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Now that you’re almost half way through your course, what has been your favourite aspect of the course thus far?
From the beginning, my favourite part has definitely been the perfect balance of guidance and autonomy in this course. There’s great direction and the course material & related challenges/practice work is really engaging. However, even with the structured schedule, there’s still a great amount of autonomy in how we use our time. I love that I am able to spend a little bit more or less time on different topics, depending of my competency or interest in that particular topic. Along with that, I really like that I’m able to work on projects of interest to me, on the side, with the guidance of instructors and TA’s. It has been great to work on different technical topics, largely individually, but I’m also highly enjoying the group work and look forward to more group projects.
How is your project coming along?
The group project has been a highly enjoyable experience. We’re almost done with our group project and will be presenting it shortly. I’ve had the pleasure of working with a great team. Though, I was a bit nervous about working in a group, using tools we’ve just learned, to build a robust, online shop-front and inventory system. However, within a couple of hours of starting on the project, we had a great dynamic going. Despite the instructors’ recommendation of assigning different roles (Project Manager, Architect, Git-Master, etc.) within the team, we opted to keep it open-ended, and it has worked out quite well. We initially created the functionality of our web app, leaving the design work for later. Through this strategy, we’ve been able to complete our project on time for the coming presentations. I’ve also learned that I really enjoy pair-programming. In doing the coding with another person who is at the similar coding level, we are able to work quicker and learn more than working individually.
What have you found to be the most useful tool in building your skill?
I feel like the most crucial thing in helping me progress along is knowing that I may not be able to grasp every single concept right away and not getting disheartened by that. The instructors have guided us to develop the mind set that learning full-stack web dev is not about learning many programming languages, but rather understanding the underlying concepts, the basic language and developing the ability to find answers to our coding questions through documentation, specific online resources, and most of all GOOGLING the answer. On that note, Google is definitely a coder’s best friend.
With 4 weeks under your belt, are you finding you are looking at things differently with your newfound knowledge?
Absolutely! After my limited experience with computer science courses in university, I was most looking forward to the mindset that comes from working with code. Software operates in a pure and structured way (at least, for the most part). Simple If/Else statements and For loops are at the mercy of the programmer, and they behave in a purely predictable way. It is up to the programmer to manipulate them into a functioning and useful program. So when bugs occur, it is generally a human error, and bugs occur very often! The challenge in debugging trying to find which connections within your code are erroneous, and there are many connections within code. Naturally, this mind set creeps into my general thought process, where I try to remove errors and biases in my arguments/discussions.
What are your goals for week 5 & 6?
After the completion of the projects this week, we’ll be having a review week next week. This will be an open week to strengthen the skills we’ve developed over the last month or so. I plan on using this time to work on some personal projects. Particularly, I’ve been working on a project to visualize stock charts and analysis, which has been sourced from some databases hosted online, via an API. I’m excited to add more to this project.