Saturday I was invited on LDN Walks Christmas Shopping Tour London. I’ve enjoyed all the walking tours I’ve taken of London they get you into the nooks and crannies of the city where there’s always something interesting to see, even for those who aren’t tourists. This walk was sponsored by Curry’s who provided us with wearable tech so we could see how many calories we might burn while shopping. The tech I wore for the walk was a Fitbit. Shopping, London and gadgets, a match made in heaven.
This particular walking tour incorporates sampling the finest gin from a 16th century liqueur shop, tasting cheese from London’s oldest cheese shop, nibbling on the Queen’s favourite chocolate, stepping in the footsteps of Winston Churchill in his Cigar shop, and checking out the finest hats and fascinators in the world’s oldest hat shop and more. The walk is only £8, which is money well spent.
Our first stop was at the Charbonnel et Walker chocolate shop, the Queen’s favorite chocolate is sold apparently sold here. Coincidentally they sell my favourite chocolate as well the Pink Marc de Champagne Truffles. Soooo good. At £12 a box it’s a treat but one that’s affordable.
The area we were touring was just a stones throw from Buckingham Palace and most of the shops we visited hold Royal Warrants which are granted to people or companies who have regularly supplied goods or services for a minimum of five consecutive years to The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh or The Prince of Wales. You may have seen the words ‘By Appointment’ along with the Royal coat of arms displayed on products from companies who hold Royal Warrants.
Half way though our walk we stopped of in the Red Lion Pub (Crown Passage). By this point in the tour I did a quick check on the Fitbit app and apparently had burned enough calories to earn myself a glass of mulled wine, my first of the season. This small pub has been around for 300 years and retains a lot of its old fashioned charm (no loud music here). When I walked in I had the feeling that I’d stepped into a local pub somewhere in Cornwall or Devon. The carpet, the decor, the unobtrusive bar in the corner and the dogs all gave it a country pub feel.
The next stop was wine merchants Berry Bros. & Rudd the most fascinating shop for me. A shop owned by the same family sinceRead More
The Learning Hasn’t finished!
Being part of the tech world means things are constantly changing, embrace it. You will be constantly learning new things and evolving how you code. There are things I was taught that I now have my own opinions on due to my real world experiences and I’m adapting my style according to what I find works for me.
Find a mentor. It’s very helpful to have someone (or a few people) with more experience than you (even if they are only slightly further ahead of you) with whom you can speak to regularly to bounce ideas off of and ask for advice. It’s a good way to get a point of view different from that of those you work with everyday.
Another great thing to do is mentor someone else. The best way to solidify what you know is to teach it to someone else. You may think you don’t know enough but after your coding boot camp you will be surprised. I volunteered at a Rails Girls event and it was a great boost to my confidence to realize how far I had come in 3 months. Also teaching at this early stage in your coding career means you can remember being in their shoes and you are more likely to use language they understand.
Hopefully you’ve been thinking about what you want to do after you finish. I felt when I was finished my coding boot camp I wasn’t ready for employment. I lacked confidence and didn’t feel I knew enough to be of value. I spent a month after my code boot camp looking at job postings, internships and other options to see what was out there and what the process was all about. I applied for jobs, did code tests, took interviews, went to meetups and job fairs. Getting to know the industry was also important to me and so I took every opportunity to get out there and be part of it. I also spent this time continuing to practice and learn new code skills.
At the end of this month I felt an internship was the right place for me to gain some real world experience. I then focused on internship postings and found a placement with a small startup.Read More
Before You Start – Prep Prep Prep
Before you start your boot camp make the most of this time to learn the basics. Hopefully you will have more than the 5 days I had because during your boot camp you will want to make the most of the experience and expertise of your teachers. Here are some things you can start learning to give yourself a headstart.
Learn things which are easier to learn on your own like:
The basics of CSS/HTML.
The basics of Ruby (or the language your coding bootcamp teaches)- The Well-Grounded Rubyist is a great book to help you along.
Practice using the command line (aka the terminal), it’s not as scary as it looks.
Spend some time getting to know your text editor. Sublime Text is a great one to start with and is used widely.
Here are some great online resources to get you started:
You probably don’t have a development environment setup on your computer yet, Cloud 9 is a great place to practice your command line skills and coding online anywhere you have a computer and the internet. Save the process of setting up your environment for the first time until you have some help.
The Terminal aka CLI aka command line aka Bash (you get the picture) – Great command line course
Give Git a try, it’s the most widely used (and very good) version control system. – Go over the first 6 Videos in this YouTube series. It’s a great series for beginners because he uses plain english to explain Git. After you’ve watched these videos and type along with him (muscle memory is important). Give the official Git tutorial a try.
Download Sublime and use it to write anything so that you can start learning the keyboard short cuts and feel comfortable working with it.