Coding Bootcamp - Week 5

…And breathe.

After last week’s hard slog, it was a welcome relief to have the pace slow down ever so slightly, allowing me some mental and breathing space to complete outstanding bits and pieces on my projects, and spend time with my pregnant partner! Even though the workload was more manageable, the course content continued to move forward at a rapid pace.

It’s all coming together!

Up until this point we had been learning the ropes with the Ruby programming language. Last week we developed an algorithm to solve ‘sudoku’. This week we were able to share this programme with the world by putting it on the web. Having got to grips with HTTP protocol, sessions, HTML and CSS, we used a code library called Sinatra which integrates with Ruby to build web applications. Su-su-susudoku was born and you can play it live on Heroku.

Advice for would-be developers

At Makers Academy we get the added benefit of listening to talks from notable developers who are working out in the field. Nic Ferrier, Chief Technical Architect at BwinParty stopped by to give us his views on the benefits of using feature toggles as an alternative to feature branches. In open source projects, where branching is popular (downloading the source code, adding your bit and submitting a request to have your changes merged), maintaining the code can become a nightmare especially if those contributing to the project are not in the same room and/or not communicating effectively. Nic argued that feature toggles are a way to get around this and this practice is common in enterprises.We were also joined by Steve Wilcock, Director of Engineering at Huddle. Steve has hired many developers during his career and is all too familiar with the common pitfalls those starting out in the field often encounter. He gave some short and succinct advice:

  1. Don’t specialize too early in your career. Develop your skills in front end and back end technologies (he referred to this as being a specialist generalist).
  2. Be self aware. Don’t get complacent when it comes to your professional development. There is always something to learn.
  3. Don’t get too attached to tools. Technology changes, and so should the tools you use.
  4. Don’t hoard knowledge. Share know-how with your team otherwise it will become difficult to promote you or move you onto other projects.
  5. Offer sensible, realistic deadlines…unless you like working weekends!

I’ve reached the half way stage

It’s hard to believe that I only have six more weeks to go. I feel like my brain has already taken on so much, yet I know once my time at Makers Academy is finished, I will only have scrapped the tip of the iceberg in terms of the total knowledge that is out there.

Written on March 30, 2014