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Passed the Halfway Mark on my Coding Bootcamp Journey

Passed the Halfway Mark on my Coding Bootcamp JourneyPreview: Passed the Halfway Mark on my Coding Bootcamp Journey

2022 Bootcamp starts

After the long bank holiday weekend and lovely Christmas break, I started back at Northcoders to begin a new block learning all about backend software development - the structure and behind the scenes workings and data of a web server.

I knew this involved databases and as I had dabbled with SQL many years ago, and as had plenty of data analytical experience, I started the year eager to learn and crack on with my coding journey.

Christmas holidays has always been my favourite time off work and this year we started back after bank holiday for a short 4 day week. A nice introduction I thought - back into the world of coding. But NO - this is a 13 week Bootcamp after all! With the bank holiday, that meant an extra day of learning to catch up with!

Week 1 (week 5 of Bootcamp)

The first Tuesday was an Introduction to the Backend block. The next day, we had our normal Wednesday afternoon self-study time and given a new kata block to work on. This required using promises with JavaScript. We had covered this in the final week of fundamentals, but after 3 weeks off, this all seemed alien again and had clearly not got past my working memory in the previous years sprint.

This is not surprising as learning to code is all about practice practice practice, fail many times and google - before those now much loved green ticks. Thankfully, it wasn't just me. An extra recap lecture on promises, was a much needed refresher.

The final day, was an introduction to SQL and fortunately, some of this was already in my long term memory from a previous lifetime. This was followed by a quick introduction to our careers team - I am here to get a job after all so great to start thinking about what comes next after our Bootcamp.

Week 2

I have lost count of how many frameworks we were introduced to in our second week. I know I wasn't the only one to be completely overwhelmed by all the additional packages required for this block of learning. Picking up on our woes - Northcoders provided us with a package cheat sheet and a lovely visual of the relationship between MVC, app.js and testing databases. These resources helped to remove some confusion but I was definitely starting to feel like my brain had exceeded it's full stack capacity as I finished week 2.

Final Week Project

Time for solo project and the first week long sprint, to build a backend server, and our first project to use as a portfolio piece. We were given some essential endpoints to include GET, PATCH, POST and DELETE requests and also introduced to advanced error handling, to ensure both the happy and sad paths were covered in our TDD testing.

The first 2 days didn't start well as I was still trying to understand seeding from the previous week and my son was off school. Each day, I felt like I was getting further and further behind. Imposter Syndrome reared it's ugly head again! It was also difficult solo working, we needed our fellow students more than ever to lean onto for support and to keep the camaraderie going. If I wasn't laughing, then I was crying during the project sprint week and definitely missed paired programming.

By the end of the week, I felt quite deflated to have only completed 2 endpoints and not completed the full error handling tests so no portfolio project piece ready for me just yet. I was feeling quite down by the end of Friday, and even with the Heroku hosting complete and seeing my endpoints appear on a live server, failed to impress me. It has defintely been the hardest and most tiring week for me of the entire bootcamp to date.

I was in no rush to have my work reviewed, so when this came later in the day the following Monday, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the code I had done was actually "quite good". I was reassured that although missing some endpoints, as my coding set up and structure was all following good coding practice, it just required repeating and making a few tweaks to the code/tests that I already had in place to finish off. Success after all and a big green tick for me!

Reflection time

I know that I am very hard on myself (and great feedback on this too from fellow students) and the tutor review of my code was a much needed confidence boost.

Looking back now, it is hard to believe what I have learnt in the last 3 weeks. I have also accepted that I cannot and will never have all the coding in my long term memory - that's what google is for after all!

I also now realise that learning coding with Northcoders bootcamp is more about giving us the foundations in best coding practice, and equipping us to be life long learners, to exceed in our careers as software developers.

My analogy is that learning to code is like a jigsaw puzzle with a BigInt amount of pieces. Northcoders are helping me to connect some pieces of this puzzle. I am sure it will be like the 1000 piece jigsaw in our house, that will sit for a long time, with a few pieces added little by little. Completing the coding jigsaw will be a lifelong work in progress.

On to Frontend

I have now completed 7 weeks of the Bootcamp and with 6 weeks to go, I have passed the half way mark.

The Frontend block started today and happy to be back to paired programming with a nice gentle reminder of HTML/CSS and adding interactivity on our websites with JavaScript. Here goes the final block of learning before we get to work on our team projects...