Tomorrow is Saint Paddy’s Day…

Today started off pretty well.

Received an email from Skills Fund approving my loan for Coding Dojo. I was a little worried that it wouldn’t come in time. After signing off on that, I completed the rest of my pre-course work. 100% COMPLETE!

finished

Once completing the pre-course work, I was able to unlock the Web Fundamentals module and begin working on that. I am not exactly sure if I should be working on it before class but I would rather take the chance and be ahead than unprepared for the first day of class.

Tomorrow is the big St. Paddy’s Day parade on Greenville so I’m not quite sure how much work I’ll get done. Trying to do as much as possible tonight and Sunday! Okay, going to work on more Web Fundamentals module and possibly look for something GREEN to wear tomorrow!

Last Day of Python Class

Today was the last Python class. More people showed up than last week. Interestingly, our teacher for the past three week was out sick today. The lead instructor for Coding Dojo Dallas filled in for him today.

I was eager to see what kind of teacher he was compared to our original teacher. I thought our first teacher was good but you could tell he was kind of new to teaching. His information was good and he explained things clearly but he didn’t seem to know how to explain things another way if some people didn’t quite get the concept the first time.

The teacher today, however, teaches like a seasoned vet. He is quick with analogies and examples which only come with experience from teaching. I really like his teaching style and found myself more engaged with the lesson. It was REALLY good.

Anyway, when class was over, I walked up to him to introduce myself. Nothing crazy. Just told him about how excited I am to begin on Monday at Coding Dojo.

After class, I walked to the parking garage with another teacher who told me he is signed up for the June cohort. I’ll probably get to see him for a week or two before I have to graduate. He seemed friendly enough but I forgot to catch his name. I did get connect with a few other people. One student I talked to seemed to be really comfortable with coding. He mentioned being self taught and maybe took a few community college classes. He seemed really chill and maybe someone I could study with sometime so I asked for his contact info. He seemed genuine in his offer to meet up sometime and talk coding.

Anyway, I came home made dinner (keto salad!) and kept working on more pre-course assignments. I’m almost done! Just a few more problems left. Each one keeps getting harder but I’m looking forward to meeting the challenge! I’ll leave you with a HYPE Rockets gif:

Hardenshimmy

More Pre-course Work…

Started the morning off with some algorithms from Coding Dojo. Still trying to get all of the challenges below 2 minutes.

I spent most of the morning working on that and also completing more pre-course work. I have just one more page of problems to go and then I am finished! Here’s a screenshot of some of the problems I’ve solved so far:

pre-coursework1

It’s crazy to think that just a few months ago, all of the above would have been like trying to read and understand a foreign language. I’m pretty happy with the progress I’ve made on my own. I know there is still SO much to learn about programming. I’m looking forward to getting started!

I’ve got my last Python class tonight at the Dojo. Last meeting, less than half the class showed up. I’m curious how many are going to show up tonight. I should probably look over my python assignment one more time before heading that way!