How to turn Cyborg: Week 4

My adventures through Dev Academy’s web development programme

Dev Academy’s Marketing Manager Maddy King has taken it upon herself to brave the Dev Academy web development programme, and share her #nofilter thoughts on the journey. Check out Week 1 here.

Week 4 was tough. I just couldn’t seem to find the time to get everything done that I wanted to get done, between work and life and recovering from sunstroke. I left coding until Sunday and then was just not in the right headspace to get it done. This was unfortunate as Sprint 4 is the introduction to JavaScript — a whole huge amount of new material and concepts that I’m entirely unfamiliar with, as opposed to the HTML and CSS stuff that I already had some grounding in. So I only got about halfway through and it was really tough.

Javascript is more of a mathematical language. There are lots of mechanisms for storing and manipulating pieces of information, and adding and subtracting data together. I can see how this will be helpful later — for example if I wanted to create a moving robot I could use Javascript to say “Place the Robot here + 1cm,” so every time it ran the command it would move the robot 1cm, so it would move automatically without having to refresh the screen, which is super cool. So I understand the value — but maths is intimidating.

Me being inquiring since way back

I was actually pretty good at maths in primary school. But in high school I completely lost my grip on it. I think it was a combination of poor teaching, rote learning (gross), the expectation that there’s no place for women in maths, and the development of my inquiring mind which always wanted to interrogate, find problems with and question everything, which didn’t suit the reception of basic mathematical concepts in a room of 30 students. This led me down more of an arts and social sciences pathway, where I could question everything, which was great — but is also what happens to so many women. Now as I try to go back to learn to code and undo the expectation that there’s no place for women in tech, I can see I will need to tackle mathematics as well, which actually excites me. I like proving to myself that I can learn things that don’t feel like “me”, that I don’t feel naturally suited to, or that I think I’m not going to be good at, particularly if I’ve received these feelings from gendered social conditioning that I’d like to challenge.

The maths involved in the JavaScript I did this week was in no way complicated, just adding and subtracting pieces of data. But we had to learn this huge new vocabulary for doing these basic operations. JavaScript seems wildly unintuitive until you memorise a whole new dictionary of terms (that’s why they call it a language I guess).

We started on Codecademy to get the groundwork, and then repeated some of the ideas in a much more complicated way using freeCodeCamp. I like Codecademy, the way that they explain things enables me to see the practical application of their ideas, but freeCodeCamp was a different story. The JavaScript intro is a set of over 100 tasks. They’d say something like “Now nest an array inside another array”, and give you an example of how to do it, without explaining what arrays were, why they existed, what their primary uses were and what you could achieve with them. Like the 15 year old who always wanted to ask “Why?” in the maths classroom, I could feel that I needed to do more investigation on my own. I much preferred the other weeks where we applied concepts to developing our websites in order to learn the ideas in practice.

But I could see that this was just a huge amount of information that I needed to get through and integrate into my learning, so that I could do more fun stuff later.

So I’m halfway through, now slipping back by a week, and will endeavour to finish the other half next week. I can see that I need to start setting aside more time each week to code as the sprints get harder, and make it a higher priority. There are 9 sprints in total before you can start bootcamp, and I have given myself 18 weeks to get through them, including a Christmas break. So here’s hoping I find my rhythm.

No screenshot this week.

Phase 0

Week: 4

Sprint: 4

Time logged: 4 hours.

If you‘d like to change gears in the new year, join Dev Academy and gain the skills to design a creative, flexible, well-paid lifestyle you love. Apply TODAY for your last chance to enter a March bootcamp and graduate by May 2018.