End in sight!

So Ruby was TOUGH.  The language itself seemed pretty intuitive in some ways and it definitely reads a lot more like plain English, especially compared to JavaScript.  It was also way more challenging than I expected, a bit discouraging even. 

This might have been the result of feeling like I was starting getting somewhere with JavaScript only to switch up gears and go back to learning basics such as how to add a new element to an array all over again.  I wanted to skip the basics and start doing things on the same level as what I was doing in JavaScript, which wasn’t an ideal plan learning a new language.  Despite the occasional discouraging feeling, I like to remind myself that one of the things that attracted me to this particular field was the luxury of ALWAYS having something new to learn.

When comparing Ruby and JavaScript, from my very limited experience, I think I like JavaScript more.  It’s probably just a comfort thing at this point, but one of the main reasons is the closing tags required in JavaScript.  Man were they were a pain getting started, making sure all your parenthesis and brackets matched up, but they helped me visually keep track of things.

We were also introduced to Rails, a framework for using Ruby, and one of the hot rages currently.  I’m at a point where I’ve got a pretty elementary understanding and exposure to Rails, We’re working on our finals projects now, and using Rails for the backend was one of the requirements, so we can at least set up a backend using it.  I’m by no means an expert, but I can definitely see some of the advantages to using Rails.  It does SO much for you.  On top of everything I know it does for you, there still seems to be at least dozens of files where I have no idea what’s going on in them.  I’m excited to dig deeper into Rails when I have some time after the class and dig a bit deeper under the hood.

And now for a bootcamp update: I’m done!  Well, not exactly.  I’m done learning new material.  Which again, not exactly.  There are no more formal learning/lecture days of class.  The remaining time will be spent completing our final project.  I say I’m not done learning new material because I’m using things on the final project we haven’t necessarily covered in class, so I’m still learning and developing new skills.  Kind of goes back to that luxury of always having something to learn!

For our final project, we ended up being able to work in pairs or alone.  I really enjoyed the dynamic last time of working in a group, so I paired with a friend from class for this project as well.  I felt more engaged and more committed to the project being in a group.  I was excited about it and didn’t want to let my group down by not pulling my weight.  This was a distinct difference from how I felt about group projects when I was getting my college degree.  I remember hoping someone else would take the lead and do most of the work for our education projects.  While I knew the importance of the subject matter, I couldn’t help but find pedagogical papers dense and boring. I hated learning how to teach from people who seemed so far removed from actually teaching. 

Anyway!  I don’t want to go down the path of whining about college papers I’m still resenting.  I’m excited to get this final project finished and deployed. At the time of writing, I’d say we’re about 40% done and have 3 more full days to get the final product hammered out.  I’ll save any sort of preview for when we’re actually deployed and I can put a link to it.

One final note on my bootcamp experience so far.  This won’t be my full review or thoughts, just something I wanted to add because I think it’s worth noting about the experience.  You really do become close quickly with your classmates. There’s not many experiences I know of that compare to going to a full-time programming bootcamp.  The closest thing I can compare it to that I’ve experienced is college.  And even that’s a rough comparison.  The thing with bootcamps is that everyone is there because they made a deliberate decision to be.  College was, at least for me, just kind of the expectation for what you do after high school.  It was never even a thought for me not to attend college. 

But bootcamp is different.  Classmates have families, quit big time jobs to be there, moved across the country to attend, spend a huge amount of money, and want to completely change their career and life arcs.  It’s an awesome and totally unique experience.  Everyone there is more or less in the same boat, and that shared experience builds a natural, organic cohesion among classmates.  There’s something really neat that happens on a social and interpersonal level that comes about when you spend hours beating your head against the wall with a peer to finally solve a problem.  That shared moment of elation when you figure it out is powerful and intoxicating.  I’ve really grown to love the collaborative problem solving that takes place.  When i start my job search, finding somewhere with a similar environment is definitely something I’m going be looking for. 

We’ve done some things as a class a few times and it’s just such a fun time.  We went to a classmate’s apartment after class one day and hung out on his rooftop, played some basketball, and then did some homework together.  After only 9 weeks together, we all felt like great friends and totally comfortable around each other.  Just last Friday we went out as a class for a happy hour and everyone had a great time.  It was one of those experiences where I can’t describe any one particular moment that made it special, but to look around and the bonding that happened between a group of people over a short amount of time was awesome.

And maybe I’m just getting sappy and sad that it’s almost over!  Who knows… But I thought it’d be worth sharing what the experience was like from a social aspect.  I’ll write a full and totally honest review of General Assembly after I graduate.  3 more days to complete our project, one day to present our projects to our own class, and then one more day to show off our projects to the whole GA campus!  The end (of the beginning of) the journey is just around the corner!

Until next time!

Sean

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