I spent NYE in Paris. I had the idea to spend NYE in Paris many months before January 1st and booked myself and my boyfriend into the boutique style hotel Le Metropolitain. This hotel is part of the Radisson group of hotels and had touches that reminded one of that like...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
with the occasional rave about coffee and cool gadgets.
I spent NYE in Paris. I had the idea to spend NYE in Paris many months before January 1st and booked myself and my boyfriend into the boutique style hotel Le Metropolitain. This hotel is part of the Radisson group of hotels and had touches that reminded one of that like the Nepresso machine in the room (which I love) and their usual bathroom amenities with the lovely bergamot smell. However for the most part this felt like the boutique hotel experience it was.
The staff were attentive, friendly, chatty and of course helpful (the bartender while helpful was not the cheeriest however he can be forgiven for being made to work NYE!). This hotel only has 48 rooms of which 10 are suites, I stayed in one of the Classic rooms. This category has the smallest size rooms at 20 sq/m. It’s perfect for one and just enough room for 2 (there has been no skimping on the bathroom, it takes up a lot of the floor space). I loved the full length windows which opened up. In our room it allowed for leaning out over the juliet balcony for a view of the Eiffel tower at the end of the road. Fantastic. It is recommended to shut the window before morning as a very loud garbage truck comes by at about 6am!
This room, like our room in Rome, had a designer involved in the hotel and room designs and like in Rome I suspect it had to have been a man. The evidence being that the only mirrors were in the bathroom where the lighting was poor and none were full length. Neither my boyfriend nor I liked that the toilet was visible through the glass wall that divided the bathroom from the passageway to the room’s door. I really think they need to install some sort of sliding door across the toilet cubicle part of the bathroom for a little more privacy. The hotel, despite its small size, does have a pool which unfortunately I did not get to try due to someone forgetting their swimwear (we did try to find some but January in Paris isn’t swimwear season apparently). There is also a large restaurant on site. It was hard to tell if it was popular with the locals due to the fact that most Parisians escape to the ski resorts for NYE and so they only had the restaurant available for breakfast during our stay.
The location is great, a very nice neighbourhood on the Right Bank in the 16th arrondissement where you will be steps away from the Palais de Chaillot which has a fantastic balcony for viewing the Eiffel Tower. Make sure to be there on the hour after dark when the Eiffel tower twinkles and sparkles, it’s magical. There are shops and restaurants steps away and a short stroll you will find yourself on the Champs-Élysées. The closest Metro stop is less than 5 minutes away, Trocadéro with lines 6 and 9. If you are in the area and would like to try a traditional French bistro we really enjoyed the friendly atmosphere at Le Poincare and the steak tartare was to die for.
As you could see the Eiffel tower from the hotel bar that is where we spend NYE. Surprisingly Paris doesn’t have any official parties and joining the crowds in the rain on the Champs-Élysées where most gather didn’t appeal. Watching the Eiffel Tower twinkle at midnight in front of the hotel after a nice dinner in a neighbourhood restaurant and drinks in the cozy bar was much more my speed.Read More
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 and I have some questions asked by Jean 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. I knew that I was in the first group, when signing up and so it was expected, as well it was interesting to see a lean startup in action.
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 with the various online tutorials, blog posts, screencasts etc. however it would 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 off-putting.
Taking 10 weeks to truly focus on something makes a big difference to one’s learning curve. I found this out when I was 19 and spent 5 weeks one summer in a French immersion program. I learnt more during those 5 weeks than 10 years in the classroom. I was surrounded by French 24/7 in practical situations (like if I wanted the ketchup I had better figure out how to ask for it!) and some classroom 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. There were lectures mixed in to build up our understanding of topics and table tennis to teach us to take breaks to help think more clearly (I’m still terrible at both TT and taking breaks).
Unfortunately I was not there the last day, 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 on a lecture and speak to us themselves. I met with one of the partners during the course, but unfortunately they were looking for a front-end dev and at this time I would like a back-end role with the intent to build up to full-stack over time.
For me this is a career change . Taking an area of my life that has always been an interest and hobby of sorts and taking it to the next level, 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. So the experience isn’t over until I secure my first real life position as a developer. In the meantime I continue to practice coding and learn as much as I can while also getting out to meet those in the London tech community. I will be sure to update you on the next stage of my new career.Read More