March 10

Demo Day

Demo day was a huge let down. We had some problems from the beginning when our original demo day was cancelled due to the weather. I want to think it would have been better if it happened on schedule, but I’m not sure.

There were some interesting employers in the room during the lunch presentation, but they disappeared right after lunch. For the open house we mostly just stood around waiting for someone to come by and look at our projects – and no one came. Or very few… Continue reading

Category: Career Change, Epicodus | Comments Off on Demo Day
January 21

Inbound RX

So I have an assignment! Now I can get all nervous and anxious with more specifics…

InboundRX is a marketing company that specializes in neighborhood pharmacies. Part of that marketing help is building websites, and soon also building mobile apps. I’m looking forward to (probably) getting some hands on experience working on a couple of the mobile apps they have planned. And I may be doing some work on the “bread and butter” websites as well.

We got a list with some new things to learn this weekend and there is a scramble to try to come in Monday morning knowing it all and ready to hit the ground running. I don’t know if it’s possible to do that. But I recognize that desire is there in me, in the interns going to Inbound with me, and with many of the other people in my class that I’m keeping in touch with. Everyone is busy learning something…

Category: Epicodus | Comments Off on Inbound RX
January 1

Internship Matching Process

Monday is THE DAY we get our matches for internships we will interview for. I’ve been back and forth over the list so many times. My classmates (at least the ones I ate lunch with) seem to think I’m crazy for paying such close attention. I think it’s just I care… REALLY care about getting an internship somewhere I will get some good experience. But as one of them reminded me, for many of my classmates any experience would count because they don’t have any yet.

Having some, I want to get some more significant experience.

I really want Android, but I’d also be happy to get exposed to some real-life Agile practices, or some data visualization or AI.. there are plenty with some interesting things to offer.

And there are a few that just want WordPress or Drupal websites built, and one very close to my house that looks like it doesn’t even have that many of THOSE (but still got in my top 10 for being within walking distance – so I can improve my fitness if not my programming skills).

I had hoped my preliminary job search might have turned up something, but with it being so close to Christmas and the end of the year, all I really did was talk to a few recruiters who promised to call me next year. But here we are – getting our interview assignments tomorrow and I feel committed to the internship process now.

I think we signed something along the lines of promising to show up and not leave for a “real” job half-way through. I take those things seriously enough to not quit during the internship – but if something had come up before the matching I would have dropped out to take it.

Any bets on a job offer Sunday night? No, me neither.

It’s a been a hard week off with the uncertainty of what’s going to happen next. I had hoped to get all the READMEs from our JavaScript class done, as well as a few other little projects, and I’m not making much progress.

One problem has been that I want screenshots, and I found several of these first projects don’t run (anymore). I’m not sure why not. I may be “doing” them wrong. Last night I found one that I needed to do “gulp build” and then just open the index.html file. (And fix a typo in the JavaScript… still wondering how THAT got there when it was running fine in class!)

By the time I was making any READMEs for these projects we were doing a “gulp serve” instead of just building the files.

The other thing I want to do is deploy these projects somewhere that they can be viewed online somewhere. I think they should all be able to run on Github if I can set up the distribution files correctly and somehow get them on that gh-pages branch.

There is an npm package for that, but it didn’t work the day I did my independent project. I think I had a typo in my password or something that messed it up…and then it was just broken when I tried afterwards. So I forced it by hand, and don’t recommend the process if it can be avoided.

Anyway, I didn’t make much headway on those projects so it’s my goal for this week too. I’m going to read through the curriculum and try to finish up the projects as I get to them. I’d like to get all 4 weeks done, but suspect I will not make that much progress.

And all the time I am worrying about those yet to be disclosed interviews and if they will be asking me anything about JavaScript or not (if not, how will reviewing the JavaScript impact my ability to answer questions about Java? Not in a good way, I think…)

Category: Epicodus | Comments Off on Internship Matching Process
November 12

Goodbye JavaScript, Hello Android!

One more class down and only one more to go!

This week I had a really successful team project. I’m really glad that it went so well after that project at the Hackathon. I think I learned a lot from the experience.

One thing that is different is that at school I’m usually the team lead. In lots of my past experiences in work and school that has been the case as well. I’d really like to think I could follow as well, but it probably depends on the leader.

