My Experience at Codeup: Mario M. #2

My Experience at Codeup: Mario M. #2

Previously in the blog, I discussed my first few weeks in Codeup, the accelerated web development bootcamp I have been attending. Well, a few more weeks have passed since then, and I think it would be appropriate now to discuss my reasons for attending the course in the first place.

I have always been a creative person, and since I can remember I’ve been looking for ways to express my creativity. I grew up reading tons of books, comics, and magazines. I also loved drawing, playing video games and solving puzzles.

When I was a kid, my dad used to have a pile of these old Atari magazines, and each issue had these short coding programs, written in BASIC if I’m not mistaken. If you typed in all the code correctly, a dinky little game would run. Nothing compared to X-Box or Playstation, but at the time, though, I thought it was pretty awesome!

The past few years, personally and professionally, I’ve gotten away from being the creative person I once was. So, I guess you could say that by joining the Codeup program, I’ve come full circle. Except now, I am the one writing the code, not copying it from the back of Atari magazines, and the apps I’ll eventually be able to create will put those old BASIC games to shame.

Well enough about me, back to the class. We have moved away from working in the command line, which is what we did the majority of the first few weeks with PHP.  We are now working in the browser writing basic Javascript, HTML, and CSS. Putting together all we know, we have been able to create working apps and games. Pretty cool for someone who knew nothing about code a month ago!

The things I’ve created so far are pretty basic when compared to the advanced work of some of my fellow cohorts. It’s like those cake memes you see on Facebook comparing baking expectations with reality. My code is more like the deformed blob of a Minion cake than something you would see on Cake Boss. Definitely not something you want to bring to a child’s birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese unless you want to make them cry.

I kid, but honestly the learning curve has remained steep, at least for me. I’ve always been the kind of student who picked things up quickly, finished his work early, and then read ahead or did extra credit work while my peers struggled to catch up. Now, I am one of the last ones to finish an exercise, and that is a bit humbling to say the least.

At times there are moments of clarity, where the hazy fog over my brain slowly lifts, and I fully understand an exercise, and I have that “a-ha!” moment. Other times, not so much. The instructors are great, though, in reviewing each exercise and seeking to provide as much clarity as possible. However, since this is an accelerated web development course, we can only spend so much time on one subject before we have to move on to the next exercise.

That being said, there is plenty of opportunity for study hall. Junior instructors will stay a few hours after class and even make themselves available on the weekends to help us or clarify problem areas. I strongly encourage future cohorts to take advantage of these times as much as possible, and ask plenty of questions. Also, keep writing code. Not just to understand the logic, but also to become accustomed to how code looks stylistically. There are certain conventions that must be followed regarding code format.

One last thing to keep in mind, as difficult as it may seem at times, coding is just stringing together a bunch of simple functions, which eventually become an intricate framework of simple ideas. As such, simplicity and, even more important, readability is key.

At some point in the future, someone else will have to read your code. If it is hard to follow or read, they are going to shake their fists in the air and curse your first-born child! Six months from now, YOU may be the one reading your old code. So, keep it simple. Remember to be kind to your future self!

I sincerely hope to see some of you all in one of the upcoming classes this year! In the meantime, read all you can about web development, and Always Be Coding!

Mario M. is a Web Dev noob, former Marine, certified personal trainer, Arsenal FC fan, long-suffering New York Knicks fan, lover of all things hard rock and heavy metal, and an avid reader. He considers Codeup a reboot of his life, but in choosing an actor to portray him, Ben Affleck would not be on that list.

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