#TBT Sinking and Swimming: Surviving Week 1

By: TJ Delaney @TJDelaney0

SEPTEMBER 28, 2015

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Week 1: Looking back on week one is equal parts fulfilling and horrifying, and I’m not sure just how to feel about that yet – obscure enough?

With so much more to learn, it’s near unfathomable to visualize myself coding fluently in a few months time. Sure, I had an idea of what I signed up for, but being here in the flesh preparing for battle every morning is a different beast entirely. Okay, that may be a bit dramatic, but the point still stands: This shi stuff isn’t easy, it’s downright terrifying.

Reflection is important, and without it I’d likely be shrivled in the corner of my room wondering how I made such a huge mistake. Instead I’m here typing away while I drink my coffee and realize hey, things aren’t all that bad. After a few hours of learning I was able to put together an age calculator with C#, pretty cool. Fast forward a few hours of lecture time and I was able to make a cash register, woah! Next came the weekend project, a mortgage calculator – ok, it’s starting to get serious.

My favorite part of looking back on week one is the realization that these projects went from impossibly infuriating torture to realistic challenges in a few short hours. The introduction of each new project has me staring at a blank screen wondering if it’s time for a career knitting sweaters on Etsy, but after digging through notes, researching on-line and collaborating with the team everything seems to work out in the end.

Week one at Origin Code Academy has been horribly terrific and I can’t wait for week two!

Week 1 Review

The first week of our Fall class is over – so what have our students been up to?

Implementing Agile Development with Scrum
One of the most popular exponents of Agile Development is Scrum – an iterative project management methodology used to manage product development. We made it a point to introduce this to the class on Day 1, assigning The Scrum Guide as evening reading.

A famous saying about Scrum is that it’s “easy to learn, but difficult to master”. We believe that by introducing Scrum as early as possible in the curriculum, students are able to get the most experience using it. We’ve started by treating Week 1 itself as a “Sprint” to complete some basic C# exercises. We didn’t focus on creating a product backlog or a release backlog – and there were no sprint planning meetings. The only events we included in week 1 were the daily standup meeting. At the start of Week 2 we will have our first “Sprint Retrospective Meeting” where students will be able to reflect on their progress (What went wrong? What went right? What can be changed?).

Learning the foundations of C#
Before arriving at OCA, we ask students to learn the basics of HTML/CSS and most importantly – Javascript. This means that when they show up Day 1 they have some experience with a C-style syntax.

This has paid off incredibly well. Students are picking up C# quickly, and have been building console applications to practice and apply what they learn in the morning presentations. Because they’re familiar with the idea of adding semicolons and are familiar with basic program flow constructs – this gives us time to focus on the foundations of C#, and most importantly how to build good code. For example, at the end of this week – Students are now aware of the DRY principle, and will carry that idea into the next 11 weeks during assignments.

“Is this code DRY enough?”

Guest Speaker This Week
Jeff Winkler, Co-Founder of Origin Code Academy – “Build Your Brand”

First day of Class

Today we held our first day of class in the awesome EvoNexus building.

Our students got to know each other a little bit with a few group exercises, then after covering the ground rules of the course we jumped straight in and talked about Scrum and how it will be a big part of managing their projects and communicating progress to everybody concerned – both students and instructors.

After that, we got our machines up and ready with the latest version of Visual Studio, Git and a few other helpful utilities – all in the name of making ourselves a Comfortable Place to Work.

The rest of the day was spent learning by doing using the exercises found on DotNetCademy, followed by some study time reading the official Scrum Guide provided by ScrumGuides.org.

All in all, a great first day. Tomorrow we will be diving in with Visual Studio and building some C# applications that run in the console.