Student Podcast: JavaScript Bootcamp Week 3 Wrap Up – Web BCN January ’17

Jimmy: Alright, so we are recording. Welcome back to another Ironhack Student Podcast, I am Jimmy. And in case you don’t know what Ironhack is we are a coding bootcamp and a UX/UI bootcamp so basically that means that if you have a curiosity to either level up your career, completely change directions of your career, recent graduate who wants to acquire a new skill or if you’re just kind of confused in what to do in life, this is something to consider. So basically, we take people from zero to 100 real quick. That means in a matter of nine weeks either coders or the UX/UI designers will go from basically no idea to junior developer or junior designer level.
It sounds a little bit too good to be true but in reality, it’s just a lot of hard work for nine weeks, all day long, probably weekends included. And, yeah, that’s really the secret sauce, it’s basically you putting in the time and effort into taking yourself where you see your life and your career going. So we do our best on our side to put all the resources into your hands, but ultimately we can’t do it for you. So if you think that you’re up for it, go check out Ironhack, speak to us, we’re here to answer all of your questions. And if you ultimately decide to join us then awesome.

So that’s the Ironhack spiel. Today I’m joined by Viktoria, Nicholas and Michiel?

Michiel: Michiel, yes.

Jimmy: Ah, got it.

Michiel: It’s a little difficult name, yeah.

Jimmy: So basically there are three students in the coding bootcamp, they’re learning JavaScript. Why don’t you each introduce yourselves and tell me name, where you come from, and I want to know one thing that drove you to make this decision to join the bootcamp.

Michiel: My name is Michiel, I’m from Holland, Amsterdam. I’ve been living in Barcelona now for almost two and a half years, and I was working here in Barcelona for 10 months before and it was a job that I didn’t really study for. But I want to stay here in Barcelona and I noticed that I missed a certain skill to get a better job here and—

Jimmy: What were you doing?

Michiel: I studied industrial engineering so I’ve been working four years as a consultant in Amsterdam as well—

Jimmy: Ok.

Michiel: When I came here I had to start over and did like sort of Google for work support, it was, more or less, call center work, work like that. And after 10 months, I’m like, ok, this is not why I studied and that made me look at other options. And that’s how I came to Ironhack, and I thought with the knowledge I have included with the knowledge of coding I would get a better job.

“And after 10 months, I’m like, ok, this is not why I studied and that made me look at other options. And that’s how I came to Ironhack, and I thought with the knowledge I have included with the knowledge of coding I would get a better job.” -Michiel

Jimmy: We’ll get more into that.

Michiel: Ok.

Jimmy: What about you, Nicholas?

Nicholas: My name is Nicholas, I’m from Los Angeles, California. Why did I come to Ironhack? I’ve been thinking about this decision for about three years, been looking at a bunch of different bootcamps. Yeah, coding, I have a lot of ideas I want to develop and the main barrier is just having the hard skills to do that. I don’t have the money to hire a developer and pay them tens of thousands of dollars to develop my ideas. So there’s only one way and that’s learning, JavaScript, learning to code. So that’s why I’m here, mainly.

“I don’t have the money to hire a developer and pay them tens of thousands of dollars to develop my ideas. So there’s only one way and that’s learning JavaScript, learning to code.” -Nicholas

Jimmy: Awesome.

Nicholas: And I hope to do that, I hope to use those skills to build new ideas for myself, for other people.

Jimmy: Cool. Viktoria?

Viktoria: Yeah, so yeah, I’m Viktoria. I’m from Germany and I actually have an entrepreneurial background and I studied Business Administration, so something completely different. And I have no pre-knowledge of coding whatsoever but I graduated last summer and I want to always have something to do with venture creation, startups, et cetera. But now I wanted to sit on the other side of the table and I was kind of in a transition phase, so I wanted to see the other side of the picture and actually get to know what it actually takes to be a coder. So that’s why I said, ok, I actually want to learn it now and that’s what I’m doing here.

