Next Stop: Moon — Phase 1

My adventures through Dev Academy’s web development programme

Maddy King, our Marketing Manager, recently completed Enspiral Dev Academy’s intensive web development programme. She shares her journey, continuing on from the “How to turn cyborg” blog series. Check out the first bootcamp blog, Next Stop: Moon.

In this first week a group of us went out for Thai with some of the developers that worked at or owned businesses in Dev Academy’s co-working space. Some of them had been through the course as well, or had even been teachers, so it was great to connect with them and gain some insight into what the job was like ‘in the real world’. We knew that connections and contacts were the best way to get hired in tech, where the majority of job postings go unlisted, so it was good to have the opportunity to start to “network”. We all worked together, shared the kitchen and got to laugh and get to know each other, and Dev Academy organised a community lunch every month in the space that everyone attended, so we had plenty more opportunities to get to know the businesses. Of course it just felt like making new friends, and it was a good way for our cohort to start to get to know each other as well.

In the second week we moved into front end development, starting to build things we could look at, which was satisfying. In the third week we flipped from the front end to the back end with server side rendering. This meant we started to gain an idea of the full stack of web development, what each stage of the process does and how they talk to each other.

get and post requests learning to code

At the end of these weeks we did one-day projects in small groups that were chosen for us. There was no brief, we simply had to implement what we had learned into an interesting idea, build it, and present that idea at the end of the day. This started to really exercise what we had learned, not only around coding and testing, but around teamwork as well. The projects were fun and we learned an enormous amount about team structures, timelines and working well with different personalities. We organised the projects along agile lines, with kanban boards, standups and milestones. Without noticing, we were already starting to absorb the practices of working in the real world.

In week 3 Harrison gave us the heads-up that we would be starting personal projects in our own time, and presenting these in week 6. He said we would start work on them in week 4, but I really wanted to start implementing what I had learned on my own. I knew that I learned best by playing around with the tools for my own practical purposes, so I started hacking together my personal project in vanilla JavaScript in week 3, knowing I would have to rebuild it in React in the following week. But it was really useful to gain a sense of how everything we had learned was tying together, rather than just working on the seperate parts in isolation. It made me a better coder in the following weeks, as I had started to gain an oversight of the big picture.

It was at this point that I started to really realise I could do this. My ability was not limited by whether my brain worked in the right way, but by how much time I had to practice. So I just needed to dedicate more time to it.

Having no life helped! I hadn’t told anyone that I was back in the country so my social life was temporarily defunct, and I had plenty of time to code. By week 3 some of us were in class from 8:30am to 8 or 9 or 10pm every week day, plus one day on the weekend. My flatmates were amazing because they always left dinner out for me, and leftovers to take for lunch the next day. The people we lived with had usually gone to bed by the time we got home, which I know was really hard for the people with little kids. We just didn’t have time for anything else.

The end of week 3 represented the end of Phase 1, which we celebrated with a little party. We were always so shattered by the end of group project day (Friday) that we often ended up crashing out early.

With that, we prepared ourselves to step up and enter Phase Two. Check out the Phase Two blog here.

If you’d like to take the leap and build yourself a better future, apply to Dev Academy and learn web development today. Diversity scholarships now available.

Next blog → Next Stop: Moon — Phase 2