In replying to a post written by a fellow Bluenoser, Little Gray Bird, who is also living away from Nova Scotia and it got me thinking about how once time passes we tend to look back on things with rose-tinted glasses, which I think is for the best as I would rather remember...Read More
I recently spent an evening at Ozone Coffee Rosters cafe/restaurant/roasters for a cupping. Cupping is a coffee tasting. Or so I thought. Cupping is actually the way to taste single origin coffee beans side by side in a fair way, so that one may observe and reflect on the...Read More
When in Warsaw I stayed at the Radisson Blu Sobieski (there are 2 Radisson Blu’s in Warsaw). This hotel was at the far end of the areas a tourist visitor would be exploring, but due to the fact that there was a bus and tram stop at the intersection where the hotel was it...Read More
with the occasional rave about coffee, gadgets and great fashion finds.
So things have been quiet here. The 10 weeks at Makers Academy spent learning code was pretty intense and left my brain with little ability to write coherent English. People have been very curious about my experience so I thought I would write a post reflecting back my 10 weeks at Makers Academy. I will start with the questions asked by Jenn in a comment on a earlier post.
First of all can you learn to code in 10 weeks? It can be done. Unlike some others in my cohort I had no previous computer programming background except some self taught HTML (in 2000) and my interest and dabbling with computers. Now I can not only write code (in Ruby) I know how to work with version control (using Git), work with frameworks (such as Rails and Sinatra), deploy to Heroku, work with external API’s and relational databases. What does all of that mean? It means I can create a web application. Most importantly I know when I get stuck how to get unstuck and move forward.
Absolutely! It was 10 weeks of hard work but I enjoyed almost every moment of it. It was engaging, challenging and interesting.
For me the only negative was that I was in the first cohort and as expected there were some kinks to iron out and a learning curve for the instructors. At times I was left feeling more self-directed than I would have liked, having to decide what to focus on when choosing a project, which I found to be a tough choice being that everything was new to me. This was known when signing up and so it was expected.
Those joining the course will benefit from the learning curve gained with the first cohort. Improvements are still being made with each cohort (keeping the feedback loop short and learning from each, you can read more about it on the Makers Academy Blog)
I believe I could have learned this with the various online tutorials, blog posts, screen casts etc. however it wold have taken me a lot longer to learn what I learned in 10 weeks at Makers had I tried to learn it on my own. I suspect if I tried to learn on my own part time while working full-time it would have taken at least 18 months (probably more) to get where I am now and it would have been a much more frustrating experience which could have been an off-putting experience.
Taking 10 weeks to truly focus on something makes a big difference to one’s learning curve. I learned this when I was 19 and spent 5 weeks one summer in a French immersion program. I learnt more during those 5 weeks then I did in 10 years in the classroom. I was surrounded by French 24/7 in practical situations (if I wanted the ketchup I had better figure out how to ask for it!) with some class room instruction (all in French of course).
Makers Academy was very similar to this. We learned to code by spending as much time as possible working with code. We pair-programmed and worked on group projects to gain as much practical experience in different aspects of life as a developer as possible. The instructors made sure to leave us to figure things out and get unstuck ourselves only stepping in to guide us when asked, and there were lectures mixed in to build up our understanding of topics and table tennis to teach us to take beaks to help think more clearly (I’m still terrible at both TT and taking breaks).
For me this is a career change . Taking an area of my life that has always been an interest and hobby of sorts, taking it to the next level and making a career of it. I’m certain I am on the right path after many years of looking for a challenging career that I could really enjoy and grow with. Being a developer will be an ongoing learning experience and with the changes in technology it will be certain to get even more interesting.
Unfortunately I was not there the last day as I had a wedding in Ireland to attend. Irish weddings == a great party, which after 10 weeks of intense study was just what I needed. I understand there were a number of the hiring partners there that day. Also during the course the hiring partners stopped in on occasion to pair with us, sit in n a lecture or speak with us themselves. I met with one of the partners during the course, but unfortunately they are looking for front end of a very small team at this time and I would like a back-end role and build up to full-stack over time.
For me the experience isn’t over until I secure my first real life position as a developer. So I continue to practice coding and learning as much as I can while also getting out to meet those in the London tech community. I will be sure to update you all on the next stage of my new career.Read More
So I’m 2 weeks into my course now and I can honestly say I am enjoying focusing most of my waking time on learning something new. Not that there aren’t moments of frustration but they are short lived and come with an underlying feeling that it will pass.
Being part of the first cohort of Makers Academy I’m not only learning about how an agile startup operates I am in the middle of one watching as it happens. It’s been interesting to see how the 2 cofounders (Evgeny and Rob) of Makers Academy work long hours dealing with all aspects of the Academy while keeping calm and focused on the priority of Makers Academy; making sure we come out of the 10 weeks with a good experience, learning as much as we can and leave with a foundation that will make us successful employable coders.
Makers Academy is set up with things you would expect to see in a typical startup, ping pong tables, a Wii, (reminders to me that this is a male dominated industry) stocked fridge, snacks, breakfast, yoga class and 20 minute massages on Friday afternoon. Now you can see why I am enjoying this learning experience!.
The past week was spent learning about the computer language Ruby and object oriented programming which Ruby it is based on. The concepts are somewhat abstract. I find my self having moments of clarity, then moments were it feels I have no idea and wonder if I have taken in anything at all. However I didn’t learn to read and write in a week so I continue to peck away at the basics and then go back to the bigger concepts. Not giving up and continuing to move forward is key. Even if it means being far outside your comfort zone. I think this one time my stubbornness is going to come in handy.Read More
The past year and a bit has been an interesting one. After many years working at Sky Sports I decided although I liked my job it was time to move on. Boredom had set in, and the options to move up the career ladder in sport production meant working antisocial hours with lot of travel. Not very appealing to me at this time in my life. So when a call came about a job that would require both my production/broadcast knowledge and my travel background it seemed the perfect opportunity. Unfortunately it didn’t turn out that way and I had the worst work experience in my working life.
I don’t regret leaving Sky Sports I was too comfortable there making unlikely I would have really shook things up a by making a risky move job wise. When I found myself with not a lot to lose and a little money saved I decided to move forward with a business idea of running a coffee tuktuk and Bluenose Coffee was born. This would be something totally different from I had ever done before. I was looking for a mix of a challenge and an adventure but didn’t want to up and leave the country.
When starting up Bluenose Coffee I had some location ideas, however securing any pitch turned out to be a nightmare. So I started looking for options to tide me over until a pitch could be sorted. This made me realize how much going back to the corporate world was of little appeal. During this time I came across a write-up about a new school starting in London, Makers Academy. It sounded perfect. Their aim was to teach Web Development in an intensive 10 week course while working with partner companies who need developers in order to place students at the end of the 10 weeks.
So I could have a new career in a field that I’ve been interested in (tech) since the day Mom bought a Commodore 64 for the family; a pretty long time. Not only that but I would have a career in a field which is in demand and over the years I could do vert well if I continued to build on what I learned. It all seemed to good to be true but I thought I should apply and find out more.
I applied, was offered an interview, passed that and was offered a place at Makers Academy. Evgeny Shadchnev who interviewed me was one of the co-founders and during the interview I asked loads of questions. Then after I emailed asked more questions. In the end I could see the idea and behind the business of the school was a strong one, both Evgeny and Rob Johnson (the other co-founder) had solid backgrounds and so I felt Makers Academy was an opportunity worth going for.
This decision was made after much anguished debate on my part. Giving up Bluenose Coffee seemed like abandoning my baby but Makers Academy became the obvious choice in the end and I’m exited about this new path and seeing where it will lead.Read More