“I wanted to get to know what it actually takes to be a coder.” -Viktoria

Jimmy: So, Michiel is a career changer.

Michiel: Yeah, more or less.

Jimmy: Nicholas, you’re looking into the entrepreneurial end, and Viktoria, you are kind of a blend?

Viktoria: Kind of, yeah.

Jimmy: Kind of—

Viktoria: I would say so, yeah.

Jimmy: Because are you looking to, you know, create an idea that you might have? Or you’re looking more into discovering the skill to be able to like better manage a project?

Viktoria: Yeah, I believe that when you go into jobs and whatever you really see how important this side is and it’s going to stay with us forever. And it’s going to change somehow, maybe, as well, but it’s always going to be there so I know how important it is. And even if I actually do the programming myself or even if it’s just about product development, so it’s not a hundred percent coding, but still it’s there. So that’s—

Jimmy: So before we get into the summary of your third week, I believe this is your third week, right?

Viktoria: Yeah.

Michiel: Yeah.

Jimmy: So before we get into that summary, because I know that you’ll be presenting some projects, we’ll get into that in a bit. Why don’t you bring me up to speed on the past two weeks? Like from how you felt from the first day to the end of the first week, and what you were feeling at the end of the second week and then bring me into this third week so I kind of get a quick glimpse of what you’ve been learning and what that’s kind of meant to you.

Michiel: I started off like …, I started at 9 o’clock in the morning with classes and then went on working until 1 o’clock at night, like the average, without a break. I did that for seven days and I learned so much and it really was going well. But the second week, I felt that I didn’t take any rest the first week so the second week was a bit more difficult and that made me decide to rest a bit in the second weekend. And I have to say the third week is going super well again because I have the energy to keep on going and I’m doing every day again until 12, 12:30 and then—

“I started at 9 am with classes and then went on working until 10 pm at night, without a break.” -Michiel

Jimmy: So how is your workload been to the point to where have you been able to rest up any or have been taking that, you know, have you been going really hard and just, you know, nine until midnight type of deal? Kind of explain to me how you’ve kind of been, you know, investing time into the bootcamp?

Viktoria: Well, we’re investing a lot, lot, lot of time but then again you don’t really feel it during the day, it’s more like when you’re in bed you’re like, oh, wow, it was a long, long, day again. But you don’t really feel it during the day, but on the weekends sometimes I go, ok, I need to rest. But beforehand we knew what was coming, right? They said at the start it’s going to be a very, very, large workload. So my expectations were accordingly, kind of. It is a lot, no doubt, but actually, I really enjoyed—although it’s so much work, I really enjoy it and I don’t get bored or I don’t get super frustrated. You always get that at some point but it’s fun.

“Although it’s so much work, I really enjoy it and I don’t get bored. I do get super frustrated. You always get that at some point, but it’s fun.” -Viktoria

Jimmy: So what about you, Nicholas?

Nicholas: It’s a constant oscillation between this maddening frustration and complete relief when you overcome a problem. It’s really fulfilling, actually. Like Viktoria said, you don’t really notice it during day, you’re very focused on the code and the exercises and your cohort, the people around, you really make the experience a lot better. It’s a lot of fun to come in here every day, as challenging and hard as it is.

“It’s a constant oscillation between this maddening frustration and complete relief when you overcome a problem. It’s really fulfilling, actually.” -Nicholas

Jimmy: You know, from my point of view, it’s been interesting to see how practically I don’t have a feeling that very many people, if at all, even show up late to class.

Viktoria: No.

Jimmy: And that’s pretty cool because it usually happens as the bootcamp weeks start ticking away, the late arrivers start kind of increasing in volume. But after three weeks it’s interesting to see that that hasn’t—at least not from my point of view, it hasn’t happened. How do you see that?

Viktoria: Yeah, I agree. I think we don’t have any late comers.

Michiel: No, I think also, everybody that came here and does the course want to do it—

Viktoria: Exactly.

