The days (and hours, and weeks!) are flying by now that I’m able to make learning and coding a priority. I can’t believe my time at Portland Code School is one-third over!
I haven’t been as diligent as I would like to be about blogging here, so I wanted to skim the surface, and make sure I’m keeping some perspective on how much I’ve learned and how far I still have to go. So, here’s the run down:
We started out with the basics in week one. Getting our environment fine-tuned, installing things, learning about version control, and getting hooked in to the Portland developer community by leveraging social media and local user groups. I had already gotten a lot of those things done in the weeks leading up to school, which gave me time to focus on Treehouse and Ruby basics.
In the next week, we got our first code challenge, and I had a lot of fun finally getting in the mud with some actual Ruby. Well, actually, I had a lot of hair-pulling and late nights reading and watching screencasts to force the basics of methods and classes in my brain. But fun too! We learned to create classes and methods and started working with simple internal data structures like arrays and hashes. We built our knowledge base on other basic programming constructs like loops, iterators, and branching, as well as working on our git workflow to learn more about pair programming and working with remotes. We started getting our feet wet with the concepts of debugging and test driven development, too!
Our second code challenge (and third week) introduced us to modules and extending the Kernel, and worked to mentally reinforce the amount of room and flexibility that Ruby has. Everything really IS an object! Unit testing became an integral part of writing our code. We continued the basic introduction to Ruby concepts we’d been working through.
Currently, we’re on code challenge number three, and about to head into our fifth week. We jumped headlong from the end of our Ruby concepts (procs, blocks, lambdas, libraries, and core!) to building a basic Sinatra app and manipulating HTTP requests. We’ve gone from taking stairs two at a time to four at a time, and I can only imagine we’ll be leaping whole flights by next month!
Looking back, I’m so excited to see all the things I’ve been able to encounter, struggle with, and then finally understand. It has given me a lot more confidence in my ability to learn. Now when I encounter something complicated and foreign, I feel more often like the reason I don’t instantly understand is that I need to read and ask more questions, rather than thinking that I must just be inherently flawed and unable to comprehend.
I don’t have any illusions that I will come out of this program with the ability to write brilliant code as an island. But I am confident that I will come out of it with well-developed tools to write what I can, collaborate well, and keep learning voraciously. It seems to me, those might be the best tools I could have.