Hackbright: Week One Completed!

Balloonicorn Jones (top left and bottom right) is a regular presence at Hackbright. #changetheratio #ofunicorns

I quit my full-time job in order to attend a full-time, 12-week, immersive coding bootcamp called Hackbright Academy in San Francisco. The first day was Monday, September 26, 2016. We’ll be completely done by Friday, December 16, 2016.

By that date, I will have learned Python, CSS, and HTML, built a web-app on my own from the ground up, and, hopefully be close to securing a full-time job as a front-end or full-stack developer.

First Week Summary:
Now that the first week has wrapped up, I really wanted to jot down some thoughts about the experience so far before I forget them altogether:

  • The daily schedule is deceptively comfortably paced, but quite intense. One of the reasons why I chose Hackbright was because of its emphasis on work-life balance and self-care (which comes up a lot). We start at 10 AM and end at 6 PM, Mondays through Fridays. Lectures and lab time are quite structured. There are plenty of breaks (“bio breaks”, hour-long lunch). On paper, it sounds not too bad. But…
  • I have a suboptimal commute from the Peninsula to San Francisco. It’s not the worst by any means, but it’s also not driving 5 miles (which was my previous commute to work). BART is ridiculously noisy (for which I’ve started wearing ear plugs every time). It’s taking some time to readjust.
  • We have homework every single night.
  • We have weekly skills assessments (required). The first one was due this past weekend and it took me about 6 hours. The estimate was 1 to 6 hours, so I guess I maxed out there.
  • Coding is a very mentally taxing activity that I can’t really do for hours on end without a break and/or deterioration to the quality of my work. It’s basically doing math and puzzle-solving while explaining the results using a foreign language, which I’ve yet to learn all the vocabulary and syntax for. It’s a very interesting challenge.
  • I pair programmed for the first time, and throughout the week with different pairs. I knew this was coming and somewhat dreaded it, but it was a really amazing and educational experience. Not to mention humbling. When my pair was more experienced with coding, I learned a lot from her in terms of how she worked. When my pair was less familiar with the approach I was proposing, it forced me to be more communicative with what I was suggesting and forced me to practice the lingo.
  • I git committed and git pushed code to my GitHub for the first time this week. I really can’t quite explain how giddy (gitty? :-P) I am about it, actually. When I first started learning all this on my own, I COULD NOT FOR THE LIFE OF ME figure out what GitHub was for. Now I know! Yay!
  • All the things I learned this week: command line, git, GitHub, computer memory, lists, functions, collections (lists, tuples, sets).
  • How I’m feeling right now: so humbled (the computer is NOT wrong; it’s a problem with my code and half the fun is figuring out what went wrong). So lucky to have the opportunity to just “take a break” and dedicate all day, everyday to learning something new. So tired, but excited to learn more new stuff tomorrow!

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