Michiel: You know, and does it with his full hundred percent and then—yeah, then you don’t come late, of course, you want to be there because it’s important to be there.

Jimmy: Are there things that—is it how you expected, is it how you envisioned from the curriculum all the way down to the intensity?

Nicholas: It’s not for me, and only in the sense that I didn’t think—I was very doubtful that I would be able to move to the exercises and just really keep up at all. And there are times where I haven’t kept up, like I haven’t finished all the exercises but—like this current week is showing, at least myself, is that that’s not the most important thing. The most important thing is just pressing forward, trying new things, constantly trying, solving problems. And this project that we’re working on has really allowed us to synthesize everything we’ve done over the past two or three weeks.

“The most important thing is just pressing forward, trying new things, constantly trying, solving problems. And this project that we’re working on has really allowed us to synthesize everything we’ve done over the past two or three weeks.” -Nicholas

Jimmy: So it was, more or less, what you expected or not at all what you expected?

Nicholas: The level of intensity is what I expected.

Viktoria: Yeah.

Nicholas: Which, Viktoria said, is helpful that there was an expectation there of that intensity. But in terms of the sort of class dynamic and just the general feeling during the day it’s different.

Jimmy: So what’s one thing that maybe has caught you by surprise? That you’re like, this was nowhere in the interview process or on the website or anywhere else? Is there anything that comes to mind?

Viktoria: I wouldn’t say I have any surprises, the thing is I knew beforehand it’s going to be super hard and a hard workload. But for everything else I didn’t even set myself any expectations because if they’re not met then you’re just, like, sad or frustrated. So I just said, you know what, I’m just going to go there now and see what happens and I was very positively surprised.

Jimmy: I’m always curious to know why, you know, you’ve all obviously decided to sign up to a bootcamp and it’s probably one of the most intensive learning environments, but were you doing something on your own at home or was this kind of your introduction into learning to code? How did you transition into this as far as your kind of education? Were you already doing something or is this kind of you jumping into the deep end?

Michiel: For me it was jumping into the deep end, I had started coding just before December, I think, or in December.

Jimmy: Ok.

Michiel: To do the pre-work for Ironhack, actually.

Viktoria: Yeah, I was exactly the same [laugh].

Michiel: Like, yeah.

Viktoria: Yeah, I was exactly the same, no experience beforehand, nothing.

Jimmy: So, what about you Nicholas?

Nicholas: The only experience that I had had was on Codecademy, playing around with HTML and some JavaScript, Ruby, but that was not enough to really bring ideas together.

“The only experience that I had had was on Codecademy, playing around with HTML and some JavaScript, Ruby, but that was not enough to really bring ideas together.” -Nicholas

Jimmy: This is interesting because normally I have seen a lot of people that, you know, there was already kind of like an underlying interest that this bootcamp just kind of intensify. But going from zero to the deep end, just jumping in, I guess I would want to try and figure out how you decided to make that decision. Because there’s a million options to learn, you know, there’s books, there’s Codecademy, there’s tutorials, there’s You Tube, there’s—God, right now to learn to code there’s a million ways to learn that don’t cost anything or practically anything. So what was kind of that feeling and emotion to say, yeah, I need to do this for my life?

Viktoria: Like for me, of course, I’ve seen a few things on Codecademy before but first, I never really had the time to really jump into it. And, as I said, I’m in a transition phase so now was the perfect timing. But also it was something completely different to what I did before so I thought I might as well just try it and see because it was just something I had no clue about so it was kind of exciting to get to know and to see if I’m actually capable of doing it or not.

Jimmy: And what about you guys?

Nicholas: I think the main thing was frustration with the other sort of self-learning resources that are out there, I knew that coming here would catapult that, it would really expedite that process in a big way. And if you’re serious about learning how to code and you want instruction from experienced developers who can answer your questions immediately, who can help you work through the problems, your team mates help you work through the problems, then the bootcamp is sort of the perfect way to do that.

