The Firehose Project – WEEK 2 / Back to the basics

Last week, I outlined how I blazed past too fast with the coursework and realized that I needed to go back through the basics in this blog post.

Back to the Basics – Ruby Monks Primer

So this week, I did just that. I went through the Ruby Monks Primer course. Sometimes I had to go back to figure out and understand the concepts again and again. This part was a lot of self-learning, but I felt that it did pay off.

The problem was that I didn’t know how to apply these concepts yet.

I received a lot of advice from my peers that I should go back and go through the apps that I have made so far.
I tried going back to my Nomster application to try and figure out what I was exactly doing, but it was really a challenge. I really didn’t know what was going on, so I went through Ruby on Rails Guides. By going through this tutorial, I was able to deepen my understanding of how everything worked together.

Progress up until now

Two weeks and a half into the Firehose Project, my progress has been the following:

  • Became fairly comfortable with HTML/CSS
  • Gained basic understanding of bootstrap framework
  • Gained basic understanding of the Ruby languages

However, I’m still not able to:

  • Develop a simple rails site on my own without looking at anything
  • Understand ActiveRecords
  • Understand how every part of the app works together

I’ve got a long ways to go, but I find it very rewarding. My mentor is giving me direction to make learning easier.

It does seem that right now I’m detached from the actual coursework of the Firehose Project and I’m doing mostly self-learning. On the other hand, the Firehose Project Community does help me when I don’t understand something and the office hours/mentor sessions are very useful. Also, I find the coding challenges very useful as well.

In the end, I feel that you have to go through the actual documentation and dive in and read to actually understanding everything that’s going on. I hope that through the next week, I’m able to grasp how each part of the app works with each other.

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The Firehose Project – WEEK 1 / What I learned from creating 2 apps in 1 week

To make a long story short, I am a uni student in Japan majoring in business and economics who wanted to find a career where I could be passionate about my job. After a long time, I stumbled across things called coding bootcamps. They claimed that if we put in the work, we could become developers in a short amount of time. I was sold, selected The Firehose Project for a number of reasons, and enrolled.

Persuading my parents

I had to convince my parents for this. The course cost 4,000 dollars, and on top of that, I was going to study abroad at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from the month I was trying to enroll in.

Their opinion: Focus on your course work, and do programming later.

My opinion: Start early, gain skills ASAP, while also focusing on course work

After 3 days of very intense persuading, they agreed (it was more that they gave up). I have never tried so hard to persuade my parents.

I guess if there is a will, there is a way.

Starting the course

Incredibly excited to start the course, I contacted Marco and he let me enroll one week faster than the scheduled date. Awesome.

From the second the lessons were unlocked, I dived in. The course started with developing Splurty, a quotes generator app.

I whipped through the courses, coding about 10 hours a day trying to get through the material. If I had a question, I would post it on the forum, and bam. Within a few minutes, someone would answer my question with precision.

I eventually finished splurty, and went on to make Nomster.

This was a little bit more difficult. Again, I whipped through.

What I figured after making 2 apps in 1 week

So all in all, I was able to finish these two apps in one week. The problem though, was that I wasn’t able to understand what I was actually doing.

Then came the additional resources The Firehose Project provides. It was awesome, because they answered a lot of the questions I had on how everything worked together. Really good material.

So after that, I really focused on understanding the language, instead of progressing more on the coursework. I basically figured out that I have to really try to understand the language instead of just going through the course work.

My first mentor session

After one week, I had my first mentor session.

We basically went through what my goals are, what I wanted from the mentor sessions, etc. Then he gave me assignments to work on for the week and also taught me a little on how to use Google Dev Tools.

Aside from the tools and skills he taught me, I think the main thing that was important to me is that he made me realize that I really didn’t know a lot of the basics. He told me to focus on reading through the documentation.

This was great because without him, I would have never realized this. I thought I was retaining the knowledge pretty well, but it turned out that I didn’t at all.

The Firehose Project so far

The Firehose Project so far has been excellent. They really take you from knowing nothing about programming to being able to create an app very rapidly. For me I made 2 apps in 1 week. The problem was that I wasn’t understanding what I was exactly doing, I was just following the tutorials. The solution to this were the additional resources provided, and also the mentorship sessions.

Like this, The Firehose Project provides a very nice mixture of course work to help students simply become better.

Excited for the following weeks and how far I can go in the next 11 weeks.