First week of Makers is officially done! I’ve been keeping some incoherent, but shortish thoughts for each day:

I’m in Maker’s biggest cohort, ever. That’s a lotta names and faces to remember.

Makers Academy first day
Sorry for the blurry photo — Sam is very animated

Had a few talks introducing ideologies like extreme programming, and generally what we’re expected to learn. Surprisingly, it’s not really about the code. They want us to walk away with, at the bare minimum, the right behaviours and attitudes as a developer. There was also emphasis on getting physical exercise to tire our bodies out, otherwise we may have difficulty getting a good amount of rest.

The day (dare I say?) could have been better planned and timed — only because we had an overly long lunch break and the day ended at half 4. I don’t mind too much at this point, but I didn’t pay thousands to sit around twiddling my thumbs. They took us to the pub afterwards though, so I can’t complain too much.

I slept for THREE HOURS — I should have heeded their warning about lack of exercise.

Got assigned Captain Code as my pair partner. Who is Captain Code? He is the lorem ipsum of people and only exists because there’s an odd number of students in the cohort. I ended up joining an existing pair and three-way-paired instead, creating a third role as the backseat-driver/passenger. We struggled with instance variables, something I didn’t think I would ever have trouble with. I like that I got stuck though, because it forced me to play with something I thought I knew, in a different context.

Also had a presentation about diversity (specifically women). Not trying to be dismissive, but it wasn’t anything I wasn’t already aware of. I once went to a JavaScript WebGL meetup — I was so excited to learn more about Three.js, but I was one of two women, and felt blindingly aware that I couldn’t join the ‘lad banter’ around the pizza and beer table when I arrived. It’s unreal how the food and drink served, but mostly the brogrammer atmosphere it created, put me off ever returning to similar meetups.

Had a workshop about classes! The main point of them is that they encapsulate behaviours. At my previous workplace, I attempted to keep my JavaScript similarly modular, but it’s so much nicer to do in Ruby. Ruby is the bomb. Workshops are equally awesome. They’re structured as a quick presentation and demonstration, followed by a paired 20-30min exercise, and then a group discussion for feedback.

I also feel like I’m getting better at pairing. I find I’m owning my decisions, becoming more assertive and sure of myself whilst navigating. This week’s aim is to practice more TDD (test-driven development). I’m having trouble getting into the habit of writing extensive tests before writing code though. It just feels a lot more natural to jump right into code when I know exactly what needs to be written.

I practiced my explanation skills quite a bit today. I just need to ensure I’m using the right terminology and not just pointing to code and referring to it as the ‘thing’.

Had another workshop, this time about debugging code. The main takeaways are to ‘tighten the loop’, then ‘get visibility’. How I have tended to do it in JavaScript is to locate the line of the error from the console (tightening the loop), then using console.log around the offending lines (getting visibility). It’s good to know I was on the right track and haven’t spent 2 years debugging like an idiot.

Tuesday and Thursday are yoga days, which I took part in today. I forgot my sun salutation routine but it didn’t seem to matter as the practice is very open and flexible.

Today’s workshop was on doubles in RSpec, and deciding whether or not to mock behaviour using box and arrow diagrams. I am still confused and think I need to spend more time with Sandi Metz (or at least her POODR).

Every Friday we also have a confidence workshop and a retrospective. These are to gauge how confident we feel with certain topics. In groups of four, we discuss and explain it to each other before submitting a survey on how we feel post-discussion.

By 5:30pm I had had enough, so played Cards Against Humanity and ping-pong to wind down the week.