“If you’re serious about learning how to code and you want instruction from experienced developers who can answer your questions immediately, who can help you work through the problems, your teammates also help you work through the problems, then the bootcamp is sort of the perfect way to do that.” -Nicholas

Jimmy: It’s definitely hardcore, at least for your three, the way that you’ve kind of just decided to go head first into this. So, end of week three, what are you going to present right now?

Michiel: We all had to make a game—

Jimmy: Ok.

Michiel: So I made a Scrabble game and it’s just like the normal Scrabble. The challenging thing in making this was the calculation of the words and you need to check from every direction if there are multiple words on the board. So that cost me almost two days to fix that, but not all frustration but now it’s done so—

Viktoria: It’s a good thing.

Michiel: It’s good? Yeah, yeah.

Jimmy: It works?

Michiel: It works, yeah.

Jimmy: It works, there you go.

Michiel: Yeah, yeah.

Jimmy: What about you, Nicholas?

Nicholas: My game is Cards Against Humanity, which is a game I’ve always enjoyed playing—

Jimmy: Ok.

Nicholas: But I’ve never owned myself so I thought it would be fun to put that in an online format and make it visually fun to play.

Jimmy: Oh, that’s cool.

Nicholas: So, yeah. Again, the game is—synthesized a lot of technologies that I was not comfortable with the first two weeks, but now I understand through mistakes and problem solving.

Viktoria: Yeah, so I made a Blackjack game, so if you asked me on Monday how my two weeks were here I would have probably answered completely different. Because I was so frustrated on Monday because I actually wanted to do a Battleship game. But then I realized, ok, my skills are not that well formed for that yet, but now I’m happy with my Blackjack game.

Jimmy: Are your games somewhere publicly available?

Michiel: GitHub.

Viktoria: GitHub.

Jimmy: Yeah, let people know your GitHub and that way I also remember it for afterwards.

Viktoria: [Laugh].

Jimmy: What are your GitHub handles?

Michiel: My GitHub name is MichielAD.

Nicholas: Mine you definitely won’t forget because it’s Universesurfer.

Jimmy: Universesurfer?

Viktoria: [Laughing].

Nicholas: One word.

Jimmy: All together.

Nicholas: Yeah.

Viktoria: And mine is Vickycodes.

Jimmy: Alright. So did you expect to be able to build something like this in three weeks?

Viktoria: No, definitely not.

Nicholas: We’ve built it in one week, which is—which no, I would not have expected that. I think for all of us, all of our games on the surface they look really simple, like with the Blackjack and the Scrabble and even the Cards Against Humanity, it looks really simple and very easy to do. But if you start peeling away the layers and look at the code, it’s increasingly complex. I would not have—

“What we’ve built it in one week… I would not have expected that. I think for all of us, all of our games on the surface they look really simple, like with the Blackjack and the Scrabble and even the Cards Against Humanity, it looks really simple and very easy to do. But if you start peeling away the layers and look at the code, it’s increasingly complex.” -Nicholas

Jimmy: It must give you a totally new respect for—

Viktoria: Exactly. I thought that.

Jimmy: All of these websites that we just take for granted.

Viktoria: Yeah.

Nicholas: Yeah, absolutely.

Jimmy: I remember I had a conversation with the lead instructor in Miami, Misat, and he was just explaining to me kind of the JavaScript and where it’s found. It was mind blowing, it’s everywhere, it’s literally everything. If anything does something halfway useful online, it’s JavaScript powered. So yeah, I all of a sudden started looking at that little AirBnB reservation menu with a whole new respect. I’m like, holy crap, that’s intense. So for you how has that been? How has that experience been of learning this language? Do you like it? Do you see it as beneficial, what are your feelings with that?

