12 Apr 2019
Brock Ellis

Reflections on the third week of Code Academy

tl;dr Building things. Real things.

Dear diary,

This week was a cool one. Felt like so many puzzle pieces were coming together and just nicely laying down.

I was only in Omaha 3 times, which seems like a lot but was a large reduction in time overall. I’m not supposed to be a daily face at Midland, goodness knows I’m not getting paid enough for that. I just really want everyone to be happy with their experiences and I feel like I have to be there for them so they go right. Probably a bit of my controller-freak tendencies that I need to try and curb.

We did our first interview for our July class and I walked away super impressed with the student. When we were discussing whether to do a revamped part-time class or go full time, I made the argument that full time students will be more committed and have a higher chance for success than part-time students. That bet is paying off in spades. I’d put big money on this first July student having a job offer before graduation. That’s not even being cocky about our program, either. She would succeed if given any opportunity like this. I’m just lucky to be a part of the program that she’ll use to future success.

We had two guest speakers this week. Both of them were personal friends. I don’t think we told the students this, but Jeremiah doesn’t like driving to Omaha so we carpooled in and got lunch. I swear, I’ve never had a boring conversation with that man. We talked about super blocks, government, AI, etc. Victor has been a friend since the Agape Red days. He was one of the few sports ball fans at the company while I was there. He’s a really chill guy who is passionate about a lot of things. Both of them self-taught programmers, so I thought it would be good to have anyone hear their stories. One thing I need to do better at is prepping the speakers- both of them didn’t know what we were teaching and neither one knew what content we’d covered already. Knowing the context of the students would probably help speakers prepare a little bit more.

Thursday night, a few of us hit up the Omaha Ruby/Open Source meetup. It was really cool to see some folks I hadn’t seen in a while. Talked with Dave from Agape Red/OpsCompass about the transition the company has taken. Learned that Bob Orchard lived in an RV for two years as they rode across country. The pizza was an hour late, but was damn good when it arrived. I can’t remember a recent time when I’ve been more confused by a topic then when learning about Arel. So glad there are smart people making software that I can just blindly lean on and use to build other things. It was a blast to see some of the students off networking and chatting it up with the community. Felt like a proud papa seeing my kids walk for the first time. Haha. I feel like we do need to talk a little bit more about how to network. I saw a student kind of standing by himself for a while and I wanted to walk over and talk with him, but he ended up just leaving instead. Feelsbadman. There are some things we can do to help ease the awkwardness, but they really need to put themselves out there. That’s the only way to succeed.

I really enjoy getting regular feedback. Our Friday retros have become a fun time to talk about what worked well, didn’t work well, excited them, bummed them out, and what could be done better. I’ve taken a lot of good notes from our time together. Hopefully the students feel empowered enough to speak up and say when things are going badly. I’ve tried to remind them as much as possible to always feel free to speak up when they need help or want to give feedback. I may try and remind myself over the weekend to ping out Slack a few times and see if anyone needs some assistance. I vaguely remember what it was like trying to learn, but it’s been a long time. Damn, how I wish I had peers, classmates to go to with questions when I was learning.

We’ve reached the 25% mark. We’re a quarter of the way through the class. From an outsides, someone who is not in the classroom seeing what they are working on day-to-day, I feel like they’ve accomplished a metric ton. They are legit BUILDING WORKING APPLICATIONS IN THREE WEEKS. I mean, wha?! Next week they will start learning Angular. Part of me wants to join in class and learn, because I feel like my learning was subpar and there’s probably a bunch that I skipped over or didn’t learn well myself. Imposter syndrome never takes a break. So we shouldn’t either. #hustle #codelife #l33t