Week 11 of My 12-Week Front-End Engineering Bootcamp

Week 11 has started and it is nerve-wracking!

In my last blog post,  Week 7 of My 12-Week Programming Bootcamp , I described how intense that week was. Actually, every week is intense. I’d say everyday, even. Its a grueling program where you cover a new topic in the morning, whether that’s a new language, framework, or library, then do lab work in the afternoon– working on your homework assignment which has to be pushed to your Github repo that same night!

Software Engineering Bootcamp Life
Working on Final Projects at The Iron Yard in Charleston!

Weeks 8 and 9 were no different in intensity. In fact, looking back now, it felt like the pace of instruction picked up significantly. Back then, it just seemed like we needed to study the material more carefully than in the previous weeks. Week 9 was the last week for formal instruction, with optional lectures offered for weeks 10 & 11. On the Friday of week 9, each student had to pitch their idea for the “final project” in front of everyone else. And by the end of the day, we formed ourselves into teams of 2-4 people composed of both front-end and back-end engineers. About 3 teams chose to go all front-end. Everyone has to build a fully functional app/web app that utilizes both front-end and back-end technologies, whether or not your team has a back-end engineer. My team is composed of 2 front-end engineers. That means we’ll have to learn and apply full stack development on our own.

Be careful what you wish for… as it is said!

Team Red Dots
Team Red Dots! The JBs… me (Jet Balagtas), and Jared Bilton.

Thankfully, we covered Mongo.db, Express, Angular, and Node.js in the last few weeks. That should help us front-enders greatly, with the added benefit of being able to call ourselves full stack developers (at least for this final project!). But as I mentioned, the pace of instruction picked up quite a bit since week 8. And it wasn’t just the MEAN stack we covered. We also learned technologies to use with it, such as ui-routers, modules, APIs (fun homework), Gulp, Heroku (and uploading our app to it), and the Ionic Framework. On my own during one weekend assignment, I discovered Yeoman and played with it using Grunt and testing with Karma. I really like Yeoman, although I think it is more suited in a professional environment than in a learning setting, where learning how stuff works is invaluable to the student in the long term. But I digress.

Command Line
Terminal work. Getting ready to fire up the project in Mongo.

Fear and stress come to play, and mostly it’s in your head… but I thought it was just an exaggeration when some alumni we met said that we’re going to feel like quitting even all the way to just a couple of days before Demo Day! You feel the pressure. You see it in yourself and in your peers. Dark circles and all.

Glazed Donuts
Having an alert morning with coffee and Donuts from Glazed, care of Dana Duncan of TIY when she dropped in a couple of weeks ago.

I think it helps to take a step back when it gets hard, and look at the big picture. Remembering why you’re here will get you back in the game. There are days, even moments when you’re pumped up, and the next moment you feel defeated and in despair! Despite the roller coaster ride of emotions, you’ll still love it if you are so inclined for this sort of thing. The thrill of the challenge, the despair and frustration, the rewards and the highs. It’s like playing golf or squash, that even if you feel you’re generally playing bad, you get those one or two shots that keep you coming back for more… that’s when you know you’re addicted to coding!

The challenges help you remember how you solved a problem. Everyone is talented in their own way. Everyday I feel fortunate to be here, humbled, and honored to be among a very determined group of people.

I am nervously excited about this final project and Demo Day! Our two-man team is building a mobile app using Javascript with Angular.JS, Ionic Framework, Mongo.db, Express, and Node.js. Demo Day is on January 8, 2016. Wish us luck!

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Jet Balagtas

I love code, great design, startups, and solving problems. I believe in contributing to the greater good. Insatiable learner. Entrepreneurial by nature. Marketing DNA.

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