Viktoria: Well for me, for example, I don’t have any comparison to other programming languages. But definitely from the point of the fact that I actually get to know a coding language is already very enhancing. And as you said, you really view things from another perspective like different websites, you know, you really get the feeling of it like what it really took. And I think nowadays, people say like yeah, well programmers and coders like when you ask someone to do something, it should be done quite quickly and should be super easy. Which you would think. But then again, not for everything there are frameworks and stuff so it’s not that easy as it sounds. So I took away from myself and yeah—

Jimmy: What about you guys?

Michiel: Well for me, it’s more like the things that you took for granted and looked very simple. Like, for instance, when I chose Scrabble, I go, oh, I can make that. But once you start you start realizing that there’s a lot more behind the games or the websites. So in that sense it’s an eye opener, for sure.

Nicholas: What they both said, yeah.

Jimmy: So, for you, like with the entrepreneurial angle, with the stuff that you’ve been learning so far, have your ideas kind of shifted? Have you found that beginning to learn to code has changed the direction of your ideas?

Nicholas: I can feel that shift but it’s kind of subtle and I don’t think I’d be able to put a finger on it and define it right now. I have one particular idea that I want to develop and hopefully start working on here. So I want to keep with that idea. But I do feel the possibilities open up, not every idea is going to work, it’s likely not going to work. So when the next idea comes around if the first one didn’t work, then there’s a foundation there to build it and understand the technology and move forward.

Jimmy: This is awesome. This is really kind of the biggest value out of jumping into the deep end is that you’re going to cram into nine weeks years’ worth of learning. Frankly it’s hard to sit yourself down and get that discipline to every day, even an hour, even an hour, it’s hard. And I think that the price tag on a course like this tends to shew people off and they’re like, oh, I can do this on my own, I can do it at home, I can go get some tutorials from books, you know, go to Udemy, Codecademy. But in the end it’s basically you’re paying for yourself to work full time on your education. And then the added benefits at the end or you have a whole system that’s also going to support you for the job placement, always being there by your side. So now, moving forward, do you know what’s coming up for you guys next week?

Viktoria: I don’t even know, is it—

Jimmy: There is a next week.

Viktoria: Backend? Is it backend? I don’t know exactly. Not sure.

Michiel: I think we’ve been too focused on our bubble.

Viktoria: We just go from day to day, from week to week.

Jimmy: That’s interesting, that’s curious. It’s like, next week, we’ll figure that out on Monday.

Viktoria: Exactly.

Nicholas: Exactly, yeah.

Jimmy: So any final, let’s say, advice, a last bit of advice for anyone that might be considering an experience like this? Do it, don’t do it, what should they think about, what should they absolutely have a hundred percent clear? from each one of you, what would be that one bit that you would share with someone listening?

Viktoria: I think my advice would be like if you plan to do it, you really need to do or want to do a hundred percent time and need to be willing to stay at one place for two months. Because there’s literally no time to go away [laugh].

Nicholas: Yeah, I would echo that and say that just because it’s hard, and it is hard, that’s not a good reason to not do something. So if you’re thinking about it, or if you have thought about it over and over again, then I think that sort of your mind is telling you that you should just do it and dive in and see what happens.

Michiel: Yeah, I think I can relate to that a little bit as well because I was also not a hundred percent sure. But I think the most important part is that you really want it and if you’re not a hundred percent sure I think you should just do it and go for it. For me it’s been amazing so far.

Jimmy: That’s definitely true, I forget where I heard this saying but it’s like; no one can ever take away what you’ve learned.

Viktoria: Exactly.

Jimmy: They can take away all the other stuff, they can take away all of the tangible hard goods, but doing something like this, whether it’s with Ironhack or with another bootcamp somewhere else, ultimately it’s you giving yourself a craft and a skill that, unless there’s a gigantic solar flare and all the electricity on the planet just disappears, this is going to be in demand for a very, very, very long time. So congratulations on being here, thanks a lot for the time. And we’ll touch base again before the course is up and you can tell me if it’s still a good choice.

Viktoria: Ok.

Jimmy: Alright, thanks a lot. Good luck on the project.

Michiel: Thank you.

Nicholas: Thank you.

Viktoria: Thank you.

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