I set out at the beginning with the idea that we were here to have fun and not to worry about having the best project in the room. I did not want to be that stressed out over the team project because they don’t really grade them or anything. So I picked my teammates with that goal in mind, because they seemed okay with the lower expectations to begin with.

Over the course of the week we did manage to keep it fun for the most part. I think we kept things pretty well balanced between everyone on the group. Everyone did get to contribute something significant. I was pleased with that part, and it’s the main reason I call the project a success.

We had some features that we didn’t get implemented, but we had a pretty solid set of features that were working well for our demonstration. We had a major setback on the first day trying to get Angular to talk to Firebase and revised our project to use Ember instead. That left us with 2 days to complete the project and so I don’t think anyone feels bad about the missing features. It was a nice project for 2 days…

screenshotWe could sign up users and log foods and activities for our demo. All 3 categories had full CRUD implemented. We also had some very solid design. Dean and Garrett did most of the design. Garrett made our custom Octocat with the weights and carrot as a logo. Alex got us some category icons and a drop-down menu (much harder than it should have been…but a good tool to have for future reference). He worked on an API that we didn’t get around to adding and did a significant amount of research about using a date/time picker, which we also did not have time to implement. I handled the database functions with some help from Garrett. And Dean did the bulk of the presentation on Thursday as well as some last minute CSS fixes Thursday morning.

It was nice to feel like we had a balanced group. Doing all the work can be fun and rewarding, but it sucks to sit around watching other people do all the work. I’m going to try harder to make future projects more like this one, even if it means a few less features at the end. At least while I’m in school…

Work is another matter. But I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. Maybe I will just work solo, right? Or the teams will be the kind where everyone gets a keyboard and tasks that match their skills…

JavaScript was difficult.

I wasn’t expecting it to be as hard as it was. And I can’t say why it was so hard. I think it was partly timing. We were all getting kind of burned out about half-way through the class (at least me and the people I eat lunch with seemed to be there). Most were really happy about this weekend being a 3-day weekend because of the holiday. AND we get a week off during the next class for Thanksgiving. Very happy about that as well.

The bootcamp experience is intense. There is plenty of work, and lots of new stuff to learn. I think it’s the new stuff to learn that makes the JavaScript class particularly challenging. I felt like I got it at the end of week 1 and was really happy with my project. But then week 2 introduced a whole new framework and so you start out the week lost again. By the end of the week I felt good about that framework, but then the beginning of week 3 was another new framework…

The constant “lost” feeling has to be part of what makes it seem so hard. I wish we had a whole 5 week class on all 3 of the frameworks, but we didn’t. (And it’s a good thing, because who needs to pay for another 2-3 months of training, right?) I think we are all anxious to get into paying jobs and catch up on some bills, or start growing the savings again. I know I am. Some of the personal stress in the past few weeks has been money related – or related to the lack of money and the need to pinch pennies all the time. I am looking forward to having a regular paycheck again and eliminating that stress from my life!

And Android.  They called us all aside for a special standup where they told us how hard Android was and how much time it was going to take… and by the end of the standup I was wondering if I should have switched to the PHP/Drupal track when I had a chance…

But I’m doing the homework this weekend and it doesn’t seem that bad.

I got started on it Thursday afternoon at school. It’s not at all bad there. The computers all have Android Studio pre-installed and it runs fine there. My laptop is another story.

I’ve been downloading MORE stuff for Android Studio in hopes that maybe it’s what I need to be able to actually RUN the programs I’ve written on my phone, if not on the emulator. If it doesn’t work then I guess I can write the code out on my laptop and debug it at school. But I really would like to be able to develop full apps at home.

Chris says it must be a sign I need a “dev box”… but I don’t know where we would put another computer, especially one that wanted a desk to sit on! I might try installing Android Studio on HIS desktop machine though. I bet he’d be happy enough to be able to watch some TV in the evenings while I do my homework downstairs.

I’m really excited about this last class. I wish they had more internships for Java/Android. I know they don’t expect to have enough for everyone and some of us will be doing more JavaScript instead of Android development. I’ve seen a few interesting JavaScript postings, but I sill hope to get some real experience with Android when that time comes.

Category: Android, Angular.js, Ember.js, Epicodus, JavaScript, Mobile Development | Comments Off on Goodbye JavaScript, Hello Android!