April 06, 2014
...make your transition
So my original intention before DBC started was to write a blog post every night recapping the day. By the time Monday evening came I knew this was not going to happen. I will now be writing a weekly recap over each weekend…
Dev Bootcamp is a beautifully constructed whirlwind of knowledge that has no brake pedal. The days last 12+ hours (not including a commute) and the wealth of knowledge you learn in a day can be overwhelming at times. In the first week alone we have been introduced to abstract data structures, linked lists, basic algorithm sorting design, Big O notation, and so much more… all on top of the coding challenges we have completed.
The beginning of the week started with building simple programs. Converting numbers to roman numerals, translating sentences to ‘Pig Latin’, and building linear and binary search methods was how the week began. By Thursday/Friday we were coding boggle boards, and programs that solve a Sudoku puzzle in the blink of an eye.
It has been amazing to see how hard we can all push ourselves, and what we can accomplish when we do.
I should mention that DBC is structured around paired programming. Two students each sit at their respected screen, which is joined by one computer, so essentially when you pair with someone, you are working on the same computer. At first I thought I would really struggle with working in this environment as I have always been keen on working alone when it comes to writing code. However, I quickly saw the benefits of programming in a pair, and by the time Wednesday came around, when we had the option to work solo, I choose to pair again. There is a significant advantage to being able to bounce ideas of design and implementation off another student to see their thoughts and beliefs. From simple keyboard shortcuts, to new methods I never knew could be implemented, I learned a great deal this week from working everyday with someone else.
It has been a great experience getting to finally meet all of the teachers and students I will be sharing the next (now) 8 weeks with. This is honestly the first time in my life where I am in an environment where not only I am striving to learn as much as I can, but everyone around me is just as excited to learn as well – and the teachers seem just as excited to share their knowledge and experience with us. The way I feel now about education and learning is the way I wish I felt going into college 7 years ago. I genuinely look forward to every lesson we learn, and then being able to communicate that back into my programs.
A typical day begins around 8:15am where I'll review the previous days work and get some quick reading done. The actual day begins around 9 with either yoga, or a preview of our daily schedule with the teachers. From there we work on challenges until lunch around 1. Lunch lasts until 2 and then from 2-3 we have lecture on topics we choose to discuss. Once 3pm hits it's back to coding until the evening.
The atmosphere in the DBC space is extremely comfortable. While I have never worked for a startup before it is the closest I can image the culture and environment of one to be.
One of the aspects I am really enjoying about the program so far is that DBC not only stresses the importance of learning the concepts being taught, but becoming a well rounded individual as well. The teachers are constantly looking for new ways to break up our long days with activities such as yoga sessions, a hip-hop dance class (which iterated why we are all striving to be developers and not dancers), guest speakers, and engineering empathy discussions. All of these events not only help break the day up from sitting at the computer but bring all of us together more closely as a group.
It has been one week and I have already learned such an incredible amount. DBC has been one of the most amazing, stressful, chaotic, rewarding experiences I've been a part of and I look forward to seeing how much harder I can push myself and how much more I will learn.