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Programming is life (trust the process)

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Since she started training at CodeClan, Tahnee has been on a roller coaster ride that’s run through Ruby, SQL, Java and lots more. Find out what she built after just 5 weeks learning Ruby.

I am now in week 8 of CodeClan and I can’t believe how much I have learned in a short space of time.

I remember initially struggling with Ruby and adapting to the CodeClan way of learning, as I am a visual person. But then during my first project week (week 5), I managed to successfully design and build a system from scratch using Ruby, SQL, Sinatra, HTML and CSS, and I presented the final product to the rest of my Cohort and the instructional team.

In addition to this, I used a combination of front-end and back-end development, as well as UX design, graphic design and illustration. And I made the final product responsive across all devices… It just shows that anything is possible if you put your mind to it!

The brief

The brief I set myself was to create a database system that enables hospitality staff to check guests in and out of travel accommodation. My goal was to create a system that is easy to use and puts a smile on peoples faces.

UX considerations

I was inspired by our instructor Wojtek’s User Experience Design training day at CodeClan and a talk at the IxDA Scotland meetup, which helped me to visualise things from the user’s point of view and make better design decisions.

It was refreshing seeing Wojtek present, as he has so much charisma and his ideas challenge the way that you think about things. It has given me ideas for my own presentations.

Planning and time management

One of the biggest challenges for me during project week was managing my time, as there was so much I wanted to do. I ended up spending 1 day planning, followed by 3 days on back-end development and 3 days on front-end development + putting together my presentation slides.

I used the Pomodoro Technique to break down my workload and make sure that I was taking regular breaks, which helped to keep me motivated and creative throughout the whole process.

I also had my workbook at hand to sketch out UML diagrams and wireframes, which were then brought to life as I built the system. The following image contains one of the initial sketches and the final product, which I applied to an iPad mock-up.

Programming and life lessons

I have also discovered that I am not only learning new programming skills at CodeClan, but also being taught important life lessons.

Our instructor Pawel told us that “programming is life.” From day one, we have been encouraged to break things down into small manageable chunks and to be friends with error messages, as they give us clues to fixing the problem. We are advised to plan out our work before a solution is implemented and to think like a computer.

I had a light bulb moment when we were given the snakes and ladders homework exercise to do, as part of our introduction to object orientated programming. It involved studying a new codebase and creating Ruby class diagrams to understand how the system worked. I will never forget it!

I imagined myself diving into the snakes and ladders codebase like it was a different universe and I created a map for myself (in the form of class diagrams) to help me navigate around it. I imagined myself being strapped into the CodeClan rollercoaster, which ran along a track, that represented the flow of information in the system.

Before I knew it, I was off and living and breathing that flow of information. I got such an adrenaline rush from the ride and had a good idea of what the system was doing.

It made me laugh as I was still learning how to use the command line at the time and I didn’t know how to run the actual game! But I was able to experience the thrill of it all through looking at the code and using my map to guide me.

Trust the process!

Since I started CodeClan, people keep telling me to “trust the process.” And it is all starting to make sense now. We are all here to learn a new skill and if we embrace the CodeClan way of learning, we can be moulded into tech professionals that are industry ready and have an agile mindset.

I feel so lucky to know everyone in my Cohort and everyday I learn something new from them. Everyone is unique and has their own set of transferable skills, but we all share the same passion for learning to code. It is comforting to know that we are all in the same boat and are there to support each other.

Anyone who’s out there pondering whether or not to do the 16-week Professional Software Development course at CodeClan: Leap forward and take that next step in your career; you won’t regret it! Come aboard the CodeClan rollercoaster, trust the process and let it shape your life…


Kick off your own career change

Find out more about our 16-week Professional Software Development course or come along to our next info session in Edinburgh or Glasgow.

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