An Analyst Lead at Forum Research recognized the importance of data-driven products, and took BrainStation's Data Science course to improve his understanding of data insights. Read on to find out how Alex is using his new data skills to create better products.
Click here to learn more about BrainStation’s Intro to Web Development Course.
Now that you’re almost halfway through your course, what has been your favourite aspect of the course?
My favourite part of the course so far is getting exposure to all kinds of real-world scenarios, such as seeing different coding styles, knowing where and when to use shortcuts, and debugging. We’ve had an additional instructor the last two weeks and it’s fascinating to see how they can code something quite differently and end up with a nearly identical result.
I’ve been in classroom settings where our learning was so isolated from what actually goes on in the real world and translating those skills to fit reality was extremely difficult. That isn’t the case with this course! I really appreciate being in a learning environment where I’m told that it’s okay not to know everything. Everyone makes mistakes in their code no matter how much experience they may have, and it’s definitely not realistic to expect perfect results right off the bat. If you understand the rules and functionality of the code then you can figure out how to fix your mistakes.
How is your project coming along?
My final project will be my graphic design online portfolio. The project is still fermenting away in my thoughts, though I have a pretty good idea about how I want it to look and behave. I already have some UX experience, so this week I’ll be wire framing my ideas and deciding on what functions I’ll need to make it work. Then if I have any specific questions, I know I can ask my instructor for guidance on what skills I can focus on in class or on my own time.
What have you found to be the most useful tool in building your skill?
What I find to be the most useful, are the course challenges. We are typically given a task that asks us to use the knowledge we’ve learned in class, but including aspects we haven’t learned yet, forcing us to research and experiment and ask questions. When I’m done with the course I’m not going to have an instructor and classmates to ask for help when I get stuck, so the research skills I’m learning in class will be a very useful tool when I’m on my own.
With 4 weeks under your belt, are you finding you are looking at things differently with your newfound knowledge?
I am a right brain type of thinker and coding is definitely a left brain thinking skill, so when I started this course I was concerned that I would have a hard time keeping up. But I am really enjoying what I’ve learned so far and coding is starting to become part of my everyday life. I am so fascinated by code that I just want to learn as much as I can, so I try to squeeze in as much practice I can during the week in between classes. What is amazing about that is how much I enjoy it, and how it doesn’t feel like work. Also, I can’t help but get curious about the structures behind the websites I visit and I have even started using the Inspector tool on cool features just to see how they are built. I never would have expected that to happen in just four weeks.
What are your goals for week 5 & 6?
I’m really looking forward to learning Bootstrap next, because that will help me with my final project’s layout and responsiveness. I’ve heard is also great for positioning images, which is extremely important for a portfolio site which is almost entirely image based. I’m also hoping to learn WordPress because I plan to host my portfolio there. I also plan to polish my CSS knowledge; there are so many different elements and attributes that it’s hard to keep straight.