Code Academy: A week in review

We’re just starting on our second week at App Academy and I wanted to share some thoughts on the first week.

Days are typically 12 – 15 hours long, with all kinds of coding in between. We started with 20 students and lost 2 (both women) in the first two days. The course is extremely demanding, and the couple days were a huge adjustment. It’s a bummer to see people not make it through the “sink or swim” environment.

The first two days we completed Test First Ruby and then moved onto understand API’s and building our own program to connect with the BART and Google Maps API. The week was rounded out with a deep dive into rails, which is extending into week two.¬†We’ve also begun writing our own tests for our rails application, and learning test driven development has been pretty cool!

After forty hours of pair programming, I am unsure of its usefulness. Having pairs work together that have vastly different levels of experience leads to the more experienced driving the whole exercise. On one hand, it’s awesome because they can solve all your tough problems and get the project done. On the other hand, it’s bad because they can solve all your tough problems and you don’t learn by struggling through the problem (something I believe is imperative to learn). I vastly prefer the idea of working on the same project with others, but doing it by myself, going to the group when I need help. That’s not the philosophy behind App Academy, but I think that should be taken into consideration for the next course.

My social life has gone into hibernation, considering all the classwork I’m doing, so I hosted a Coding Brunch on Sunday with friends from App Academy and elsewhere. We made waffles, coded and had an awesome time!

Waffle Brunch! Photo by Rose Auravide.

I am looking forward to the start of week two. We’re switching our hours from 1 – 9pm to 11 – 7pm (yay!) and I’m liking toying around with Rails. We’ll be building a URL shortener using Rails this week, so stay tuned for more news on that.

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